College Freshmen DOs and DON'Ts
Hello future/current college students! I wanted to take this time to talk about my college experience incase you're worried or even just curious. CONGRATULATIONS on making it this far! College is an exciting time that we have worked so hard for. I am going into my second year now, but I remember how nervous I was to be going into my first year. I found that the college experience to be rewarding. I made the Dean's list, was awarded for a research project, and went on a volunteer trip in New Orleans (as a girl who never leaves Texas, it was exciting). Freshman year is full of opportunities, newfound freedom, and lifelong connections. Though it is a great choice to attend college, it's good to be aware that not every second of this experience will feel as exciting as seen on TV. Here is my comprehensive list of dos and don'ts of college that I wish I knew (and eventually learned).
DO put yourself out there. I literally sat in the lounge on my floor until people started using it and engaging in conversations with me. Sounds lame (and it was), but it worked. I made close friends through actually interacting with people, rather than staying comfortably isolated.
DON'T jump right into parties, relationships, etc. If you want to do the fun things from movies, you need to find BALANCE. Start by doing work first and creating your own routine. Your objective is to get your degree to set up your career, DO NOT lose sight of that.
DO get involved! There are so many clubs and organizations to join at school and if there is a club you want that doesn't exist, make one. I gained a lot from joining a volunteer organization. The volunteer trip I went on during spring break, got chosen to lead the next one and awarded for all my volunteer work.
DON'T think you're too good to go to school events. There will be many cheesy sounding events but 8 times out of 10 they are so much fun, and you can get to meet people that way. If it turns out lame at least you went, and can talk about it with others who thought it was equally as lame.
DO take advantage of what you paid for! You paid for the gym, free printing, academic coaching, breathing, sleeping, dining, etc. Using the resources provided will actually help you with getting through school.
DON'T neglect your health. I definitely thought that I could handle way more than I could. If your school offers free counseling take it even if you think you're Gucci, it being available to you is helpful as you transition. I decided to quit counseling after first semester because I was convinced I was fine, but it was a very hard second semester and I had to go back. Also make sure you're eating, staying active, and sleeping. These will also help your mental health as well as physical health. Sleep AT LEAST 4 hours a night, eat at least once a day, and try to stay motivated.
DO get out of your comfort zone (of course be safe). I came to school with terrible anxiety and keeping my head strictly in the books. That isn't healthy despite what our elders may say. Do things you wouldn't normally do. Try things you never thought you would. It will chang your perspectives and help you grow. I got out of my comfort zone through going out with the friends I made. Big parties were not it for me (some ended with police), but 2 a.m. IHOP runs and hookah bars with friends were my speed.
DO NOT get into situations that can get you in trouble, arrested, or in unnecessary drama. Master the art of MINDING YOUR BUSINESS. If it doesn't feel or sound right to go somewhere or do something, dont go. Your friends might call you lame, or try to pressure you. I am telling you, avoiding the things that your gut protests to will save you from awkward phone calls to your parents. I felt good not going to certain places with certain people after my friends came back with terrible stories.
DO work on yourself and your future. This is probably the first and last time in your life that you can have control. Change your major if you're not happy or not good at it. There is ZERO shame in it. People at school change ALL THE TIME. It's never too late or too early to. Better yourself by finding what you enjoy. Follow your dreams, ideas, and goals. Failures happen. Honestly, you will take so many Ls that it'll become painfully hysterical
Look, this is going to be a fantastic opportunity to do something that'll push you to your dreams. It was my main goal to get to college and now I have to make new ones. Enjoy this time. Keep going, no matter what.