Personal Pieces of Advice to College Freshmen

Category: Classroom, Experience
Last Updated: 23 Mar 2023
Pages: 6 Views: 134

As my first semester of college comes to a close, many things come to mind when I am asked to write a letter of advice to next year's freshman class. I wish I could tell you about everything that went as planned and everything I did right, but what I have learned the most from is my many, many mistakes. Though some of the mistakes were hard in the moment, I have grown up a lot this semester and I hope that what I've learned will help me, and hopefully you as well.

The first piece of advice I have is to get out of your comfort zone when making friends. When you first get to school, it is intimidating to try and make friends. In high school, when you sat next to someone in class, you knew their name and often became friends with them. In college, you can go an entire semester sitting next to someone in class, possibly even studying with them out of class or doing a project together, and never know their name. Many of the contacts in my phone are names such as “Front Row Guy Micro Econ" or "Blonde Girl Group Project." I challenge you to introduce yourself, even when you feel uncomfortable.

Even if you don't make lifelong friends with the guy who sits in front of you in Comp, it may still be helpful to have someone to talk to or study with. In my University Transition class this semester, my teacher had us do a group project for which she chose our groups. Just by doing that project together, me and 5 other people developed a friendship through a group chat. To this day, we will remind each other of assignments or if someone misses class, we will catch them up on what they missed. We even have hung out outside of class time. In addition to in the classroom, you will have many opportunities to make friends.

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If you are living on campus, you may have a roommate that you may or may not get along with. I was nervous coming into the year, meeting my random roommate for the first time, but I got lucky. My roommate and I became instant best friends. Though we have had some arguments, we are always able to talk things through. Me and my roommate even made friends with a group of people from our building who have become like family to us. And all it took was a few seconds of courage to say "Hi, my name is Emily! What's yours?"Aside from making friends, classes can be very stressful. In high school, your teachers do a lot to make sure you stay on top of your grades, from reminding you to turn in your homework, to accepting late assignments.

In college, you have to take the responsibility for the things you have to do. If you miss a test, you might as well drop the class because there are no retaking tests. At the beginning of the semester, I had to drag myself out of bed to take an exam in my 7:30 class with bronchitis. Sometimes you have to tough it out, but it's worth it, I promise. Another important part of classes is homework. In college, you will spend a ridiculously greater amount of time working out of class than you did in high school. It is too incredibly easy to get behind on readings, assignments, quizzes, etc. so stay on top of it while you are ahead. Using a calendar or some sort of reminder system could be the difference between an A and an F.

Another thing that will greatly impact your grade in many of your classes is the amount of rest you get. When I first came to college, I was enjoying my freedom, and would stay up until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning hanging out with friends, doing homework, watching Netflix, etc. Then, when I had to wake up for my 7:30am class, I would grab a couple of Red Bull's on my way out the door to get me through the day. This lack of sleep made me miss classes, do poorly on tests, get headaches, or forget about homework.

Once, I had stayed up past midnight studying the night before an exam in my 7:30am Microeconomics class, then decided that since I studied so hard, I deserved to go get milkshakes with my friends. I ended up being out until 2:00 and not getting to sleep until past 3:00. I figured that I would tough it out when my alarm woke me up and nap after my test. However, the next morning, when I heard my alarm, I turned it off in my sleep. I woke up on my own at 7:25 and jumped out of bed, freaking out. I threw on shoes and ran to class in my pajamas. I showed up to class 20 minutes late and had forgotten my calculator. I ended up failing the exam.

Though that was one of the worst days I've had in college so far, I am glad that it taught me an important lesson. Getting enough sleep is so much more important than it seems. Now, I make sure that I am in bed 6-8 hours before I have to wake up. I set my alarm a little earlier to give myself time to wake up and grab a healthy breakfast rather than an energy drink. I restrict my naps to 20-30 minutes to make sure that I will not end up sleeping all day. College is exhausting, so enjoy your time on the weekends when you can sleep in, and enjoy your freedom by not abusing it and actually getting a good night's sleep.

As the semester goes on, you may start to get homesick. My first few weeks of school, being far from home was the greatest thing ever. It was just what I wanted. However, a few weeks later, I began to miss my dog and my sisters and my bed and my parents and my friends. Life was changing so much, so fast. Since I am from 15 hours away in Virginia, running home for the weekend is not an option for me as it is for many of my friends.

Luckily, my parents were able to come visit for family weekend. Going from living with your family for 18 years to not seeing them for months at a time is a big adjustment, but if you can power through the hard times, the times when you are home, you have a much greater appreciation for it. Luckily for me, my dorm has started to feel like home. When I go out of town, I am always so excited to get back to my dorm. You will one day experience the feeling that my friends and I have become so familiar with when you drive onto campus and your heart skips a beat because you know you're at home here.

One important thing I wish I was told before college is to learn how to say no. There will be many situations where you will have use your will power to say no and make the right decision. "No, I can't come to Taco Bell with you guys, I have to finish my essay." "No, I shouldn't buy another pair of shoes, I've almost reached my budget for the week." "No, I don't want to drink in the dorms with you, that is against the rules and I don't want to lose my housing privileges." It may not be what you want to do in the moment, but saying no sometimes will pay off in the long run.

I could write an entire novel full of advice based off of the things I learned my freshman year, but there are many things that you will have to experience yourself to be able to fully understand them. I wish you the best as you try to figure these things out and hope you will not be afraid to make mistakes. College is not just for learning in the classroom. There are so many day to day lessons you will learn, without even trying, that will shape the person you will become. I am excited to see how these lessons will change me and make me into a better person, and I hope that you will be willing to learn and excited to see these things in yourself as well.

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Personal Pieces of Advice to College Freshmen. (2023, Mar 23). Retrieved from

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