College can be a scary place; there are so many things you, a freshman, aren’t aware of! My first year of college was immensely stressful, not to mention intimidating. To help you I wrote a list of 25 things I wish someone had told me before I went to college!
1- CHOSE A MAJOR YOU LIKE! There is nothing worse than getting stuck in a program and major you don’t like; forget about what everyone else wants you to do and follow your dreams. I know, it sounds cheesy, but you’re better off being cheesy than spending thousands of dollars studying something that makes you miserable.
2- Tablets and Laptops are life saviours. I understand that not everyone is technologically friendly, or can afford a laptop or tablet, but trust me when I say that it will save you tons of time when it comes to note taking! Not to mention that you can excess your classes through your computer.
3- Buy at least one clothing item from your school. This could be a t-shirt or a hoodie, just buy something that you can look back 20 years from now and remember what an awesome time you had in college!
4- Bring an extra calculator with you on exam days. Just do it! If you don’t want to end up with a mini Hello Kitty calculator on your final Macroeconomics exam, just bring extras!
5- GET AN AGENDA! Yo, even if you’re a dude you’ll need somewhere to write down all of your assignments, tests, work schedule, dates, group meetings, time to brush your teeth and even time to shower. When your brain is crowded with information it is more likely to forget certain things like assignments and due dates – however you’ll still remember every line to Hakuna Matata, isn’t that great?!
6- Don’t buy books on the first week of school. Almost every college student will tell you that buying books is a waste of money; most teachers don’t even require them. Wait out until you’ve had all of your lessons and then buy the books for the classes you think you’ll have more difficulty in!
7- Make at least two “class friends”. You’ll need people to help you out and be in a group with. Trust me, everyone is scared shitless of going to college; surrounding yourself with friendly people will put you at ease and you have someone to share group work with, and who knows, even be friends with!
8- ASK BLOODY QUESTIONS! Remember when your teachers in high school said “There will be at least 2 people who have the same question as you”? Well in college there will be around 60-300 people with the same question; besides, no one gives to craps about you in college, just ask your question and ace your class!
9- Don’t skip too much. Skipping in high school is one thing; you can miss a week and still have an A+ in all your classes. However, college is a whole different story. Missing a week of classes is like missing a month in HS – please only skip if you feel like your dying – I know I’ll for sure follow my own advice this year.
10- Professors don’t care about you. I keep telling people this story but yet no one seems to let it skin in. My first class at college was Microeconomics and my professor walks in and looks at all of us and just says “I really don’t care if you guys are here or not; if you get hit by a bus that is one last test I have to mark.” Professors don’t care if you’re sick, if your dog died or if your granny broke a hip; you missed the assignment’s due date? Sucks to be you! This point goes hand-in-hand with number 5, (GET A BLOODY AGENDA) write down every single due date that you have in front of you and try to get as much work done as you possibly can so you can hand it in earlier; that way you can miss the due date but your assignment will already be with the professor or your TA!
11- Coffee is a friend. In all seriousness, most college and university student have a coffee addiction because we spend most of our nights trying to finish an assignment or because we couldn’t sleep due to too, much stress because of a test. I find that the bitterness of the coffee matches our approach to school.
12- Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep. Did I just hear “GURL U CRAY!” from somewhere? I guess I did, but we all need sleep! School is already exhausting enough when you have had your sleep, but without it? You’re looking at a long string of months that mash into random spurts of crying in the middle of the hallway, dozing off in the middle of class and a lot of irritation. Sometimes it’s better to get a C in an assignment than a mental breakdown.
13- Dedicate an hour a day to homework. Whoever said that you need three hours of studying for each hour of class clearly didn’t have a social life! During weekdays dedicate an hour to do your homework and during the weekend you can afford more time to finish off essays and excel spread sheets!
14- Stress is very normal! Stressing over things is part of the whole college experience, but don’t let it depress you. Like I mentioned above, you need to take care of yourself! This means sleeping, eating right, taking showers occasionally and most importantly, taking care of your mind!
15- YOU CAN EAT IN CLASS! Suck on that high school teachers! I can eat a whole buffet without you staring me down! But PLEASE, don’t eat crunchy things or chew with your mouth open – not only will you get dirty looks, but someone might just try to kill you (AKA me)
16- College/Uni friends are 10x better than your high school ones! Yeah, we all have that one person from high school that we still love and adore (Sup Gingerness???) but in all honesty, you were only friends with certain people because you saw them 5 times a week. Friends in post-secondary are a whole new level of awesome! These are the kind of people you can see at your wedding, or going on vacation with after graduating, not to mention you trust them with your notes, and there is no bigger level of trust than that in college!
17- Hand in your assignments on time!!! Professors appreciate you handing in your stuff early, but if you think they’ll take an assignment that is late… You have another thing coming. The only thing that will make professors CONSIDER letting you hand in stuff late is a doctor’s note – and even then they might not let you. So to avoid problems in your soon to be stressed life, JUST HAND IN YOUR SHIT ON TIME!
18- Failing a class isn’t the end of the world. There is always next year and the summer. Trust me when I say that you won’t die because you failed a class, it just means that you have to try harder the next time.
19- You can leave the class whenever it tickles you fancy. You can also suck on that HS teachers! Yeah, you can leave whenever you want!! You also don’t have to play the whole “Can I use the washroom?” just to have the teacher reply “I don’t know can you?” If your bladder is singing the song of her people you just get up and leave! It’s that simple, really!
20- Enjoy your campus! I seriously cannot explain how much I love my school campus! Its red brick everywhere and wood cottages – seriously stunning! Grab yourself some coffee and sit outside, enjoy the autumn winds blowing around you; however be careful when walking, you don’t want to step on someone’s used condom from last night!
21- Downsize your wallet. Yes ladies, I’m talking to you. Campuses are prime spots for people to steal your stuff – keeping only a limited amount of cash on you is a very smart idea. Also bring only your debit if you can – credit card fraud is very real and scary!
22- Bring entertainment. You might notice that you have a three hour break between your classes, and there is only so much work you’ll be willing to do in those hours! Bring your tablet and watch Netflix, pull out your DS and play some Mario Kart! Anything that will help you pass the time. Also, don’t forget your chargers; it’s all fun and games until you see the 4% battery that threatens ending your favourite TV show right when the important stuff is happening!
23- Your average will drop…. Haaa, the most dreaded part of school! Say good-bye to those 95% averages, unless you’re Einstein and Wonder woman all rolled into one, it’s almost impossible! 60’s are truly a blessing and when you get a 70 it’s like the world is playing a trick on you!
24- Freshman 15 is not a myth!! Your first year is all about experimenting, hence why your average drops and your waist line expands. Keg parties, vending machines, unlimited excess to the pizza store and all the candy that is around you will make sure that you put on at least 15 pounds, if not more. And gym? Pleeeeease, you’ll be more worried about the essay that is worth 50% of your mark than lifting a 50 pound dumb bell at the gym. But don’t you fret!!! That is why you have a second year; so your average can go up and your butt can finally fit into those skinny jeans again!
25- Bring water and food. I can’t even begin to tell you how stupid expensive food at school is; I’m sorry, but $5 bucks for a bloody croissant isn’t happening! If you live on residency, you’ll probably experience a bigger struggle than those of us who commute, but you can still manage! Bring healthy snacks and a lunch you can eat during classes. Don’t forget water bottles; most campuses have water fountains that you can refill your bottles with, don’t spend your money on vending machines and energy drinks – save all that for your coffee and tissues!
I hope my advice helped you a bit!