The Truth About Being a College Freshman
Changes, Friends, Classes, and More
Before you move into college, everyone will have something to say about what to bring and how fun it is going to be, but what college is really like is different from anything you'd ever expect.
Preparing for Move In
If you're anything like me before you move in, you'll Google what to bring and make lists, making sure you don't forget anything. It's better to begin making lists at the beginning of the summer of everything you use on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. After you have done this mark two things; everything you can live without, and everything you don't have your own of. You will quickly learn that you use other people's things more than you think, especially things like cleaning supplies.
The next most important thing to do is make sure you have enough tabletop space and storage. It is hard to know exactly what you are going to need but going in blind will result in either spending unnecessary money on too much storage, or not having room to organize everything you have brought. The best way to organize this is to sort your list into categories of what you want to be stored where. I like to do this by using color coding and a key, but there are many ways. Tabletop space (anything you can set things on like nightstands and desks) is valuable in college because it is often limited. Mark on your list what you need table space for. This will include things like TV's, fish tanks, lamps etc.
Finally, you need to decide what clothes are necessary to bring. Think about where you are going to college, and what the weather is going to be like from now until the next time you are going to be home. Pack clothes that match this weather, and a few things for other types of weather to be prepared for any unexpected changes. It is also very important that you pack some professional clothes. In college, you will have different events to attend where you will be meeting lots of people in your career field and it is always best to look professional. You will also have presentations in your classrooms (if you go to a smaller school like me, bigger state schools may not have you present until your junior or senior year because freshman and sophomore classes are often very large) and it is best to look nice, because they are often a big portion of your grade.
Before move-in day make sure you have everything together and the actual move in will go smoothly. You also need to make sure you remember to turn in health forms and any other forms your college requires because this can prevent you from moving in.
Orientation is fun, but also really awkward. Be prepared to talk about your favorite ice cream flavor and have two truths and a lie about yourself ready at all times because you will be playing endless icebreakers. An important thing to remember about orientation is that the people you hang out with will most likely not be your friends, but it is still important to talk to people during this time because if not, you will feel uncomfortable and lonely your first weeks at school. It's also nice for when classes start because if you happen to have a class with someone you befriended at orientation, you can sit together and maybe even become real friends.
Nobody thinks they are going to struggle with transitioning to college but the truth is, everyone is going to have problems. Moving to a new place with people you don't know is very scary, and you will make friends but it will take time to actually feel like you know them and feel connected with them, and the people you hang out with your freshman year may not be the people you stay close with all through college. This should not discourage you from making friends your freshman year, though. It is important to be social because you have lots of free time in college, more than you think, so if you don't get friends you will be very bored and lonely. You will also miss your family, so make sure you call them because they miss you too.
One of the scariest things for me when moving in was the idea of living with people I didn't know. At my school, the rooms are set up like suites, with two bedrooms, a small common area, and a bathroom, so you have 2-3 roommates. Sometimes (like in my room) the smaller room only gets one person assigned and the bigger room two. In my room, my roommate and I have the big room and we have a suitemate who has the smaller room. It is important to try to bond with your roommate, but if you don't get along often times colleges have a period of time where you can switch rooms, no questions asked. If you feel you and your roommate are not a good match, politely talk to them about whether or not you think it is best for one of you to move out. You should definitely talk to them before moving because if you move without telling them, they will be stuck with a new roommate and they should have some say in the decision because it is possible they have somewhere they want to move to as well.
Obviously hating your roommate is a rare case. It is likely you will get along. To be a good roommate remember to keep your things at least kind of clean, don't leave food or drinks laying around, take turns with common chores, and ask your roommate if you are bothering them if you feel like they are trying to study or sleep.
It is tempting not to go to class—very tempting, because no one cares if you don't. But skipping class can result in missing very important information. When I am feeling like I want to skip I plan something to do after class (like getting a smoothie or Chick-fil-a) so I have something to look forward to.
In a way, it won't feel like you have as much homework as high school because assignments aren't daily and planned. Homework in college involves working on long-term assignments and reading your textbooks. It is SO important to read your books because you never know how much of the test is going to be lecture-based and how much will be reading based (I will release a new post all about study methods this or next week).
Overall college is really fun, but the truth is, it doesn't feel as different as you expect. Just remember, from here on out you control your future and you owe nothing to anyone. If you feel your major isn't right, change it. If you don't like your school, transfer. If you hate your roommate, move. It is important to set yourself up to succeed because college isn't just because you have to, it is preparation for the rest of your life.
The video attached is a list of places that provide college discounts! It is important to save money! (The video is not mine, just something I found helpful.)