If you are anything like me, you had absolutely no clue what to expect walking around campus the first day. Would it be like the movies portrayed: living in a bubble-like community where nothing outside the campus walls matters? Or would it be more what I’ve heard from friends and family: an extremely laid back environment where students wear pajamas to classes?
Seeing as I just completed my first year of college, I would like to share with you 10 things that I learned as a freshman.
Never sit in the back of the classroom
If you sit in the back of the classroom there is a 99 percent chance someone will sit in front of you, completely blocking your view to the board. Taking notes then becomes a nightmare. You will have to manipulate your desk or posture in order to slightly see. I have also learned that professors are more likely to randomly call on students to answer questions in the back of the room rather than in the front.
Always take notes during lectures
Anything the professor says during lectures is fair game for exams. Even if what he/she says is a comment or side conversation with another student, it runs the risk of being on the exam. Always be prepared to fill in blanks with your notes, or write extra notes in the margins just in case.
It is okay to commute
I made the decision to commute my first year of college, and plan to continue through my next three years. People will always tell you that you are missing the “college experience,” but I do not think I did. You will never get homesick, you will have fresh, homemade food every day and you will make both commuter friends (because they know the struggle) and resident friends (because they will always have free rides).
If you do commute, stock up
Your car will become your second home. You will take naps between classes, eat a meal or snack and sometimes do your work in your car. To make life easier, make sure you always have pillows, blankets, snacks and whatever charger you may need.
Constantly check your email
I have had professors email me the next day’s assignment at midnight the night before. I have also had professors email me at 10 a.m. saying that our 11 a.m. class is cancelled. Just to be safe, check your email as much as possible.
Plan and organize
Write down due dates for projects as soon as they are assigned. Unlike high school, your professors rarely remind you of upcoming due dates. If you do get a reminder, it may only be a week before an entire project is due. I found an agenda book and calendar worked best for me.
Time will lose all meaning
I never thought I would pull an all-nighter, however I quickly learned that there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done. The last six or so weeks of the semester I would be up until two or three in the morning doing schoolwork or studying for upcoming exams. Professors typically just review during class time. It’s up to you to be prepared to ask and answer questions on the material.
It is okay to change your mind
At some time you may question if you picked the right major, a class or even the right school. It is okay to have those thoughts. You just have to remember to always believe in yourself, and that you do not need to have your life figured out at age 18 or even 20-something.
Have a [social] life
Make time for yourself as well as your friends. I made the mistake of putting my personal life on hold during each semester. I ended up just being miserable for ditching my friends and never having any fun.
You will survive
Just remember, it is only 16 weeks per semester. It may seem like the longest 16 weeks of your life, but just remember you will make it through no matter how stressful it may be.