- Vegetables are amazing and you will miss them.
(This is ice cream because I didn’t take any pictures of veggies. lol.)
I know I sound like a whiny toddler when I say this, but I hated veggies growing up. Unless it was carrot sticks or celery I had to be bribed or forced to eat them. However, after getting to college and having absolutely no vegetables and an abundance of fried and unhealthy food, I began to miss my mom’s healthy cooking, especially the vegetables. Before this I never understood why people cooked with veggies except for added flavor. Now, I’m sort of addicted. I also learned that vegetables don’t have to come in the traditional salad or boiled broccoli. They can be tossed in a stir fry or steamed with Cajun spices. All time fav at the moment is snap peas and mini corn!
- My planner is my life!
I always had a planner growing up whether the one my school provided or the ones I got from Office Max in high school. For my first year of college I decided that I needed to invest in a nicer planner than the $5 ones I was used to. I decided on the Vera Bradley medium planner and have absolutely loved it. I put all my due dates and plan out my life in it. The fun colors keep me excited to stay focused and be able to check off things on my to do list. This year I decided on a Kate Spade Planner since it was slightly smaller and would take up less space when I travel.
- Breakfast is important.
Classes at my school never start before 9 a.m., but the cafeteria barely opens by 8, sometimes not till 8:30. So on the days where I actually got up with enough time to enjoy the morning before my class I would have to either wait for breakfast or make my own. I was usually rushing out of my room so I tried to keep some yogurts and plastic spoons so I could just grab one and go. Granola bars make for amazing to go breakfasts too. I did make it through first semester without a coffee maker, but you better believe it was on my Christmas list. I hated coffee before I started college, then surprise surprise, three weeks in I gave in and became addicted. The one I got was both cheap and had a timer so it was perfect. I would set it for the next morning and then would be woken by brewing coffee. Though… not even that would get me out of bed sometimes.
- The friendships you make and keep are the best you’ve ever had.
I love my friends from high school; I actually just got back from dinner with some of the ones I still keep in contact with but, its just a different environment in college. You interact with these people practically 24/7 and they are just a text away or down the hall. The sharing gets real guys. I think college helps with friendships because its up to you to make friends now. There are no mandatory classes or clubs, its just you and your campus and you’ve got to figure it out. This does mean, however, that there are some people you lose touch with, even if they do live across the way. Everyone is extremely busy in college, so know that the ones who you put forth the effort for and those who do it for you are the ones who matter the most.
- Living on campus has its +/-s.
I did enjoy my time on campus for my first year. I would recommend any first year students get a room on campus unless it made more sense financially to live at home. I was close to everything and it gave me more opportunities to interact with my fellow students. I saw people at the gym, the library, and the cafeteria. There was no escape! Which was a bad thing when I was feeling antisocial. On the other hand, it forced me to be social which meant I had to get out of my shell more.
- Professors want to help you if you show initiative.
The best way to show you are committed to your classes is to talk to the professor. Go to their office hours or just talk to them before or after class. Letting them know you care about their class with make them want to help you succeed in it. This may not work in all your classes but if you can customize your assignments to your interests it can be a great way to make them more intriguing to you. This will work smoother if you already have an established relationship with your professor. I did this in two of my classes, one was a writing class and the other a programming class. They were both pretty open projects to begin with, but because I had built a relationship with the teachers they allowed me to curve it to my tastes even more. Knowing your professors also helps because it means they know you and can write recommendations for you. You may not think you will need these until you are applying for internships or jobs or graduate school, but there are plenty of summer programs, scholarships, and fellowships that require recommendations. It also looks good for you to have known the person that is recommending you for more than one semester, so if you begin building relationships during your first year, it allows for a more convincing and useful recommendation.
- Living with roommates can be hard especially if you are used to your own space.
When I first moved into my dorm room, it was a triple and I didn’t know how I was going to survive. I had had my own room for most of my life and cherished my own space and time away from any living thing other than my cats. What I found was most important with living with roommates was communication. When was bedtime, when do people like to wake up, what temperature should we keep the room. These sorts of things should be discussed to smooth the transition. Another thing to remember is you can get out; there are plenty of spaces on campus that can offer a break from the sometimes suffocating environment a tiny dorm room can create. I was extremely lucky with my roommates, both of them were absolutely lovely and any issues we had were resolved peacefully. It also helped that one of my roommates moved out about 2 months into the school year and the other one was barely there. #PracticallyASingle
- Make time for relaxing.
I did my best work when I was well rested and had time to do things for me. This did not happen all the time or even 50% of the time, but when it did, it was great. Even just taking a moment to enjoy my morning coffee or treating myself to a Netflix marathon after finishing an assignment. It doesn’t have to be big, just things that make you happy. Doing this will help you recharge and be ready for the next challenge college throws your way. Whether it be a hard assignment or that the cafeteria ran out of omelets the morning you were really craving one.
- Plan out assignments.
Now I am the first to scoff when a professor says the classic “You can’t do this in one night” and I have sure proved them wrong time and again. However, this was after overdosing on caffeine and neglecting any sort of sleep or rest for that night. It didn’t feel so great the morning after either. The best feeling; however, is getting the assignment done early, whether by a day or week getting that time to relax and review before turning it in can help lower your stress levels. Try to set your own due dates and stick to them. Make them weekly and advance through your project like this. Even if you procrastinate to your own deadline it’s better than having to ask your professor for an extension.
- Get involved!!
It’s ok if you don’t know your niche when you come into college. College is a time to experiment with what you want to be involved with. My first semester I may have over scheduled myself a little, but I’m glad I did because it allowed me to find the activities that I liked faster than doing just one thing a semester. I was involved in a dance program called, “Dance Collective” at my college. In the first semester I was in three dances, one of which I co-choreographed and the second semester I was in five dances and choreographed one. I also joined the Sailing Club for a little while. I absolutely loved learning to sail; however, it was very time consuming and in the end I decided I didn’t have time for it. I do think when I go back for my third year, I will try to get involved in it again though. The third activity I became involved in was the theater company. I became a makeup artist and created the looks for all of the productions that semester. I did enjoy the creativity of working with the theater, but it was a lot of work and hours. I was also a committee member for our Young Professionals group where we planned events to get students excited about careers after college. Doing all of these activities, in addition to academics did spread me a little thin, but it allowed me to discover where I truly wanted to put my time and energy.
There are a million more things I learned in college, but for now I hope these ten can help you as you begin your college career or continue it. The most important point to remember is to have fun and don’t forget about academics. You are over-paying for your education so you might as do you best to get the best grades possible. Or pass in my case.