As the semester is winding down and the miserable heat of summer is showing its head, some celebrate the end of an educational era, whether that be high school or college. However, others are commemorating the end of the beginning, as they draw a close to their freshman year of undergrad. So here are some notes from the class of 2019 to the class of 2020. You’ll thank us later.
1. You’re gonna get lost a lot.
Unless your college campus is a square mile, you’re gonna find yourself wandering around, map covering your face. Don’t freak out, all your classmates are just as confused. There are a thousand buildings, and your geology class won’t always be in the geology building. Just make sure to give yourself ample time to get to class. You’ll figure it out eventually.
2. You have to do the reading.
For 98 percent of classes in high school, “required reading” was a joke. Not anymore. Chances are the reading won’t be discussed in class, but it’s certain to be on the test. You’re responsible for knowing what’s in that $200 hunk of junk, and considering you only have three tests, I’d get going on those chapters. You’ll thank me later.
3. It’s OK to party. Just be safe.
Going out on a Friday night (or maybe even Thirsty Thursday) is totally fine. Just be careful. Stick with a group of people you trust, don’t go off with anyone you don’t know, and remember: you can legally take pepper spray to school now. Have a good time, but make sure you get home safe. And another thing: just because there’s no parents doesn’t mean there’s no authority. While you can’t get grounded at home anymore, the cops will have no problem grounding you in a cell. Don’t be that freshman.
4. Join organizations and clubs!!!
I can’t stress this enough. Not only does it look really good on a scholarship application, it’s guaranteed to be the most effective way to make friends! In a school of over 20,000 people, it’s unlikely you’ll meet your best friend in geometry. So find a few clubs that interest you and try them out! It’ll give you something fun to do outside of class and introduce you to tons of cool people. There’s something out there for everyone, so whether you like hiking, video games, or volunteering, you’re gonna find something you love. So get out there and get involved!
5. Don’t go home every weekend.
I get it. You’re gonna miss your family like crazy. You’re gonna miss your friends. But by going home every weekend, you miss out on a lot of cool activities going on in your community, as well as a decent opportunity to just chill for a day. Weekends are also some of the best times to study, but that’s hard to do when you’re wrapped up on your couch at home watching TLC. Give yourself a good month when the school year begins before you go home. It’s time to start being a little independent. You can do this.
6. Your professor isn’t going to update your grades like your teachers in high school did.
“What do you mean I have a 76?” This isn’t an uncommon phrase among students in college, especially as midterms and finals approach. You’re unlikely to ever have an assignment returned to you. You may not even get your grade on it, so averages are sort of a toss-up and hope for the best. Just do your best and try not to sweat it too much. Worst comes to worst, email your professor. They should be willing to help.
7. Do all the extra credit, dear God
I promise you’re almost guaranteed to need it. Don’t brush it off as busywork, even if it is busywork. Trust me, for some professors, the difference in an 88.5 percent and an 88.9 percent is an entire letter grade. Every decimal point towards that A you need counts. Take every opportunity to boost it, as many professors won’t offer it at all.
8. Even if you hate sports, collegiate games are fun.
There’s nothing like the feeling of cheering for your home team along with 10,000 of your fellow students. Don’t automatically shun the idea of going to a football or baseball game, you could have a lot more fun than you’d think. Grab some friends, grab a Coke, and prepare to scream your lungs out. Go team!
9. Buy some sweatpants. Enjoy your decision.
Number one priority in college is comfort. It’s not a fashion show, and everyone could care less what you look like. Be comfy, invest in some sweatpants, and focus on your academics. When you walk at least a mile every day, those high heels or spandex tops aren’t going to be your friend. Stay baggy, stay beautiful.
10. Take advantage of your time.
You only get to be a freshman once. So experience a little bit of everything, and find your place before your major courses set in and you’re knee-deep in internships and real adulthood. This is the time to explore and have fun! (Reasonably, of course.) So study hard, but don’t forget to play hard, too! College is the time of your life, so make the most of it.