College Tips: Advice from an Upperclassman to an Incoming Freshman
Car is packed. Good-byes are said. It is finally time to drive to your new home for the next four years: college. To get the most out of your college education, the best person to talk to may be an upperclassman. He’s been there, done that, and pretty much seen it all, so here is some advice from an upperclassman to an incoming freshman.
Get Involved Immediately
One of the best advices an upperclassman can give to an incoming freshman is to get involved. Join a student organization, a cause, a volunteer program, or a sports team. This will get you out and about doing new things and meeting new people. Student organizations range from sororities and fraternities to cultural clubs and hobby clubs. If you are interested in a cause, such as animal rights, join an existing school or community program or you can even start your own club (each school has a different method of starting clubs, so check with your school). Every school has a volunteer program or should have one. Use this opportunity to explore your interests and get to know people. Lastly, schools have a variety of club sports and recreational sports. Club sports may require tryouts, but anyone can join a recreational team.
College is one of the places where you meet people you’ll be friends with for the rest of your life. As a freshman, start hanging out with people who have similar goals and study habits as you. This way, you’ll make friends with people who won’t drag you in a different direction (unless you want to be dragged in a different direction). As a result, you won’t be forced to do things and make choices that you don’t feel comfortable with. Plus, this will allow you to make long-lasting relationships.
Anyone heard of freshman fifteen? Most freshman students gain weight during their first semester or quarter in college. To beat down that freshman fifteen, work out regularly. See if your roommates or classmates will work out with you. Or if you prefer to work out by yourself, this is a good stress-releasing, quiet time to listen to music and think. If you hate gyms or just prefer not to go to gyms, you can also take physical education classes offered by your school. Take yoga to relax or jiu-jitsu for self-defense. Try kick-boxing if you really want a good workout.
Another way of beating the freshman fifteen is to not eat at the residence halls ALL the time. Mix up your meals every week. Maybe you’ll eat at the residence halls four out of the seven nights of the week, but you also eat out two nights and cook at a friend’s house one of those nights. Mixing up your meals this way will help you eat healthy, and may very likely keep you from gaining that freshman fifteen.
Everyone is aware of the lifestyle of college students, so here is some advice from an upperclassman to a freshman about partying safely. (1) Go to parties with friends and never stay if your friends are leaving. College can be fun, but it can also be dangerous and damaging. When everyone is drinking, anything can happen. (2) Remember that the legal drinking age is 21. If you do drink, make sure that it is an unopened can (open it yourself), or that the person who is giving you the can opens it in front of you. Date rape drugs can be put into your drink while you are not looking and can make you groggy, weak, and sometimes unconscious. (3) If you can walk to a party, walk. Walk with a group to the party and then walk back together, but don’t make a habit of walking alone. Driving can be dangerous when everyone within a one-to-two mile radius is drinking.
Have safe sex. There’s no other way to put it. This is so important because in college, disease can spread like fire, and you don’t want to leave four years later with anything more than a fun time and a degree. You meet a lot of people who come from different backgrounds and who have been with different people. Practicing safe sex will help keep you from catching whatever is going around—and usually, something besides the flu is always going around. Your health center should have free condoms and can provide free STD tests should you need them.
To get off to a good start in college, get yourself into the habit of studying for tests at least two days before the test. Three or four days is even better. That way, the material gets into your head and your brain has time to process it before the test. Study a little bit each day instead of cramming the night before will help you get higher scores on your tests—and you’ll actually learn something.
Speaking Up in Class
Many freshman students are intimidated by the grandeur of college classes and don’t tend to talk much in class. They don’t realize that professors LOVE talkers. Most professors prefer to have a discussion going on in class instead of just lecturing all the time, but the problem is the students won’t talk. So don’t be afraid to say something in class. Ask a question when it comes to you. Don’t wait or the conversation will move on and you won’t get a chance to ask your question. More likely than not, someone else in the class is probably thinking of the same question and does not have the guts to ask. Remember, what you say doesn’t always have to be genius. As long as you as you speak up in class, the professor will connect a face to a name, and you will become a student instead of a number. And most professors actually like to hear your opinions.
Signing Up for Classes
Midway through the first semester/quarter, you should be thinking of classes for next semester. Usually, your school will send you a date and time to register for next semester’s/quarter’s classes. College tip from an upperclassman: sign up for classes as early as you possibly can or they will fill up fast, and you will have trouble finding classes that will fit your schedule. Usually, the only classes that will be open will be the ones at 8:00 in the morning.
Finals Week Cleanliness
Finals week is a tough week for everyone. You may have papers to finish and tests to study for in addition to your finals. During this week, campus is usually quiet, but viruses usually flare. Wash your hands a lot during finals week and try not to touch your face. Eat healthily and drink a lot of fluids. You can go from a healthy, happy person to an unhealthy, depressed person within days during finals week.
If college is just around the corner for you or if you are just starting college, use these tips from an upperclassman to an incoming freshman and you will be fine. This advice will help you get through the first semester/quarter and can be adjusted to your needs and liking. Just remember, when in doubt, follow your gut.