Freshman Year Survival Guide

The first year of college is a time of incredible change. The most fundamental of these changes is liberation. Finally, teenagers are free to decide for themselves how to live life. There are no parents to nag about cleaning the room or studying. For many it is the first time where their self-discipline will truly be tested. Will it be junk food, video games, and partying all the time, or will it be healthy food, staying fit, and studying? Many young students make little mistakes that ultimately force them to drop out. Don’t let that be you. Here is your survival guide.

Top 5 Survival Tips 

5: Pick your schedule wisely 

While eighteen hours of classes seems like a no-brainer since it will get you to graduation sooner with less student debt, truly consider the consequences of a heavy load during your first year. You have no idea how hard things are going to be and no idea of how much free time you will have. Things like staying in shape, making friends, and going to the movies might have been automatic in high school, but now in college you will actually have to make time for them, and time management is a huge problem for young students. The best advice is to err on the side of too easy rather than too hard. Of course, you should challenge yourself with difficult classes that set you on the path to becoming an expert in your field and ready for the workplace, but the confidence booster of a great first year will really help in year number two.

4: Be Careful What You Eat 

They don’t call it the Freshman-15 for nothing. Even though health is often a required subject all through high school and in college, many students don’t have a clue of how to eat properly. Sorry, frozen pizza every night is not going to cut it. The main thing to think about is calories in and calories out. If you consume too many calories without burning them off, you are going to gain weight. Eating junky or fatty foods is just going to exacerbate the problem. Instead, try working in vegetables when you can. For example, it only takes minutes to heat up some broccoli, and it tastes great with a bit of cheese sprinkled on top. If you are too frightened to leave the microwave, you can buy canned vegetables like green beans or corn and cook them up. Sometimes students are in a dorm without cooking facilities and get a meal plan at a disgusting cafeteria. The food is often terrible, but try to keep the hamburger and desserts for special occasions even when they are offered every night. A healthy body is the only way to keep a healthy mind.

3: Play a Sport 

Girls and guys alike should join an extracurricular sports program. Not only does it help to make time for staying fit, it is an excellent time to make friends, often of the opposite sex. Almost all schools offer these fun sports programs. Just go to the fitness center and inquire or look for posters or a calendar. You can burn calories while having fun playing ultimate Frisbee, soccer, softball, flag football, and more. You can get away with more junk food if you burn off more calories. It is still advisable to actually work out at the gym either in the weight room or cardio room, but sometimes the work load from classes gets too heavy for a regular workout routine. The play time is a great way to knock out socializing and exercise in the same time slot.

2: Stay Away From Credit 

So many students get to college and are offered all different types of credit from student loans to credit cards. You really need to think about how you will pay off any type of credit you decide to accept. While it is fun to live free and ‘pimp’ out your new room, you really will pay for it sooner or later, just maybe not with money. By building up debt, you are limiting your future options. You are pushing yourself towards a pressure-filled life where you must make a certain amount of money to survive. Maybe now you are interested in computers where the jobs pay a lot, but what happens if you decide to be a high school teacher after college? Try making up six figures on those salaries. Or the reverse, if you are studying liberal arts, the chances are you are not going to be able to pay back six digit loan anytime soon. Take out only what you need. Credit cards are much worse than student loans but both add stress to your future life. New dresses, expensive nights out, and the latest smart phone are not required for having an amazing college experience. You just have to get creative if you have only a small amount of money.

1:Talk To People 

Often people do not realize how important the first year of college is for making friends that you will have for the rest of your life. It truly is the best time for strong and lasting friendship development. Everyone is in a brand new place both geographically and in life and willing to open up to new friend groups. However, this window of openness closes dramatically fast. Once people start gathering a small group of friends, it becomes much more difficult to join the group. So go to social events, force yourself to dance, meet people. If you are interested in relationships, be sure to keep things in perspective. Many students fall head over heals for a person and then completely neglect studies and flunk out of school. Have fun and keep things light. You have a whole college career and life to meet the person of your dreams. The benefits of having friends are countless. You will have people in your classes to get tutoring help from or simply to ask questions about homework or studying. In addition, you will be happier and feel more at home in this strange new life. Depression is a real problem with kids who have just left home for the first time. So much is different that it becomes overwhelming and classwork suffers. So makes some friends to cheer you up and keep you feeling good rather than wasting time missing home. Especially if you are shy, you will really appreciate your efforts to overcome your fears later in life.

So go out there and enjoy the freedom of making your own decisions. Just remember that with your new power, you also have to ability to make big mistakes and need to be smart.