Above is an actual picture of a college freshmen. Yes, it is me in my younger years. Yes, I feel old.
Upcoming college freshmen, this one’s for you.
The other day I was out with my friends for happy hour at a place near my college campus. Before we could order our drinks, the guy behind the counter asked us if we were on campus for freshman orientation. After laughing (loudly), I informed him that we had in fact been there for orientation… Three years ago. Lol. But what I wouldn’t give for him to have been right!
Anyways, with a new semester coming up quick, I can remember how nervous I was to begin my freshman year of college. And how could you not be nervous?! There is so much unknown and you’re being thrown right into it, for the most part, blind as a bat.
With my little sister beginning her college career this year (brb crying), I asked her what her biggest concerns are so that I could share some advice with her and all of you! Warning, this post is a little longer than normal, but hang in there it’s worth it! Here are a few of the concerns I wanted to address:
Not having a clue where your classes are.
Please do not be stressed out about this. What you need to do is set time aside a day or two before classes start, and go track down each one. Just get a general idea of where each one is and you will be golden. Teachers expect there to be late arrivals the first few days, especially if you are in a freshmen-dominated class. Everyone gets lost. Everyone ends up sitting in the wrong class for 20 minutes, just to realize they are in the wrong class and have to awkwardly get up and leave (or maybe that’s just me). But you will find that most teachers are pretty understanding at first!
How do I feed myself without a kitchen?
You DON’T eat chicken nuggets and fries every day. Do not depend on your 12 year-old kid metabolism to follow you to college, because it most likely will not. Freshman 15 is COMPLETELY REAL. I’m sorry to break the news to you if you were previously living in a naive, nugget-bingeing bliss.
Invest in a mini fridge and microwave for your dorm room if you aren’t living in a house or apartment. You can create an amazing amount of relatively healthy meals in a microwave. There are plenty of cookbooks out there made just for college students. I have linked one here and another here.
If you decide to join Greek life, if they have a house on campus, there will likely be meals served. See if you can be on a meal plan with your house, it will be the closest you will probably get to home-cooked meals. Not to mention, no cooking on your part! WIN.
Getting along with your roommates
You will have arguments or disagreements with your roommates(s). Living in tight quarters with friends, or with strangers, can be taxing on a relationship no matter how close you are. I highly recommend creating a roommate agreement right when you first move in. Since this is probably your first roommate situation, let me help you out with my free Roommate Agreement PDF.
Other than that, just remember to continually respect each other’s space. If you wouldn’t want them to do something to you, don’t do it to them. Avoid being passive aggressive with each other. Address problems respectfully and calmly right when they happen, if possible.
AKA, Rush Week. Sorry to any male readers, I don’t think I am qualified enough to be giving any kind of advice on fraternity recruitment.
On the other hand, I have been on both sides of sorority recruitment and would be happy to share some of my knowledge and experience with you.
First, JUST BE YOU. I can’t stress this enough. If you can’t say what you feel or act how you normally would, maybe that house is not the house for you! Don’t fret; you will know when you aren’t clicking with someone. It’s like dating, you can usually tell if you click with someone right away. Same principles apply. Feel out each house as much as possible and trust your gut.
Second, just know that some stigmas about sororities are completely false, while others are completely true. Please don’t go into it thinking that sorority life is all sunshine and daisies. You won’t be best friends with every person you meet. There are going to be mean girls, or girls you just don’t like, but that’s life.
On that note, not everyone ends up being the bad stereotype of a sorority girl. Some of the most down to earth, funny, and kind-hearted people I’ve met in college have been die hard for their sorority.
Third, I’m sure there are plenty of you that are wondering if sorority life is even for you. With that, the only way to know for sure is to try. If you try it out and love it, you’ve found your home away from home. If you try it out and it turns out that you aren’t a fan, then you know that your talents are better suited elsewhere! College is about learning. Learning about your field of study and also learning about yourself.
Fourth and finally, the mighty question of “What if no one likes me?”. I apologize that this may be a little insensitive, but if absolutely no one likes you, it may be time to do some inner self-reflection… Just sayin’.
Chances are, and odds are in your favor, someone will like you. While there is no guarantee that you will be chosen by your favorite house, it is definitely a good idea to at least consider the ones you are chosen by. There is a reason they chose you, and its possible that they see something of value in you that would be a great addition to their chapter. Stay open minded and don’t be swayed by reputations.
And remember, sororities want you to like them just as much as you want them to like you. It’s a two way street. So relax, be yourself, and try to enjoy the process. Its long days of what seems like endless babble at times, but you will get through it. I swear, participating in rush should be an activity that is résumé worthy. You will learn how to talk to so many different types of people. It really becomes a skill.
Bearing all this in mind, just remember to go with the flow. You will learn so much about life and yourself this year. Embrace every opportunity and enjoy every second. I can say from first hand experience as I enter my senior year, it really does go by way too fast.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Remain open minded.
Do your own thing sometimes.
Learn to be a functional procrastinator.
If I missed anything you think is important, leave a comment below or shoot me a message! I love your feedback, and would be so excited to hear any other suggestions you have!
Best of luck to everyone!