Ten Commandments College Freshmen Should Follow

There are many things people don’t tell you about college life. Some things are small, trivial matters that just annoy every upperclassman on campus. Other things can change your entire college career if you keep an open, focused mind. Here are ten helpful tips for our incoming peers.

1. Making new friends is good; walking around campus in a group of 10+ people is bothersome.

The excitement of meeting new people and making new friends can become overwhelming the first couple of weeks as a freshman. Be mindful that, although you like walking around in a pack with your new self-proclaimed college crew, large groups take up a fair amount of room and should be mindful of other people using the sidewalks and/or space around them.

2. College food isn’t that great.

Granted most—if not all—freshman will have a meal plan their first year, don’t go overboard with all the pizza, cheeseburgers, fries, and sandwiches that you desire. Try to maintain a conscious and healthy diet because the notorious “Freshman 15” is NOT a myth. Also, be aware of those late night greasy cravings that so many businesses around campus cater to. Do you really need that 12-piece Buffalo chicken order at 3am?

3. Wearing a lanyard is a public proclamation that you are a freshman.

Ahhhh yes! Ask any upperclassmen how to spot a freshman and they’ll answer with “The ones wandering around campus wearing lanyards.” It’s not a fashion statement in any regards. Trust me, just ditch the lanyard.

4. Everyone will be doing their laundry on Sunday night.

If you don’t hold off on laundry to bring home for you mom to do, than guaranteed Sunday night the 5 washing machines in the basement of your dorm will be in use. Try finding time when you aren’t in classes to take advantage of a free machine, maybe a Wednesday afternoon. After all, laundry is an important responsibility.

5. Your roommate does not have to be your best friend.

Some people will become instant pals with their roomie; others will be civil or just flat out ignore their designated room partner. Whatever the situation, remember, it’s only temporary, and your RA is always willing to solve any disputes or problems. Having a roommate is a great life experience as long as you both make it work.

6. Parties . . . social gatherings of drunken debauchery.

Let’s be real here, why else do freshman flock to frat parties? You want some fun, maybe hookup; get drunk, there’s a myriad of reasons. No one is saying that it’s entirely bad, but be careful! Stick with your friends for safety and if you do drink always pour your own, and never accept anything that you don’t know the contents of. Use common sense. The drinking age is 21 and you can get an underage ticket.

7. College is stressful. Develop a routine for your workload.

You may need to restructure your life a bit to adjust to the college setting. Unlike the typical high school day schedule, college schedules vary every day. Finding time to balance everything is important in being successful during your college career. Investing in an agenda planner is an ideal solution along with practicing those time management skills.

8. Go to class. End of story.

Even if you are hung-over, the professor doesn’t have a strict attendance policy, or if you just don’t feel like it. GO! The only person who does not benefit from missing out on class is you. And in some majors or classes missing just one could mean missing out on 1-3 chapters of coursework. Also, it’s tuition money that YOU are paying for getting wasted for what, an extra hour of Netflix? Go to class. It’s the only way you are going to pass.

9. Develop a library habit and keep up with it.

The library is an overlooked but important resource on campus. Spending a few hours a week there can greatly benefit your academic career. Making it a habit throughout the semester will pay off when finals week approaches and the library is crowded to capacity with students cramming to study. Making an effort early on will help towards the end of the semester.

10. Be involved.

Student involvement on campus is one of the greatest experiences to have during a college career. You can befriend upperclassmen who will help and guide you. Even professors and advisors can help students’ performance and involvement by mentoring them. It may be scary to break out of your shell and dive into student activities, clubs, organizations, or sports, but if you find the courage to make your college career worthwhile, it really will be the time of your life!

PHOTO COURTESY of Kelly Hughes