College Advice No One Tells You
College is a miraculous time of change and adventure that is often sugarcoated by movies, television, and your Instagram feed. From those forms of media, you’re really only seeing the good parts— game days, frat parties, etc etc. Don’t get me wrong, these parts are awesome. But, they aren’t the only things you should be aware of when going into your freshman year.
There are some things that people just don’t tell you about going to college. However, these are the things that will allow you to truly thrive in your college environment. There are two types of advice we’ll give you: academic advice and overall advice. So, sit tight and listen up!
1. On the first day of class, get the phone number of one fellow student.
Whether it’s a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior, it’s their first day in the class too. This will end up being very helpful when you are pretty sure you have something due tomorrow, but you aren’t entirely sure.
Advice: Strike up a conversation with just about anyone easily by giving them a genuine compliment. Are they wearing a shirt, hat, or have merch from a sports team you like? Do you LOVE her blouse? Tell him or her and move right in to becoming study buddies.
2. Write your notes in class instead of typing them.
Although typing may be more convenient, I’ve found that when I write my notes in class, I retain information better than typing them out. It’s also a surefire way to avoid falling into the pits of online shopping or going on Facebook during class, and subsequently not paying attention. It’s also a great way to work on handwriting and use fun colorful pens.
Advice: First manually take notes, then translate your notes to a hard copy on your computer. This way, if you ever lose a notebook, you can have copies of your precious information from class stored right on your desktop!
3. If you can help it, try not to study in bed.
Studies have shown, it is unhealthy for students (and anyone else, for that matter) to study in bed. It limits focus, decreases productivity, and hurts your sleep. Instead, go to the library, a coffee shop, a study lounge. Designate it as your workplace. Then, your dorm room can be reserved for watching Netflix and eating snacks, a reward for the time spent in the library.
Advice: Utilize space by reading some of our dorm organization tips and create a great lounge area for your dorm. You can easily transform your dorm from a small, disorganized space to a coordinated, organized kingdom.
4. You’re going to have a lot of down-time. Make the most of it.
After class, it can be really tempting to leave, go back to your dorm, and hang out with friends for a few hours until your next one. That is until you realize you have homework due for a class tomorrow and you’re scrambling to do it at 12 am. Make the most of your down-time by making small steps toward staying ahead of the game. Make note cards for an upcoming test, review notes, or join up on a study session.
Advice: Manage your time wisely to allocate time for work and play! A planner is a really good idea if you’re a person who loses track of things easily. Set alarms on your phone for deadlines ahead of time for assignments, quizzes, tests, and group study sessions.
1. It’s okay to feel homesick!
Just because you’re not a child doesn’t mean that college can’t evoke feelings of homesickness. For many people, college is the first time you’ll be living somewhere else for an extended period of time, and the longest you’ll go without seeing your parents. Suppressing those feelings of homesickness won’t make them go away. Call your parents if you need to.
Advice: Travel home for a weekend if you need it or schedule a time during the week for a recurring check-in with your family back home on Face-Time, WhatsApp, or Skype! No matter what you’re going through, those feelings of homesickness will dissolve with time.
2. If you don’t meet your best friends first semester of freshman year, it’s okay.
You have four fantastic years to meet people who are interesting, fun, and unlike anyone you’ve met before. If you don’t feel like this is the case by the time you come home for your first Christmas break, there’s really no need to fret. There’s still time!
Advice: Allow yourself to be open to making life-long friends at any stage of your college process, and these relationships will form. Get to know your roommate! You never know who might stick around for the long-haul!
3. Although it may seem like it on social media, college isn’t all fun all the time.
What you aren’t seeing are the hours spent in class, the long nights studying, the inevitable stress of writing a paper hours before it’s due. There will also be drama with friends from time to time, especially when you are spending so much time together. But these lows are what make the highs so high, embrace them!
Advice: College is a time of intellectual and social growth, and these obstacles will only leave you stronger and more equipped to prepare for situations in the future. Be open to the experience and forgive yourself for mistakes that are made. Remember, you’re just learning how all of this works, too!
4. Nothing is permanent.
There is no reason to stay in a place where you are unhappy. The option to transfer is always there for you because you deserve to decide exactly how you want these four years to go. They belong to you and only you. Make the best of them at wherever you believe you would thrive.
Advice: College is a time for you, most of all. It’s for personal growth, discovery, and change. Although this change may be scary, these four years will be transformative in your life, leading to memories that will last a lifetime. Make the most of it!
For more college advice about how to make the most of your four years, check out some of our articles about college, life, and shop for your dorm or off-campus housing on our product pages! You got this!
About the Author:
Bryn Goldstein is a rising sophomore at the University of Southern California studying Creative Writing and Narrative Studies. She hails from Roslyn, New York — the land of bagels and iced coffee. You can most likely find her reading, writing, singing, or practicing yoga. She hopes to work at a publishing house in the future, maybe become an author, maybe a screenwriter. Whatever comes first.