Hey there, it’s Lauren!
Before I came to college, I seemed to hear the same advice from everyone.
“College is the best time of your life.”
“You’ll love college.”
“College is a time to start over, to make new friends, to be whoever you want to be.”
Oh, and of course I heard plenty of horror stories about the freshman 15. But there are a few other things I wish I would have been warned about.
1. Not every day is a party.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of opportunities to have fun, but life can get pretty stressful at times, too. There are days when I can’t breathe for well over 12 hours because my whole day is planned for me with class, meetings, work, and other obligations. Other days, I feel like all of my friends are busy and I have no one to hang out with. Strive to find a healthy balance between your academic and social life.
2. Throw Yourself out there
You’re a freshman. So is everyone else in your class. Yes, there will be some freshman who seem to know many more people than you do, but for the most part, it is safe to assume that you’re in the same boat as everyone else, and you know no one. So, if you feel like some people are making many more friends than you are, then throw yourself out there! Don’t be afraid to boldly meet and start hanging out with strangers.
3. Don’t go home every weekend.
Ooh, I was so guilty of this. I went home almost every weekend during freshman year to see my friends and family. There’s nothing wrong with visiting them, but going home each weekend prevented me from building deep relationships at college. I missed out on spontaneous events with friends, unplanned events, and free time to explore.
4. Plan time to study.
Professors do not remind you to study or do homework like your sweet high school teachers did. Most professors provide a syllabus at the beginning of the semester with the dates of tests, projects, and homework assignments. They expect you to keep track of those dates and study accordingly. Don’t wait until the night before a test to study and expect to do well. Plan time to study each day. Otherwise, it probably won’t happen, and those important dates will sneak up on you.
5. It’s time to own your faith
Up to this point in your life, chances are you have held similar beliefs to your parents. You’ve been drug to the same church 3 times a week since 9 months before you were born. Or, maybe you willingly invested into a church that you love. Either way, you have been surrounded by adults who have constantly poured their energy, advice, and beliefs into you. That’s great, but you’ll be challenged by many people in college who have very different beliefs than you, even if they claim to be of the same denomination as you, and you need to know how to share what you believe and why. Own your faith. Make it yours. Search the Scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you so you can share your beliefs as your own instead of sharing them as simply the beliefs of your church, preacher, or parents.