Monday, September 9, 2013

What I Would Tell My College Freshman Self

I have to admit, even through all my usual apathy and blase attitude towards today's youthful institutions, I was excited to be a college freshman. Even though I was technically in my twenties and already at a social disadvantage - I knew (JUST KNEW!) I was going to find some like-minded friends on campus. Somewhere. At some point. Maybe.

Truth is, I had some really unrealistic expectations. And not just about myself as a student, but about everything relating to the college experience. If I could have a conversation with myself from two years ago, this is what I'd tell her:

1.) Freshman Orientation is a complete waste of time. If you're an adventurer like myself, then you've already scoured campus looking for all it's interesting nooks and crannies. You don't need to stumble between buildings with your awestruck floor-mates while they marvel over the stupidest shit OR don't even look up from their phone.

2.) There are SO many blog articles and college websites that tell you to come up with a color scheme and coordinate with your roommate on dorm decor. But the fact of the matter is - you might have absolutely zero in common with your roommate - interior decorating ideas no withstanding. So, go crazy with your half of the room. Add rugs, wall decals, your own cozy bed set, pictures, etc. Even if you prefer a silver and black color scheme with skulls as the focal point and her roommate likes pastel pink chevron prints. At least the room will be interesting!

3.) It is really hard to make friends on most college campuses. Don't let any of these peppy blog writers tell you differently. You have to actively seek them out - those like-minded folks you're craving haven't crawled out of the woodwork yet. So join some clubs. Maybe you like writing poem or short stories - join a Creative Writing Club. Are you interested in studying abroad one day - join a cultural club. There are usually even religious organizations if that's more your thing.

4.) However, DON'T force it. If you don't find a club or organization that you mesh with - don't stay in it. There's no rule that says you have to partake in college extracurriculars if you don't want to. You may have better luck socializing in the library.

5.) The first year of college can be an overwhelming experience. In order to survive it - remember why you're there and the goals you've set for yourself. If you have a clear focus on what you want out of the experience, you'll have a much better time.

And remember, it's your first year so take it easy, enjoy what's happening around you, and try to relax as much as possible. 


  1. Yup, orientation was a waste of time... because of the people who were running it in my year. When I reached fourth year, I became an orientater (?) myself and did a kick-ass job :P

    Another tip I would add is try and talk to people. Chances are are they're just as freaked out as you and looking for someone to chat to (doesn't always work, the first person I tried to talk to was very abrupt and stand-offish) but in my first class I sat next to someone and after talking to him, we've been friends ever since (it's been 5 years).

    1. Most of the people I tried to talk to freshman year were kind of....uninterested. I've only made like two friends the whole time I've been here, but meh.