College is literally right around the corner now, can you smell it?! :::sniffs air for burnt popcorn and ramen noodles:::
I move into my dorm in 11 days and I am super pumped and super anxious at the same time! I know many of you, especially the freshman out there, are probably feeling scared, excited, nervous, upset, and worried about college coming up so fast! Some of you are ready and some of you aren’t and that’s okay!
Because of that, I have created the greatest Marissa’s Declassified Freshman Survival Guide ( I know yall remember Ned’s version for school ) ever to help yall get ready for college here soon. This is a ginormous list of everything I learned in college, things I wish I learned, what I wish I knew before college, and tips & tricks for college!
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So if you are wondering what to expect out of college, here ya go:
1. Buy as many underwear and socks as you can so you don’t have to do laundry as much. You will dread doing laundry because you have to pay to do it. So try and bring a lot of your undergarments so you don’t have to do laundry so often because you can always re-wear your jeans, sweatpants, and sweaters. But I hope you don’t re-wear underwear. :::cringes:::
2. Solve any problems you have with someone directly. We are all adults now, most of us over 18, and we are all living on our own so we should all be able to handle a situation with poise and maturity. Do not run and tattle to your RA before talking directly with that person. (of course go to your RA right away if you are in danger or someone is doing something life threatening or you are worried about someones well being).
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3. Clean your microwave and fridge once a week or at least once a month. This one sounds weird I know but you want to stay on top of that because it is usually forgotten about and then at the end of the year when you have to clean it out you have to take a blowtorch and a hammer to the 5 inches of grime that has built up inside you will have wished you cleaned it regularly.
4. Don’t be worried about being undecided about your major. You have plenty of time to figure it out. Even if you have your major figured out already, it will change. I don’t know one person who stuck with their first major, including me. I started as a criminology and sociology major, switched to a psychology major, and I am already debating switching again. So trust me, it is okay to not know what you want to do yet.
5. Always back up your files somewhere in the cloud or a google drive because your computer will probably crash at some point and you don’t want to lose all of your papers, homework assignments, or notes before finals or before that paper is due.
6. Get involved on campus with student orgs, clubs, sports, frats and sororities, anything! They help with resume building, networking, and making friends.
7. WEAR SHOWER SHOES. This one is not optional. Sorry.
8. Budget your money in college!! You don’t want to be that typical broke college student. College literally sucks your wallet dry at any chance it gets! So be smart with your money and start a Cash Envelope System to stay budgeted in college!
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9. Plan your workout schedule NOW! Have it written down somewhere BEFORE you get to college and stick to it! The freshman 15 is real, so try and avoid it. It will sneak up on you. I promise!
10. You will lose touch with friends with high school, and it is okay. You will make plenty of new friends in college anyways!
11. Try and be open minded and listen to other people’s views on current events or hot topics so you can learn something new about the world or a different point of view!
12. GO TO CLASS! You’re only wasting your own money if you don’t go. You will also never pass your classes if you don’t go. It is impossible. Unless of course it is an online class. Then you can stay in bed.
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13. Have some food in your dorm for times when the mess halls or closed or at 2 o’clock in the morning when you’re craving some sour gummy worms. If you are not sure of what kinds of foods to bring with you check out my Essential College Dorm Foods + Tips! post where I share with you my favorite foods that I kept in my dorm as well as some tips for eating and grocery shopping in college.
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14. Think about this-no one knows you in college. So you can totally recreate yourself. You don’t have to be what everyone thinks about you because no one knows you. Your high-school reputation is gone! So start fresh and start off good!
15. Take a billion pictures of everything. And I mean everything. Take pictures of your dorm, selfies, outfits, campus, the squirrels, statues, people sleeping in the library, your roommate doing something funny, drunk people at parties, you avoiding homework. Just take pictures so you have something to look back on and laugh about!
16. Buy a mattress pad! They will save your life because the campus mattresses are as hard as a rock and you will not be able to sleep comfortably. Most people get homesick because they miss their bed at home, but I was fine because I had a mattress topper and a pad and I slept wonderfully.
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17. Try and FaceTime or call your parents (or cat) once a week because they miss you so much and it will hurt them if you don’t check in with them and tell them about your day or what you are up to. They also worry about you and want to make sure you are okay. So don’t forget about family while you’re in college having fun!
18. Get a Netlfix subscription. Seriously. Pay the $8 or whatever a month because you will spend most of your time watching Netflix in college. I promise you. Binge watching Grey’s Anatomy for an entire weekend is reality in college.
19. Go to your professors office hours! They are not intimidating, they are not mean, they really want to help you! Also, if you go and see them frequently and yall get to know each other they are a great networking resource and they can hook you up with internships, jobs, other classes you would enjoy, and a recommendation letter!
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20. You have to be self motivated and disciplined in college because no one is going to come knocking at your door reminding you that you have a paper due tomorrow or an exam you should be studying for. You are responsible for your own time.
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21. Don’t worry, boys are still dumb. Nothing changed.
22. You will most likely get sick a lot in college if you aren’t careful. A lot of my friends were sick all the time because they weren’t taking care of themselves properly. I didn’t get sick at all :::knocks on wood::: because I got my 8 hours of sleep every day, I drank lots of water, I ate good, I carried hand sanitizer, and I washed my hands after touching things or going to the bathroom. If you take precautionary measures you will be fine.
23. Do not pack everything you own. It will not all fit in your tiny dorm room. I don’t know how many times I can say that.
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24. I urge you to wait until the first break to go home because you don’t want to go home too early or you will be missing out on the college experience and whatnot. Have fun, call frequently, but wait.
25. You will get stressed out a lot, it is okay. Take a deep breath and relax. Take study breaks and weekend breaks where you just sit in your room watching Netflix and eating ice cream with your roomie sometimes.
26. Stay organized! I don’t care if you didn’t use a planner in high-school. You absolutely NEED one in college. I use my own line of planners that I created called: Paper Trail Planners for my school planner because they are super cute, customizable, and affordable!!!!!! Check them out!
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27. I know in the movies college looks like so much fun and there’s so much to do, which there is don’t get me wrong, but you won’t be partying and having a great time all the time. Sometimes you will be sitting in your room by yourself doing nothing. Sometimes you will be upset wishing you had better friends to hang out with or someone to chill with. And that’s okay. Take that alone time and treasure it!
28. I know lunch in high-school was very stressful because you had to worry about who you were going to sit with and you didn’t’ want to look dumb by yourself or any of that but in college, eating by yourself is very normal and I usually eat by myself all day everyday. I just bring my headphones and watch Netflix while I eat or listen to music. No one is going to judge you.
29. Grades do reflect your work ethic 100%. You have to study and put the work in to receive even remotely good grades. There is very little homework and a lot more tests and quizes so you have to study to ace those quizes instead of relying on all the homework grades to boost your grade like in high-school. There is also NO extra credit in college. If your professor does offer it, be grateful and take advantage of it!
30. Get some good walking shoes! You will be walking everywhere!!! Do not bring 20 pairs of shoes, you will more than likely only wear 3-4. Do not bring a ton of heels, you will not want to walk around campus in those, your feet will hurt, and people will look at you funny.
31. Get a job! Even a little one! Many campus jobs only have you work like 10 hours a week (which is totally manageable) and you get to earn some extra cash for the weekends as well as make friends, network, and learn time management-which is a vital thing in college.
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32. Your views on things, people, the world, and yourself will change. Change is good!
33. Make an appointment with your academic advisor at least once a semester to make sure you are on the right track with scheduling and the classes you are taking so you don’t end up in their office last semester of senior year expecting to graduate and them telling you that you can’t because you forgot 3 credit hours or you forgot a mandatory class for your major.
34. Sit in the front of class!! It will help you to stay awake and pay attention. This is also a great way to be recognized by your professor, which like I said before is a great networking tool!
35. You want to either buy your books or rent a book and then scan the pages and print them out so you can write on the text! This helps so much in reading comprehension and note taking. You will learn so much more with this strategy instead of just skimming pages and expecting to remember everything you just read.
36. Make daily, weekly, monthly, hourly, you name it To-Do Lists! They will save your life. Make lists about things you need to do, homework that is due, meetings you have, projects you are working on, everything! Break down a huge project into tiny little projects by making a to-do list and breaking it down from 1 giant thing to 10 little things that you can span across 10 days to get done instead of pulling an all nighter for 1 giant overwhelming project.
37. You will most likely get homesick around the 3-4th month. The first couple months you will be fine because everything is new and you’re still having fun and meeting new people. But once winter rolls around and all the hustle and bustle slows down, you will start to feel it.
38. Find your perfect place to study that is quiet, well lit, and will keep you focused right away! Don’t wait until second semester when you need to bring your GPA up to figure out what works for you! Get your note-taking, lecture listening, and studying skills down fast so your grades don’t suffer!
39. Participate in class by answering and asking questions! This is the best way to learn the material. Not writing down word for word what the professor is saying or staying up every night until 3am reading the book and going over notes. Yes you should still read the book and take notes, but don’t focus on just that to learn the material because it won’t work as effectively on really absorbing and retaining the information.
Whew. That was a lot. I hope this gigantic Freshman Survival Guide helped you out in someway!!! I hope now you are a little less nervous about college and a little more ready and prepared for it! Good luck!