If you’re headed away to college for the first time, we know that you’re probably FaceTiming your future roommate every day, staring at the countdown app going on your phone until move in day. You’re color coordinating your bedding with your bath towels, and trying to figure out which route you should take from building to building. While all of that is fun and super important, there’s a ton that admissions counselors and orientation pamphlets won’t tell you. Here’s a list of what we wish we knew before we went to college:
There will still be “cliques” and “mean girls”
Not to start off on a negative note, but it’s really true and something you should be aware of. Not sure why, but we had this idea in our head that everyone was going to be super friendly and outgoing. Even if you go to school a million miles away from home, there will still be people that are “clique-y” and exclusive of others. They’ll be in your classes, they’ll live on your hall, and they might be a part of any organization you join. The best advice we could offer is just to be yourself. You’ll find your best friends that way, and create life long bonds. That’s also the best way to avoid any of that famous “girl drama” that you most likely experience in middle and high school. College is a time to be comfortable, and really figure out who you are, so surround yourself with people that lift you up! You’ll meet some of your absolute best friends there, we promise.
It’s okay to change your major
So, we’ve touched on this before in some of our other posts about school, but we can’t stress this enough. College is just a small taste of what they rest of your life will be like in terms of your career, so make sure that you chose something you love, or something broad enough where you have some versatility upon graduating. If you see something else that you think would suit you better, go to your advisor first to see how you could transition, then present the plan to your parents. Parents like plans and details!
It’s really okay to turn down guys
When immature boys go to college, they assume it’s some slutty free for all like they’ve seen in Girls Gone Wild. Sure, college is a time to let loose and have fun, but never forget your morals, your dignity, and who you are. If a guy is pressuring you to do something that you’re not comfortable with, say no. Don’t let the, “oh it’s college” mindset excuse any behavior that wrong.
Get to know your professors – it’s crucial!
You’ll most likely learn about networking in a few of your college courses, but the most important people to network with are your professors! Not only could this help you in terms of grades if you find yourself in an academic bind over the semester, but they can provide letters of recommendation, and really just serve as another advisor and mentor for you. If you feel like you’re getting a friendly vibe with your professors during class, stick around after everyone else leaves and just introduce yourself. Tell them your name, where you’re from, and what you’re looking forward to in their course. Maybe even share what your career goals are. Chances are, you’ll find something that you have in common just by sharing that small amount of information. Some of the professors that we’ve gotten know are now some of our greatest mentors and friends! Having a good relationship with your professor is just another step to make college more comfortable for you.
Okay – the freshman 15 is REAL, and it is scary. You’ll put on a few pounds of stress weight, and probably beer weight, but you can avoid the serious poundage of you avoid the overeating and junk food from the start. If you have a meal plan, find which cafeteria or restaurant has a salad bar, or other light and healthy foods. Try to head there in the middle of the day. In terms of snacks, try to stick to health bars and other small snacks. There isn’t much you can cook up in a dorm room, but brands have gotten very creative with healthy snacks for the go. Take advantage! In addition to eating healthy, make sure you hit the gym. We liked to go to the gym really early in the morning to avoid the large crowds. That way, we could take advantage of an empty studio and track. Your school will probably offer fun workout classes (like yoga or belly dancing!), so try to hit a few of those each week, too!
Maintain a strong relationship with your family back home
Call your mom. Call your dad. Call your brother or sister. Reach out to those long lost cousins that you haven’t talked to in years. This is a new time in your life, and an opportunity for new relationships for form, even with people you’ve known since day one. When I (J) left for college, my mom and I were in a terrible place. We’d fight daily, disagree about what I was going to do with the rest of my life, and really just couldn’t sit in the same room together. After a few days of not talking when I arrived at school, daily half hour phone calls became regular, we became best friends. By the time I got home for Fall break, our relationship was completely different.