5 Things I Wish I Knew as a Freshman
“If I knew back then what I know today, things would be different.”
—Everyone at some point in their life
This quote doesn’t necessarily exemplify regret but conveys that we’ve learned a lesson through experience.
In college, we endure many new experiences. Some would be better off pushed under the rug and forgotten. Others, well, they create a new piece within our personality – good or bad.
In a perfect world, it’d be nice to only experience the good and always avoid the bad. Luckily, sometimes knowledge can be passed on and you don’t have to learn the hard way. With that in mind, here are some things I would have liked to know when I was a freshman.
1. This Isn’t High School.
Reality will be knocking on your front door soon enough. In high school you were sort of passed along and forced to receive all the help you needed. Your parents were there to fight your battles, and you knew if you messed up, it would eventually get corrected. What a wonderful time high school was.
In college, no one cares about what you do, and you’re on your own. OK, the reality isn’t exactly that harsh. Professors love seeing students succeed, and there are endless resources to help you through your college career.
The difference now is no one is going to tell you to get help with classes, wake you up on time, make sure you’re eating healthy (or at all) or force you to be responsible. Your parents will try, but they can only do so much.
It’s also imperative that you know this: the fewer classes you miss, the easier the class itself will be. For those on the other side of the spectrum, who never miss a beat, your life isn’t over if you fail a test. Take a step back, evaluate and get back in. It’s your time to take the reins.
2. Do What You Want.
At this point in time, you have more freedom than you’ve ever had in your life. Like acorns? Become an acorn collector. Well, that might just be you pretending to be a squirrel, but you get the idea.
Pick up a hobby you’re interested in. Taking a class that sounds interesting is a good way to explore yourself and find new interests as well. If you find yourself wanting to change your major, do it. Explore the world around you.
3. Don’t Feel Pressured.
You’re parents aren’t the only people who have or will try to pressure you to do something you don’t want to. Your “friends” will pressure you, too. Sometimes it may not be directly and sometimes it will.
You may feel you have to dress a certain way to fit in, listen to a certain genre of music, or you might be ridiculed for not going out on the weekends. If you don’t want to do it, don’t.
Although it is as simple as that, it doesn’t feel that way all the time. Just remember, you are your own person and you set the rules.
4. Some Relationships Last, Others Don’t.
You’ll meet tons of people in college. The sad truth is, by the end of college, you probably won’t be friends with or even talk to about 90 percent of them. Things happen and people change, and there is nothing wrong with that. Just be aware that this happens.
On a lighter note, you’ll probably make a few friends that will be your friends for the rest of your life. Build a strong relationship with people who are worth it. You’ll find out how to separate who’s who fairly quickly.
5. Prepare Early.
It’s OK to enjoy your freshman year and “relax” a little, but you have to remember why you’re here — to earn a degree. Four years from now, you won’t be the same person you are today.
A mentor can help you mold yourself into the person you want to be in those four years. It would have been nice to have a mentor my first year and all through college, rather than just the last. That mentor probably would have told me to start looking at potential careers in my field earlier on or might have told me to have a résumé geared toward each and every job I applied for instead of a general, blanket one.
There are so many things I wish I would’ve known about. There are even more I wish I could explain in detail, but some things you’ll just have to learn on your own.