Field Guide To Freshman Year
Freshman year can be terrifying. But it can also be exciting, new, fun and could be the beginning of the best four years of your life.
As I round out my freshman year, I thought it would be helpful to share a little about what I’ve learned. Hopefully, this guide will make your transition to college life a bit easier.
A lot of people arrive at college having never shared a bedroom, so some freshmen could use a reminder of basic roommate courtesy.
First, try to keep the dorm room, or at least your side of it, clean.
Second, communicate! I’ve found a lot of the conflicts between roommates could easily be avoided if there were simply a bit of communication between the two.
Get a rough idea of your roommate’s schedule. If you know when your roommate plans to get ready in the morning, for example, that will help you both to be able to better share the bathroom, if necessary. If you like it a bit cooler at night, talk to your roommate about it rather than just turning the A/C down.
I’ll end this roommate discussion with this Golden Rule: Do unto others what you’d want to be done to you.
Everyone’s financial situation differs, but no one wants to waste money, no matter their level of financial comfort.
Here at Angelo State University, the options for on-campus dining are the Caf, the University Center and Roscoe’s Den. You’ll come across plenty of people who will get tired of these places and will complain, and you might be one of them.
While there are lots of good off-campus options around San Angelo, something to keep in mind is that you pay for on-campus dining, whether you eat it or not. You pay for it with your housing and tuition if you have a meal plan, so if you choose not to use your meal plan or your Ram Points, that’s basically food you’ve already paid for that you didn’t eat.
It sounds pretty silly when phrased like that, right? Also, there are no rollover Ram Points, so if you don’t use them all by the end of the semester, that’s just money down the drain.
The best piece of advice I can give for this one is GO TO CLASS.
You’ll have days when you wake up for that 8 a.m. Monday class on a chilly morning and you’ll be tempted to just roll over and skip class.
Trust me, you say you won’t, but that day will come. I highly recommend avoiding the urge to skip class. What you’ll find is when you’re in class, even when you really don’t want to be there, you still retain some information. Not to mention, most professors at Angelo State take attendance. That is probably the opposite of what you’ve been told and what you were expecting, but now you know.
There are rules for absences. For example, if it is a Monday-Wednesday-Friday class, your professor will likely give you a set number of absences before taking your overall grade down, often five points for each additional absence.
There will be days you are sick or otherwise actually have to miss class for an important reason, because life happens. So save your absences for those days when you will need them. Going to class is half the battle of being a successful college student.
Also, get in the habit of checking your ASU student email. Tons of useful information arrives through your school email, including class cancellations, Blackboard notifications, weather updates, events that are happening around campus, and much more.
One other very important tip: Try your best to develop personal relationships with your professors. The truth of the matter is that you will be a lot more likely to do well in a class if a professor likes you or at least knows you care.
ASU has tons of organizations and student groups that are a great way to make friends and get involved.
I joined a fraternity here, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. That being said, I know Greek Life is not for everybody. There is, however, an organization, a club or an activity for everybody to further get involved.
So get out there, don’t be afraid to talk to people and to try new things. There will be plenty of time after college for going through the motions, caught in a boring routine when we enter adulthood. Now is the time to be outgoing! Be a “Yes Man” like Jim Carrey and try something you maybe normally wouldn’t — who knows where it will take you.
Many students have to work while going to school and, if you are one of them, one thing I recommend is to try to get a job on campus.
A big benefit of working on campus is the convenience, since it is located where you go to school and probably close to where you live. Also, school employers cannot ask you to work more than 20 hours a week, so you have time for school, homework and fun. On-campus jobs also will keep academics as your first priority, as it should be during this time.
There is, however, nothing wrong with getting a job off campus. I know plenty of people who do and manage it along with everything else just fine.
This one could greatly differ depending on the person or specific situation. Some people come to college with a significant other, some hope to meet that person here, and some people just don’t care. But I’m here to say, yes, dating is great and everyone should do it.
But don’t let it consume your life and all your time. Remember the reason you’re here: to get an education and better YOURSELF. It’s great to have someone with you along the way, but if you don’t, it’s OK! We all need to learn how to be on our own, just as much as we need to learn how to function in a healthy relationship.
No matter what I tell you, you’ll learn the most from your own experiences of freshman year and college in general.
Just remember to try new things. It’s OK to make mistakes, just learn from them when they happen. These next four years can potentially mold you into the person you’ll become for the rest of your life. But no pressure. Good luck, and Go Rams!