We were all freshmen once, or maybe you are one yourself. Even in the coolest colleges in America, it’s a hard time in your life—you are thrust into an entirely new social scene, you are likely far away from home, and for the first time in your life…you are alone. No parents hovering over you, no older brother or sister to take you to school or pick you up in the afternoon, and no more bagged lunch from your parents waiting for you before your first-period class. This sample paper written by an Ultius professional writer explores the best advice for college freshmen.
Freshmen college tip #1: Break out of your shell
Look, whatever you do, DO NOT be that kid that avoids all social interaction. I’m not saying you have to be a Don Juan stud or the most popular girl around, but interact with people, and do it often. If you came from a high school background where you typically kept to yourself, take this as a time to break out of your shell and really try to get to know some people. Some people get through college by doing the whole lone wolf thing, and that may work for a handful of people.
You’ll have a far better time if you learn to interact and socialize with your peers. Remember, they are going to university just like you- you are going to have similarities with them that you may have lacked in high school. After all, people make great support structures. Just try to be friendly and interact with people. It’ll help. A lot.
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Freshmen college tip #2: Don’t be afraid to ask for help
You have friends, resident advisors, college advisors, department advisors, and that nice lady that cleans your apartment for a reason. People are there for you to talk too, and asking for advice and help is a great start to using this excellent support system. Whether it’s where a building is (trust me, that’s never a silly question), which food at the dining hall is good, tips for writing an essay, or whether X professor is better than Y, it never hurts to ask. Just keep asking questions! Asking for help is definitely worthy of being a top five college freshmen tip.
Freshmen college tip #3: You will have (a lot of) free time
Drill this into your head. It’s one our college freshmen tip list for a reason. You. Will. Have. Free. Time. Too much of it. I guarantee you that. Say you take three classes your first semester. You’re going to be in class…oh, 2 hours a day? That’s nothing. You just got out of high school, where you were in class from 7 AM till 3 PM, then did extracurricular activities after classes until 5 PM. Compared to high school, you will have more free time than you know what to do with.
Learn to manage your time wisely. Learn how to boost your memory. Go to the gym. Exercise. Join clubs. Find a student organization that you enjoy or feel has similar interests to you. Be outgoing, and use your free time to better yourself.
The best way to spend an hour or two is on yourself, whether that’s reading, learning, or experiencing new things. Your time in college is more than just classes, it’s spending time to learn how to interact with people, how to dress, how to exercise, how to care for yourself, and how to become a functional adult in a world that typically throws young adults into the streets without any practical knowledge.
Freshmen college tip #4: Learn about money
Do you know how a credit card works? Do you really? Do you know what an IRA is? A ROTH IRA? Which one is better if you are making X money now, with the expectation of making Y in the future? What the hell is a 401k? A budget?
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Learn what these things are. Get a book on personal finance and retirement planning. Learning how to plan for the future, control spending, and embracing the importance of compounding interest, percentage rates, and a host of other hugely important concepts are critical at this age. You will need money for the rest of your life, so learning how to use it, control, and make it work for you right now is absolutely fundamental.
Freshmen college tip #5: Watch out for student loans
I cannot stress this enough. Student loans seem nice. The nice government or private bank gives you a piece of paper, you sign it, and thousands of dollars are yours. Do you know that you have to pay those loans back? You have to pay them back. It’s NOT free money. It’s expensive money. A Federal student loan at 6.8% interest is not cheap.
You will pay that money back, usually starting within six months of graduation, and you will owe interest. Don’t be an idiot. You don’t need that new $500 phone, you don’t need to buy $1,000 worth of new clothes, and you don’t need to buy a 42-inch television for your room or a new fancy gaming computer.
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Unless you are already financially independent or have wealthy and generous parents, you need to remember that you are living on money that you will need to pay back. And that time will come sooner than you can possibly imagine. So don’t be an idiot and only borrow what you need, save as much as you can, and pay it back as soon as possible.
That wraps up our list of top five college freshmen tips! Want more college tips? Check out our list of the top 10 college cities to live in!