Congrats on being accepted to college! I’m sure by now you are having mixed feelings about leaving high school. If you’re anything like me, you’re ready to go but not quite sure what college will be like or how you’ll handle being on your own with all new friends. This stress is normal, accept it. However, as soon as you step on that campus, whichever one it may be, let it go. You literally have NO time to waste.
Make yourself at home.
When you get to your probably disgusting dorm room, make it your own. Hang up as many pictures of friends and family as you need to make yourself feel surrounded by their love (for me, this resulted in about 150 pictures taped directly onto that cold white wall). The first thing I did when I got set up was Skype my friends to show them my new home! I guess in 2014 this would be replaced by FaceTime or the ridiculous new Snapchat, but do it anyway! It was extremely important for me to feel like I wasn’t really leaving home behind, just bringing a little bit of it to somewhere new.
As soon as you are done making your dorm room feel less like a jail cell and more like your new little haven, open the door! People from other rooms will do the same and soon enough, you’ll have new friends all the way up and down the hall. It is important to be friends with these people because guess what, you’re stuck with them for nine months. I got lucky with this, I hope you do too! When you get to your first class, don’t be afraid to be that loser introducing yourself to the person next to you. Chances are, they’re just as lost as you are and it’s nice to have a friendly face other than that too-serious professor. Basically, everywhere you go, look up from your phone. Make friends. It’s not hard, and you’re gunna need them. Also – try not to make enemies because they’re the ones that you’re guaranteed to see around every corner all the way up until graduation. Be friendly to everyone, they’re all just as nervous as you are.
Learn to love the dining hall.
Hopefully you chose UMass Amherst and then this task will be simple. You may think you have money to order Domino’s every night or walk to Dunkin Donuts on Saturday mornings, but if you learn early on to just love the all-you-can-eat buffet RIGHT in front of you, your Senior self will thank you. BRING TUPPERWARE! No one wants to be that freshman that spends all their time in the dining hall, so take some food to go. You’ll feel like a badass doing it too; don’t get caught.
Do your homework!
I know, now I sound like your mother. What you don’t realize though, freshman, is that your GPA is WAY easier to bring down than it is to bring up. Get off to a good start or you’ll find yourself playing a constant game of catch-up for the next 4 years.
There is no picture too insignificant! Take pictures of campus, take pictures of your dorm room, take pictures of you and your roomie and ALL of your friends! You’ll laugh your ass off when you look back at them. It’s important to have these to bring back any memories that may otherwise be blurry for whatever reason…
Have the time of your life.
I know you’ve heard this a million times by now, but these next four years are going to be unlike any others you will ever have. Get your work done, but don’t forget to have fun. Attend sports games. Buy an absurd amount of clothing from the school store. Go out even though you’re tired. The school work will only get tougher from here, so enjoy the abundance of free time that you now have. I know you don’t understand how serious this statement is right now, but you will never get these years back. Please, have the time of your life.
Freshman year is the time to lay the foundation. Friends, grades, your bank account, etc.- start out strong. You’ll thank me in a few years when you realize that your four years is now down to four days.
Oh and one more thing, freshman: don’t blink.
A Graduating Senior