Hello friends! As school is approaching ever so quickly and summer is slowly slipping through our fingers, I think this post will be kind of helpful for some of you. For the rest of you, if you have any advice for rising freshman leave them below, lets help everyone!
Over the last few months, a few rising college freshman have reached out to me over social media asking some very good questions about how they should prepare for their impending move to college. The questions ranged from how to choose a roommate, what hangers to get, to how to choose classes. All very good and important questions. From dorms, to classes, to leaving the comfort of family – freshman year is a HUGE transition for even the strongest of souls. So, to make it just a little bit easier for you guys, I have put together my 10 Things Every College Freshman Should Know. I am a Computer Science student at Georgia Tech, so these suggestions are a bit related to that and my own experience. So keep that in mind as you read this. Please let me know if you guys have any more questions, leave them below in the comments, tweet me, whatever 🙂
10 Things Every College Freshman Should Know
Moving into a dorm from your home is an interesting change. You are surrounded my your friends and peers 24/7, you share a bathroom, you share a room, you sometimes even share a kitchen. When you spend so much time with those around you it is important to remember a few things.
First, the people on your floor may become your closest friends so give them a chance. Everyone is adjusting and will be on edge the first few weeks, so don’t be too judgmental too soon. Be kind to everyone and be friendly, try and keep your door open and start conversations. These friendships form naturally so let them come to you, just be welcoming of new people and ideas. In my case, my floor was not too social, so my door closed over time. That being said, some of my closest friends still lived right down the hall.
Second, roommates are underrated. My roommate became one of my best friends. We were surprisingly similar and became rocks for each other. On bad days we would talk and laugh. The relationship we shared carried us through our transition. I know lots of people are not as lucky as we were and some even changed rooms over the school year, but if you have the option try to meet someone (on Facebook, through friends etc) who seems like a good fit for you. You spend so much time together, you might as well set yourself up for success. If it still doesn’t work out, thats ok! In my opinion, choosing a roommate randomly is a huge risk. It may work out for some, but I do not recommend it.
Third, when it comes to decorating your dorm a little goes a long way. Depending on the weather at your school make an educated call on what bedding you are going to get. I went with a warm comforter and plenty of thinner lighter blankets. In Atlanta, during the summer/fall it can be humid so during those months I used the thinner blankets. During the winter/early spring I used my comforter. I brought lots of pictures from home and hung them up on my wall. They made the space feel more homey and were a conversation starter. I used felt hangers, brought adjustable lighting, and small storage for extra clothes etc. We also purchased a bright yellow rug, which really made the space feel larger and immediately brightened up the day.
Fourth, the dining halls at my school sucked so much. Sure, in the beginning the food is ok and tolerable. But, just give it a few weeks of the same thing and it will take its toll. Now, I learned this the hard way, but if you are lucky enough to have a kitchen of some kind in your dorm USE IT. Just having some rice, pasta, soup, etc on hand makes so much difference. Not only does it make school feel more homely, but having good food at hand makes me feel so much better just in general. Even if you don’t cook, just have some basic recipes on hand and make a trip to your local grocery store at least once a month to stock up.
Fifth, before school starts do some research on what classes are required for your major. Make a small basic plan. During orientation, there will be a talk to explain how registration works, but usually its better to have a general idea before going in. A lot of information will be thrown at you and its best to not be overwhelmed. I suggest reaching out to an upperclassman at your school and asking them questions and maybe even meeting them in person. We can give you a few suggestions and talk you through what we do. We are pretty helpful and its good to have some friendly faces when school starts.
Sixth, your TAs are godsend. That being said, most upperclassmen are godsend as well. Basically, at larger schools like Georgia Tech, most of the time your key to success is your TA. Make friends with them as soon as you can, and GO TO OFFICE HOURS. If possible, try and build a relationship with your professor as well. But, TAs are a good first step. Especially if you are CS, your TAs will help you so much. Do not be afraid (I was pretty afraid), they may seem intimidating but the gains are enormous.
Seven, go to career fair. Be on top of things as much as you can. Make a resume and have it checked by a few trusted peers or people at career counseling. Go to the company events held on campus. Do not be afraid, as freshman you will only impress them by being there. You are in the great position where there is very little expected of you and so much room to make an impression. Get the emails of company reps, and email them. Start creating your network now, you will not regret it.
Eight, apply for internships. You will get a lot of people saying they don’t accept freshman. DO NOT BELIEVE THEM. Apply anyway, you will get some rejections, but some may reach out. Microsoft, Google, Facebook and many others open their internship program applications super early so look into them in early august! I will make a post on them soon. I also made a video about how I got my internship at Apple. Give it a watch if you would like 🙂
Nine, midterms are so different from high school exams. In college most of the time 2-4 tests make up your whole grade. Do not let that scare you. This can be a blessing in disguise. Prepare for them like your life depends on it. Try not to put off the studying and if you do well on them you are set and golden. But, there is very little buffer if you do badly, so try to study in advance. I know its hard, try. I struggle with it too.
Finally Ten, be social. I kinda feel like this is a given as most people become super social when they go to college. I on the other hand, kinda went in my shell. School was so big and I found it hard to find familiar faces. Try to say hi to people and get their phone numbers so you can meet later. Join clubs and decide which ones you want to be a part of. Then really be a part of them. Go to their events and fundraise etc. When it comes to parties, be safe. Make decisions for yourself, not because others say its a good idea. All I can say, is think of your future self and consider “would my future self thank me?”
I hope these were helpful, I have so much more to say! But as always, feel free to reach out. Good luck with your college adventures and have fun 🙂 If you know anyone else who would benefit from these suggestions, share this with them.