My Advice for College Freshmen


With lots of you heading back to school soon (or have so already!), I thought that I would make a quick post on some things that you can do to, hopefully, make your upcoming school year relatively smooth and less stressful. I did a similar (and very informative) post on this last year, so you can check it out here: How to Survive College! (The Finicky Cynic Edition)).

I’m especially referring to those who are starting their first year in college, but this can also apply to those going into high school, heck, even middle school! As an individual who’s been out of the school system not too long ago (14 months and counting!), I would like to help you out a little bit. Think of me as your cool, hip mentor who has got her life together (eh…), and has the life experiences to tell you otherwise (working on them, but they’re happening)!

Any case, let’s get to them! πŸ™‚

1. Don’t be afraid. Especially if you’re an incredibly shy, introverted person like me, it can be very difficult to open up and talk to people. I’ve come to realize that, during my college years, a notable amount of time was spent in fear: of socializing, going out with people, speaking up in class, etc. While I got by pretty well in the end, I might have also short-ended myself from possible opportunities and whatnot, which probably was my biggest regret in college.

With that said, don’t let your fear of non-existent consequences take over you: it’s okay to blurt something out in class or stammer your way through a Friday night social mixer. You’ll be surprised that people are more forgiving than you’d thought, as I’m sure that they’re feeling the same way. Have courage, my little ducklings! πŸ˜‰

2. Do attend social events. Doesn’t necessarily have to be a stereotypical, “college frat” party, but making an effort to join clubs, attend discussion panels, and other events is a great way to not only discover different things happening on campus, but also to meet people and, as discussed in #1 above^, combat your fear of socializing. You don’t need to pressure yourself to attend all of the events offered at your school (that’s impossible, actually), but find those which you’re interested in, and go as much as you can. Who knows? Maybe you’ll make friends there!

3. Make friends…and keep them. Frankly, I’ve found that, while I did meet a lot of great (and not-so-great) people during my college years, not all of them ended up being what I would consider my “best friends for life.” In fact, if you were to randomly take 100 of them, less than 10 of them would actually be considered my “closest friends,” or at least those with whom I still keep in contact today.

Especially if you went to a university as large as mine (over 43,000 people and growing!), it’s extremely difficult to get to know everyone on a deep, intimate level, particularly if you all have different majors, schedules, and lives. Really, many of the people whom we meet end up just as acquaintances, nothing more. But if you do meet that special someone (not necessarily BF/GF material, but just a really nice person), why not try to keep them in your life? Perhaps they also like you, too, and so it’s important to try to make time for each other to hang out, get dinner, and whatnot. Keeping it fairly regular helps strengthen the friendship, and pretty soon, you’ll still be in touch even after graduation!

4. Don’t do things that make you unhappy. This is a no-brainer, but you might be surprised to know that many people do this while in school. Perhaps you’re stuck in a major that you have absolutely zero interest in, or are in an unpleasant (even toxic) relationship with someone (or a friend). While it might be very difficult to make the change and break off from that vicious cycle, know that in the end, it’s best for you.

I admit, I did things that made me unhappy. My biggest source of unhappiness came from majoring in the sciences during my first two years of college; I was constantly lost during lectures, studied like crazy and scored just enough to get by on exams, and overall didn’t have much interest in the subjects. Those years weren’t the best ones for me, and I am super glad that I made the big, courageous leap halfway through my college career to major in English. True, I was starting completely from scratch, but I ended up happier (and healthier!)…and still managed to graduate in four years- also with two minors under my belt!

With that said, if you feel like something you’re doing isn’t making you happy (and instead sad, depressed, angry, stressed), and has been doing so for a considerable amount of time, then tell yourself that it’s okay to change…and you’re not alone!

5. You don’t need to figure out life just yet. If people have been telling you since high school that you should figure out life soon, then that’s ridiculous. As teenagers and young adults, we’re still developing physically and mentally, and you can be sure that our tastes will change a lot during this short period of time. Heck, I used to think in high school that I would major in chemistry and become a pharmacist/physical therapist afterwards, but here I am, over one year after graduation, with an English degree and prospects of becoming an educator and part-time freelance writer…amazing how five years can make a difference, huh?

So, if your parents and peers around you are pressuring you to figure out life right now, don’t listen to them. Be concerned about your future, but know that you have time to figure it out. You might discover your calling while in college, or even years after; there’s no deadline to know when exactly. Really, college is a time to enjoy yourself, open yourself to new ideas and things you’d never thought about before. Yes, there’s education and responsibility involved, but knowing how to balance and take care of yourself will make everything run just a bit smoother, even with some road bumps from time to time.

…that’s it for now! If you have any questions or comments for me about your school experience, I’d be happy to read them. Leave them down in the Comments, and I’ll get to them soon. Have a good school year! πŸ™‚

— The Finicky Cynic

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14 thoughts on “My Advice for College Freshmen

  1. This is just what I needed, honestly. A month in my freshman year, I’ve still not got the feeling that I really, truly belong here and that’s why, for the past week, I’ve been trying to go out and make friends (shy, introverted, socially anxious like you) and its been really great so far. Hopefully, I’ll be better, hopefully I’ll have found my people, my place in this uni.
    Thanks and love,

    1. rebbit7

      Thank you for your comment. True, first year of college is one of the roughest ones, but it’ll work out in the end- guaranteed! Wishing you well. πŸ™‚

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