10 Important Things Every College Freshman Needs To Hear Now

College is a big transition that can feel overwhelming, exciting, and a little intimidating. Incoming freshmen have so much to keep track of, especially if they’re living in a dorm room. You have to adjust to living in a new place, find friends among a group of strangers, deal with homesickness while pretending you aren’t homesick, and, oh yeah… get good grades. The beginning of the school year is the craziest time of all, and it can be tough to get your head straight and learn what to focus on and what to ignore. We’re here to help! There are a few important things every college student needs to hear now and remember for the next few years – and this is advice that you won’t get from every other teacher, cool older friend, or family member that you meet. It’s the stuff people often forget about and don’t mention, but it’s also the stuff that will probably affect you the most.

Here’s an example of an important piece of college advice you probably won’t hear very often: living in a dorm room is not for everyone. Almost every older person I know tries to insist that living at school is the only proper way to “do” college. I know this kind of attitude can be necessary – some people need that push – but it can also be a little too aggressive. I know a few people who tried to live at school and really did not like it. But, because they felt like they were doing something wrong if they moved back home, they pushed themselves to stay, even though they weren’t happy. It’s not worth it! You can have a fulfilling college experience even as a commuter.

There’s a lot more stuff you need to hear that will help you get good grades, impress your professors, and stay sane through all of the stress around you. This Ask Reddit thread covers pretty much everything, but we’ve got the highlights. Here are a few important things every college student has to know now:

Consider Money When Picking A Major

If you don't know exactly what you want to do with your life, then picking a major can be super stressful. A lot of people will tell you to pick something you love, and to forget about everything else. A lot of other people will tell you to think about money and stability and be logical instead of focusing on your dreams. The truth? You need to consider both to pick the right major for you. User redstone1337 explains: "Imagine a Venn diagram with three circles. One circle is 'Things I enjoy,' the next is 'things that I'm good at,' and the third is 'things that make money.' Your major should be at the center of that diagram."

Your major has to include at least a few aspects of things you enjoy, otherwise you'll be miserable. But you do also need to think about money, because it will become a serious concern if it isn't already!

Source: iStock

Introduce Yourself To Professors At The Beginning Of Classes

A lot of students, especially freshmen, will avoid looking "nerdy" about schoolwork and will try to look "cool" and detached instead. This is not the best way to go about things if you want to get good grades and be successful. User slurasaurus says, "I know it makes you look like a douche but if you introduce yourself to your professor on the first day, it inherently makes you more committed to doing well in the class because of the personal relationship you have established with your professor. Plus, your grades will get rounded up more often if you do this. Professors like to know that you care what they are all about even if you fake it a little."

This is great advice. Professors are almost always more likely to give a better grade if they see a student trying hard, and they also can be great resources. Establishing a friendly relationship right away is so important.

Treat College Like It's Your Job

Don't think of college as a joke, because it's not. Make things easier for yourself by setting up a schedule. User rhymes-with-purple says, "If you treat college like it's a 9-5 job during the week, you won't be so stressed trying to catch up on work on the weekends or when you want to be doing fun shit with your friends. Head to the library during classes and try to knock most of your studying/busy work then." By thinking this way, you'll give yourself more free time and you'll feel more structure.

Source: iStock

Making Connections Is Just As Important As Grades

You know that saying, "It's not what you know, it's who you know?" This is unfortunately very true. Networking is essential for any career, and it starts in college. A professor could, one day, help you land a job or internship that you really want. User TooSmalley says, "Contacts are just as important as education. A huge amount of my parents generation got their job leads and other opportunities through the people and teachers they met in college."

And by the way, it's not just professors you should network with - it's your fellow students too, especially the people in your major. You might run into them later in your career when you're applying for a job or just as a co-worker. It's much easier to find out about opportunities and to do better in your job when you know people.

Source: iStock

Talk To Professors Immediately When You Have A Problem

A lot of people think that college professors don't care about students and are super cold. That's not always true. There are definitely some hard professors out there who won't try to help, but there are a lot of professors who are willing to do what they can to help you through the class. User eftydrummer461 says, "Talk to your instructors as soon as possible if your having problems. 99% of the time they will work with you to help you get things done."

Don't wait until the last minute to ask for extra credit or an extension. Talk to them the moment you start having an issue instead of putting things off - it will be much more efficient.

Source: iStock

Pay Attention To Your Health

It's easy to ignore your personal health when you live at school - between the weird schedules, the snacking, and the drinking, it's hard to stay super healthy. But it's really important to at least try. User GulfAg says, "Take personal health seriously in college. I always heard plenty of advice about 'make sure you go to class,' 'treat school like a job,' 'take advantage of the fun times,' 'explore your interests,' 'best years of your life / live it up,' etc. What I never had anyone tell me was how important it is to find a way to work personal health into your routine. College can feel overwhelmingly busy and it's easy to just think "oh, I'll focus on that after college because I don't have time now". Life doesn't get less busy. Find time to hit the gym and find a way to eat relatively healthy amidst a hectic schedule. You'll either learn it now, struggle with it later, or deal with the detrimental effects of poor health for the rest of your life. Putting health on the back burner to focus on school, social life, and internships is the worst thing I ever did. It has taken me almost 5 years since graduating to turn it around."

This is so true! Plus, it's not that hard. Most colleges have gyms you can use for free. Almost all of them have healthy meal and snack options, so you shouldn't feel stuck. You have to remember that your health is just as important as your grades, probably even more important! Don't put it on the back burner.

Source: iStock

College Doesn't Teach You Much About The Real World

A lot of people say that college is the first part of being in the real world. This isn't really true. User BrosenkranzKeef says, "College doesn't teach you shit about how the real world actually works, or what to expect out of life. So don't act like you know what you're talking about until you've lived a normal life for a few years." Unfortunately, this is accurate. College is not the same as working full time or living completely on your own. It's just not. It's easier in different ways and, for most people, it involves less responsibility. You'll still have a lot to learn after four years.

Source: iStock

Consider Going To Community College First

A lot of people turn their noses up at community college, but you shouldn't. It can be a great way to start school, especially if you're trying to save money. User nckitty2 says, "Never feel ashamed to begin your education at a community college. That feeling consumed me. Coming from rich & privileged suburbia, I was literally made fun of by my peers solely based on the fact I wasn't going to a top university (called stupid, underachieving, a loser, etc.) I guess I got the last laugh because not only did I save a fuck ton of money, but I also transferred easily and eventually got my Bachelors degree. I feel warm and fuzzy on in the inside when the people who once made fun of me, up to their eyeballs in student debt, tell me: I wish I had gone to community college first."

Source: iStock

Get Some Freakin' Sleep

For some reason, it is very ~cool~ to complain about how little sleep you get, especially if you're a college student. It's ~cool~ to pull all-nighters and never nap. But actually, it's horrible for you. User PM_me_goat_gifs says, "Sleep is not for the weak. It is extremely important to actually succeeding. Get yourself on a sleep schedule and stick to it. Even if an assignment is due at 6am, don't stay up for it. It is worth bombing the assignment rather than spending the next day drunk-with-fatigue and falling behind on all your other assignments." Get some sleep! For real!

Source: iStock

College Might Not Be The Right Thing For You

User ButterUpDaBooty says, "If you have a gut feeling that college isn't for you, don't force it upon yourself because of pressure from your peers. It's tough to realize, but you'll waste so much time and money doing something you don't want to do." Honestly, it's true. College is not for everyone. You are not a failure if you drop out or decide not to go. There are other ways to be successful and you don't always need a degree to get a job. So, think long and hard about it, and if it feels like it isn't the right move for you, that's okay!

Source: iStock

Which one of these pieces of advice do you think is the most important? What did we forget to add? Share in the comments.

You can follow the author, Jessica Booth, on Twitter or Instagram.


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