It's your freshman year. You've been waiting for this brand new chapter of your life for weeks, months or maybe even years. Now that it’s finally here, know that there are some things you definitely should and shouldn’t do during your first year of college.
Let's get the bad ideas out of the way first, shall we?
1) Don't take an 8:00 a.m. class! You think you can do it because you've been starting school that early your entire life, but trust me, you won't want to do it in college. What will happen is either you'll skip class, or you'll go to class and sleep through it. Friday mornings are especially hard because Thursday nights are huge for parties. Waking up at 7:30 a.m. and having to trek from your dorm to class is just torturous after a night out.
2) Don't try to do your homework in the dorms. No matter how nice the study rooms are, distractions abound. I found out quickly that if I went back to my room after class I would be tempted to nap or walk down the hall to a friend’s room. Try to get as much done as you can at the student union or in the library. When you go home later, you can take a nap or hang out with friends without the burden of homework looming over you.
Now let’s move on to the good ideas:
1) Communicate with your roommate. I got lucky. My roommate became my best friend, so it was easy for us to talk about what we did and didn't want the other to do. Not everyone is as fortunate. I know people who parted ways with roommates because of conflicts. Whether or not you become friends with your roommate, it’s important to be able to talk to them about cleanliness, having guests over, bedtimes and other daily particulars. Establishing boundaries from the beginning makes it easier to live in close quarters with someone for nine months.
2) Join the Zona Zoo. Our football team may struggle, but tailgating and going to games with your friends is fun and helps you feel the school spirit. Basketball is a blast too, but in a different way. Games are mostly on weeknights, so spending the whole day rallying before them doesn’t happen, but the team is great and attending games can be made into a really fun outing.
3) Take some fun general education courses. If you take gen eds that you don't have an interest in, it's really easy to skip class or homework because you'll find yourself thinking, “This doesn't have anything to do with my major, so it doesn't matter.” However, gen eds DO affect your GPA, so they matter. If you take fun ones, you'll gain some knowledge in topics that you wouldn't otherwise and give yourself a well-needed break from your major-specific classes.
Overall, make sure you have fun. Your freshman year is exciting because you're on your own in a new environment, new set of circumstances, and new stage of life. While you do have to balance work and play since you're ultimately here for your education, you should still enjoy extracurricular activities like clubs and social events. Keep that in mind, and have a great year!