First off CONGRATULATIONS on getting accepted into your choice of college and surviving highschool. These next nine months are going to be filled with laughter, sleepless nights, countless hours of study sessions, tears, long drives home, getting lost, eating mac and cheese for two weeks straight, parties, keg stands, your first final weeks, and lots and lots of new friendships.
I remember move in day like it was yesterday and now that my brother moves into his dorm tomorrow it has left me a little sappy hearted as I reflect on my own freshman year. Btw, how in the world is my little dorky brother old enough to go off to college?
I am the oldest child and a first generation college student so I had to figure out the whole “college life” thing on my own. Here’s a list of things looking back that I wish I knew/or had done.
1. MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE PEOPLE ON YOUR DORM FLOOR! I was super socially awkward and hid in my dorm room majority of my freshman year. Don’t do that! Attend your dorm floor meetings, be nice to your RA’s, study outside of your dorm room with your floor mates, go to meals with them, & compare schedules. These people will become like one giant, dysfunctional family over the next nine months.
2. MAKE TIME TO GET TO KNOW YOUR ROOMMATE(S)! This is who is going to be stuck with you for the next nine months and you’re about to get to see every side/aspect to this person. Preferably you’ll become best friends, however that isn’t always the case. Remember to always remain respectful, clean up after yourself, & keep communication lines open.
3. SPEAKING OF DORMS: Here are some “dorm hacks” I discovered along the way. Don’t keep your bed vaulted or sleep on the top bunk.. It gets exhausting and your chances of hurting yourself when you come home from a party and try to climb to the top bunk are pretty high, trust me. Label EVERYTHING with your name on it somewhere, it’ll make moving out so much easier. Don’t let dishes pile up in your dorm room. Get a mini fridge. When you shower, wear flip flops. Don’t try to sneak the opposite sex in after hours or store alcohol in water bottles in your mini fridge.. (I have seen both end badly 😳) OH,and make sure to have pictures of your family around your room because you WILL miss them. P.s. If your dorm allows pets, GET ONE! (just don’t overdo it like I did and try to fit 10+ pets in your room at once. It gets gross and stinks lol.)
4. You’re probably counting down the days until FREEDOM, but soak in these last few days at home. Let your mom make you breakfast. Let her tuck you in. Embrace the fact that you can open your cabinets and fridge and know you didn’t have to pay for everything that’s in there because that is all about to change REAL QUICK.
5. So many opportunities are about to present themselves to you. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM! Be optimistic. Be a go-getter. Be brave. Be motivated.
6. Take advantage of all the free gear you can get. You’re paying thousands to attend this college so you might as well snag some free t-shirts and water bottles… Am I right?
7. Before classes start take a look at your schedule and walk to all of your classes so that when the first day comes you don’t look completely clueless running across campus while panicking because you have no idea where you are at or where you need to go.
8. IF YOU START TO STRUGGLE IN A CLASS TALK TO YOUR PROFESSOR BEFORE YOUR GRADE COMPLETELY GOES TO SHIT. Professors, believe it or not, are here to help you. They know all the resources the campus offers to help you out too. (Most universities have FREE tutoring. (Btw, “free” is about to be your new favorite word.)
9. Here’s some advice your parents won’t give… But: Go to parties. Yes, you read that right. Go to parties. Have fun. Try a keg stand, take a shot of something you’ve never tried before, drink some jungle juice, ask a girl to dance. However, there are hacks to partying. Make sure your phone is charged, wear a lanyard with your keys and ID’s so you don’t lose them, carry pepper spray, know an exit strategy, travel in groups, & if you see someone sick, hurt, being harassed, or too drunk (you will most likely see all of the above and more) HELP THEM!! But most importantly DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE OR GET IN THE CAR WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS! (Use Uber)
10. Make friends with people in your classes and exchange numbers so you can ask questions of you need help, you can text them if you won’t be in class, and y’all can study together.
11. Have a calendar and/or planner in your dorm room. Scheduling and organization are crucial for your college career. Stay organized.
12. Live in the moment because before you know it you’re going to be like me… Starting your senior year of college and wondering where time went. Enjoy the ups, the downs, the trials, and all your accomplishments. Take pictures, call home, make new friends, make mistakes BUT learn from them. This is about to be the best years of your life.. At times it won’t feel like it.. But looking back I wouldn’t change a thing and I hope you won’t either.
13. Stay close to your faith. Don’t let your bible collect dust in your dorm room. Treat your bible like a textbook and make time to engage in it. Join an on campus bible study group or stay connected with people who will hold you accountable to remain a representation of Christ. (& yes, you CAN be a Christian and still enjoy your college experience.) There will be many times that your faith is tested to the max but just remember that God has a plan far greater than our own and he already has built the path that he wants you to travel down.
14. Make friends with foreign exchange students. You will learn how big the world really is, you’ll get to try all kinds of new foods, hear new music, see new fashion ideas, and create a life-long friendship. Trust me, my greatest friend I’ve made in college is a foreign exchange student and we have learned so much from each other.
15. Take classes that interest you. There is already a lot of classes you will be required to take that will probably bore you to death so try to take at least one class a semester that really peaks your interest!
16. Lastly, go to sporting events and cheer on your team! Some of my greatest college memories have been at college sporting events. It’s a whole new atmosphere. (p.s. Don’t get shitfaced and sit in the hot sun for a football game. I’ve seen too many puked on bleachers to know that’s not a good idea. Pre-game responsibly)
Wichita State University… Are you ready for my little brother?
I can’t wait to share the college experience with you finally and watch firsthand the year you’re about to have. Hello new study partner! And thanks in advance for letting me crash in your dorm in between classes 😏😘😉