Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Freshman Year of College

I love being a college student! It is a lot of work, but I enjoy being challenged. I love knowing that I am taking small steps towards my future.

Last semester, I had 5 classes. I took a couple years off from school after high school, so getting back into a routine of going to class full time and studying was difficult. I read blogs and tried to see what college would be like. However, actually going to college is a very different experience. Somehow, I managed to pull off a 4.0 GPA. I am trying to keep my grades high so that I can transfer to a nicer school later. Although I am very proud of my grades last semester, I think achieving them would have been easier with the knowledge I have now. So for anyone who is interested, here is my list of things I wish I knew before starting my freshman year of college.

Rate My Professor

Ok ok, so I’m a little slow on this one. Apparently everyone knew about this site except for me. Being homeschooled through high school, I didn’t really have a chance to choose or rate my teachers. So there was no reason for me to know about this site. (Although there were days I wish I could’ve given my mother a low rating when frustratingly struggling through math together….haha Jk)

Anyways if you’re like me and haven’t heard of rate my professor, it’s a really helpful website. You can look up a teachers name and see their overall rating, how hard their class is, and read reviews from their other students. I wish I knew about this website before enrolling in my fall classes….. it would’ve saved me a lot of hours of trying to stay awake through certain teachers “lectures”…..

Enroll early

I thought classes would be empty longer. I had no clue how fast online classes filled up. Or how fast the 101 classes get taken. NO CLUE! I enrolled about 2 weeks before classes and had to take classes that I wouldn’t have chosen for my first semester if I had other options. Early bird gets the….bird preferred English 101 class.

Don’t overpack

I packed ALL THE THINGS the first few weeks of school. Any little thing I could think of….paper, notebooks, folders, binder, highlighters, textbooks, planners, bulletin headphones, wallet, lunch, computer, water bottles, sweatshirts, chargers, lunch, snacks, water, coffee cans, oh goodness. Carrying around that much stuff got old fast. Then I noticed most students bring one notebook, a pen, and any class specific items for that day. Not the entire office plus a kitchen sink. What a concept!

14 hr days suck

This one….was just my fault. Everyone warned me against it. But for the sake of having room for my career the other 5 days of the week, I sucked it up and took all 5 of my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was also a short 12 week semester, so most classes were 2 1/2- 3 hours long. (The college opened late because it was brand new) Which meant that I was in class from 8am-9:30pm. I made it work… but honestly if I have another option I will not be doing that again. It actually cut down on my productivity rather than allowing me time for the band on my off days.

Don’t stress

I thought classes would be harder than they were. However, I learned that if I stayed organized and worked hard I could do it. Of course, the classes will get harder as school goes on. I was only taking my GEs.

But I learned that you can only do your best, and so I tried not to stress…too much.

Drink water

My long days, mixed with being afraid to have to pee during class, meant that I was dehydrated during class days. I would forget to drink water. I lived off of coffee. When my migraines started getting worse,(stress and dehydration isn’t good for migraines!) I realized I needed to up my water intake. Although I still got headaches, they were less frequent and I also noticed I was also less tired and able to focus easier.

Speak to a counselor early in the semester

Most students I talked to were choosing classes because they sounded fun. I thought that was ok…I’d get my GE courses in and enjoy myself and worry about requirements later. However, when I spoke to my Godsister(It’s her job to know this stuff) she explained that my 2nd semester course options were limited because I didn’t get my basic English or math done in semester one. She helped me lay out a more organized class schedule for the remainder of my time at the college.

Speaking to a counselor early on will help you recognize the best course of action to take for your degree. This is especially important if you plan on graduating in 2 years and transferring to a university.

Eat healthy

Ok so I didn’t gain the classic “freshman 15”…but the freshman 5 + bloating was REAL. I was so tired(and lazy) that although I ended up eating healthy, eventually El Pollo Loco called my name I answered. I would walk there every day for lunch with my sister. I started drinking soda just for some energy…I don’t even drink soda! I felt gross by finals. This semester, I’ve planned my schedule better so that I have more time for lunch. Also, less classes per day means more energy to workout at night. 🙂

Stay balanced outside of class

This one was hard. I thought it would be easier. I was so interested in getting all As that everything else was hard to focus on. I was forgotting to respond to texts and emails, would go to rehearsals on no sleep, and my sleeping schedule was horrific. My days were poorly planned and I became exhausted, which led to bad moods and more migraines. I loved college so much. But I have other responsibilities! This semester, I have to be better about balancing work, school, and my life.

Just like anything, practice makes perfect. 🙂 I hope that I learned enough to make spring semester of my freshman year better than fall! I started on Monday….I guess we will see how things go!

Are you in college? Have you already graduated? What lessons did you learn that made school easier? Let me know in the comments below!

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