What to Do + Not to Do Freshman Year of College [LIST]
As move-in day approaches, here's what you should keep in mind for your first year in college.
Oh how sweet this time of year is! Summer is winding down and fall is on the horizon. As fall moves in, so does a new school year and for some that means the start of this exciting chapter of college. I remember my college days fondly and feel those same freshman year butterflies on behalf of others.
That being said, there are some things you should keep in mind as you embark on this new journey. As someone who not only went to college and experienced this anticipation, I also served as a Welcome Week leader each year following. At Baylor, these leaders take on a group of students in the days leading up to the start of the semester. We take them through orientation, host small groups, and accompany them in all of the traditions of the university, while offering words of wisdom. I like to think of us as being entrusted with lighting that college flame.
Here are some of the things I would tell incoming students.
DO take advantage of Fish Camps/Welcome Weeks/Orientations
These activities are in place for a reason. Aside from igniting that school spirit, learning about the university and its traditions, you also meet people who could be your lifelong friends. In fact, my Welcome Week leaders freshman year were actually a couple who had met their freshman year at, you guessed it, Welcome Week. That wasn't uncommon. These weeks are also an opportunity to have some fun at school before the semester starts. Forget about the awkwardness that can sometimes come with meeting new people and throw yourself into it.
Which leads me to the next one...
DON'T be afraid of new people and experiences
College is meant to be exciting, stimulating and uncomfortable. Now, it's not like a haunted house, but it is something new. Getting out of your comfort zone is a good thing and is something you will do over and over again in life. Also, don't hesitate to make new friends, even if you came into college with old friends. I saw people who only stuck close to those whom they had gone to high school with. There's nothing wrong with that, but if it's keeping you from opening up to others, then you've got to push through that wall. College is a beautiful melting pot of different people from different backgrounds. Engaging in that will not only make you more well-rounded, but it will also come in handy when you're in the real world.
DO go to sporting events
Even if your team is horrible, get out and support your school. I'm not saying you have to paint your face, but there's nothing like college sports. Those games are electric. My groups of friends even road-tripped to some away games which was always a thrill! It means so much to those athletes. Also, having been a public address announcer for some of Baylor's women's sports, I know there's a lot of work that goes into those games and it's nothing if no one is there to take part.
If that doesn't sell you, I met my husband at a men's basketball game... so there's that. BUT...
DON'T expect a ring by spring
Although I met my future husband while I was a sophomore at Baylor, we really didn't get serious until after college. I'm thankful for that. I saw people throw themselves into relationships early on while in school and they ended up not working out. It seemed like such a waste of the college experience. If you can have a healthy balance of your school/fun/love life, then go for it. Otherwise, just enjoy your time.
DO take that oddball class that has nothing to do with your major
Again, college is meant for exploring new things. So what if your major is biomedical engineering and you're also pre-med. If you want to take that art class as an elective, then do it. One of my favorite classes early on was sociology, but I was majoring in journalism and film. Keep in mind that you may not have the time or the hours to take that non-major elective in your later years so freshman year is where you should squeeze it in. Who knows, you may find your calling in life by doing that.
Which also means...
DON'T feel stuck in your major
Some people know exactly what they want to do in life and how to get there. Others need to maneuver a bit before locking in on a path. I started school as a chemistry major destined to be a chemical engineer. That lasted for a semester before I changed to a religion major. It wasn't until the summer after my freshman year that I found my love for broadcast. This is your time to find you and the great thing about college is that there are advisers on campus to help you chase that newfound passion.
DO explore the city your college is located in
I think this one is a little underrated. Sometimes half the fun of college is being in a new city. Don't be afraid to get off campus and explore. I mean, look at where Baylor is located. Do you think people aren't exploring Waco, Texas after the Chip and Joanna Gaines phenomenon?
DON'T get seconds in the dining hall
No, seriously. The freshman 15 is no joke.