The Do's and Don'ts of Being The New Kid on The Block (College Freshman)
Hello everyone! I am currently a Junior Health Science major at Howard University and my freshmen year was truly memorable. I recall being nervous to meet my roommate, worrying about getting good grades, and being very excited to meet my new classmates. I had no clue what to expect and was very anxious to go to Howard. Below I comprised the most important tips that all freshmen should know.
Do get to know your professor- I know you get tired of hearing this, but this tip is important. If you and your professor have some type of personal relationship they are more likely to excuse stupid mistakes on tests or be lenient with grades because they want to see you succeed.
Do sit relatively close to the front of the classroom- This is because the further away you are from the teacher the noisier the classroom is and the harder it is to learn. There are more distractions when you are sitting in the back because you know the teacher isn't paying attention to you, it makes you less willing to participate, it is harder to hear the teacher, and harder to see the chalkboard.
Do withdrawal from a class if you have a D or lower- It's better to have a "W" on your transcript and make up the class later, than bringing down your GPA due to poor grades.
Do find the time of day when you're most productive- We all have one; mine is at night. This is important because you need this time to devote to your school work. During this time get rid of ALL distractions (tv, phone, friends, etc).
Do join Group Me's and study groups- If for some reason you were absent from class, Group Me's are a great way to acquire missed information. If you are having trouble understanding the homework, at least one person in the Group Me will be able to help you. Group Me also makes it easy to set up study sessions with people. The people you study with may know information that you were unaware of, or have a different technique they use to understand the material.
Do apply for tons of scholarships- Who wants to pay for school and have tons of college debts? This is something that I am still working on but, it's important to apply for scholarships. In order to do this, you also have to know the background of the people hosting the scholarship so that you can make your essay relatable to them. For example, if you are applying for a scholarship by people who promote PRO-LIFE and you submit an essay discussing why every woman should be able to have an abortion then you most likely won't win the scholarship. Make sure you narrow down your scholarship searches (Race specific scholarships, disability specific, religion specific, disease specific).
Do use a planner- My planner is my LIFE in school because I write everything in there from hang out session times to class work due dates. It's imperative that you keep your life organized so that you can meet required deadlines and remember important meetings/interviews.
Do go to class- The whole point of college is to get an education. You are paying for your classes so if you don't go think of it as wasting your money. Your teachers don't care if you miss class and in college, nobody is going to make you go. So you have to motivate yourself to get up and go to class.
Do use Ratemyprofessor.com- This site is accurate! Before applying for classes check to see if the class is taught by a good professor because if you don't you WILL regret it!
Do have at least 1 or 2 business professional and business casual outfits- This is so important and I wish I would have known this ahead of time but in college, you will have many interviews, meetings, and occasions where you will need to dress as such. First appearances are everything in the business world and you need to give off a good, professional appearance.
Don't Schedule- If you know that you have difficulty waking up in the morning, don't have an 8 am class! I personally like to get my day started early so that I can get out of classes at a decent time especially because so many meetings, activities, etc happen in the evening I could be doing so many other things and would hate to be stuck in a classroom.
Don't procrastinate- Whatever it is, just get it done. Don't wait until the last minute to study because it doesn't work. The "memorization technique" doesn't work either". Don't do your homework the day before because a professor can tell when you rush.
Don't take naps in between classes- Especially if the classes are 1-3 hours apart because you won't wake up for your next class... Plain and simple! Just sleep at night and on the weekends. GRIND DURING THE WEEK! However, don't deprive yourself of sleep or else you will perform poorly in school.
Do network- This is so important because in life it's all about who you know. For instance, that girl you met freshmen year is part of an internship program you are interested in and she can put in a good word for you at the office. So meet people, stay in contact, and never burn bridges. You never know when you'll need someone to help you out in life.
Do feel comfortable asking for help- Surprisingly everyone is very friendly especially to freshmen. So don't be afraid to reach out to older students, and staff.
Do find a mentor- I regret not finding a mentor because having one is very beneficial. You can talk to them about any problems you have and they can give you advice based on their past experiences. They can lead you in the right direction throughout your college journey.
Do make the best of early move in- You'll have a chance to get to know the campus before the upperclassmen get there. This is important so you can feel calm and confident on your first day of class.
Do get involved- Do community service, go to campus events, attend panel discussions and take advantage of everything that your school has to offer. Join clubs, and be on the Executive Board of organizations because that will make your college experience so much more enjoyable.
Don't fall for every guy that looks your way- Guys are aware that you are the new girl on the block and are clueless to the way college works. Some guys (NOT ALL) will try and take advantage of that. So know that not all guys are genuine and looking out for your best interest. Stay classy, and have standards.
Don't pick your roommate- I recommend doing a random roommate selection. Meeting people online is not the same as meeting them in person so they might end up being completely different than who you thought they were. You will be mad at yourself if you end up picking a roommate that turns out to be nothing like what you expected. My freshmen year I went random and I ended up getting the best roommate in the world, we had SO MUCH IN COMMON, and I love her so much.
Don't try to do everything- Your first year of school you don't want to be too overwhelmed so don't try to take on too much. Know your limits and always make sure you have enough time to concentrate on your school work OVER EVERYTHING ELSE.
Do experiment and find yourself- Find what makes you happy, change your appearance, switch up your wardrobe, etc. Whatever you were known for in high school doesn't matter because you are entering into a world where nobody knows you. This is your chance to become the person that you want to be.
Do take summer classes- if you're in danger of not completing your credits on time, or you just want to get a head start.
Do Appreciate your summers and use them wisely- Don't just sit back and go to the pool every day. Do some volunteer work, participate in an internship program, find a job, travel, do something that you can add to your resume, etc. Overall make sure you do at least one productive activity.
Do Protect your dreams- Just because people tell you your dream won't lead to a job, or success that doesn't make it true. Stay true to what makes you happy.
Do Be prepared to feel overwhelmed- There's a lot going on in college and it is easy to feel discouraged. Just know that this feeling is normal and you're not the only one feeling this way. I promise it WILL get better.
Do stay in shape- You don't want to gain the "Freshman 15"...I promise you it's real. Freshman year I went a little overboard with fast-food and vending machine junk because it was always available but, I quickly whipped into shape and started to control my eating habits. It is so easy to slack in this category due to the endless access to food, and no exercise. Go to your school's gym, join a club sports team, or find a workout partner. Find time to do some type of physical activity so that you can keep your metabolism up and stay in shape. I stay in shape by working out with my team during cheerleading season and going to the gym/track offseason.
Do be safe- Plain and simple....Although others might indulge in certain activities, that doesn't mean you should do it too. Don't do drugs, don't drink your life away, and don't engage in dangerous activities that put your health/life at risk. You don't want to do something that might hinder your education, reputation, or end your life. So be smart and stay safe.
Don't drink Red Bull- I don't recommend using any energy drinks because they aren't good for you. I remember taking a Red Bull once my freshmen year and the way my body reacted to it was scary. I took it at 8 am right before an exam because I had been up all night studying. As soon as I drank it I felt my body start to come alive and I was restless/anxious. My foot wouldn't stop tapping and I just looked like a paranoid freak lol. I will never use it again! Long story short, just stick with coffee and tea, in moderation.
Do budget- Don't spend all your money on food when you have a meal plan because you will need that money for something else. If you have a job I advise opening and utilizing a savings account because it will benefit you in the future.
Do buy used books- Rather than going to the bookstore to buy books for $200, try to find a used book that is in good condition for half the price. This is smart because bookstores overprice their products. You can find used books on your school's Facebook page or by reaching out to people on campus. For example, I put that I needed a math textbook on my school's Facebook page and within hours I received responses. I ended up getting my textbook for $60, originally $160!
Don't spend all of your money on parties -Many parties target freshmen because they know you're new and have a lot of money from your parents, and graduation parties. These parties are sometimes overpriced because they know that the freshmen don't know any better and will pay to get in.