Advice For The Girl Heading To College.
In all honesty I didn’t think I’d be sitting here writing this post for you guys, but my younger sister is headed to college soon! Being the big sister that I am, I have been thinking a ton lately about things they should know and I thought, what about the girls without the big sisters?! So from one sister to another, I am giving you advice you need to know for your freshman year in college.
Before I start, I am so excited for you because this year is going to be out of this world for you! As cheesy as it sounds, you’re going to meet people that will change your life, you’re going to cry because you procrastinated on your assignment and you’re going to grow in ways that you didn’t expect. College is what you make it, so I'm going to give you advice that will help make it a blast for you! It’s going to be wild, but it’s going to be absolutely incredible - don’t take this next year for granted! Let’s do this…
Disclosure: The photos on this post are going to suck, because I dug them up from college... sorry!!!!
L I V E I N T H E D O R M S .
This is where you will meet some of your greatest friends for the next four years and some, for the rest of your life. It’s actually where I met my husband, but that’s another story! When you’re a sophomore that lives off campus, you’ll look back and remember laughing your way back into that tiny dorm room you called home after a fun night out with your girlfriends.
I've never once heard someone say, "Gosh, I'm so glad that I secluded myself and lived off campus for my freshman year." Not only is that a lot of pressure for someone coming out of high school, but it's robbing you of a huge part of the freshman experience. They’re small and sometimes the buildings aren’t the cutest, but they will house some of the greatest memories that you will have.
R O O M W I T H A S T R A N G E R . . .
Okay, that one sounded better in my head - but I am so happy that my roommates in my freshmen year of college were people I’d never met before. This is one of the first steps you can make into having an open mind in college. You will be forced to go outside of your comfort zone and learn from another person's culture, their quirks, cleaning habits and in the end you'll thank yourself. I cannot stress enough, how important it is to keep an open mind in your freshman year - try to say yes to new foods, experiences and friendships.
With leaving for college, it will be the start and the end of some friendships. Some of my friendships I had in high school faded, while others grew unexpectedly and now we’re closer than ever. Your life will change, go with the flow and push your boundaries to find out who you are and what your life could be.
In my freshmen year of college my friend, Viri from high school lived on the second floor of my dorm and we became the greatest of friends, all while she was on the second floor. To this day, we are both still happy that we chose to live with people we’d never met, because we both grew tremendously from the experience living apart gave us.
E X P L O R E Y O U R F A I T H .
I don’t want to push my faith onto you, but coming from someone who went from not believing in much to pouring my heart into my Christian faith, I can tell you that college is an absolutely incredible time to explore and discover what you truly believe in.
The journey I’ve had with the Lord wouldn’t be as incredible if I didn’t get involved in a church, while being in college. Reason being, there is a strong and passionate community for everything on campus - people involved in their majors, church communities and different clubs.
Everyone going into college has a different story and walk through this life. With that, you’ll come to realize that you are not alone in anything and that you are worthy of the love that a strong community can give you. I am someone who thrives on community, so I flourished when I found where I felt most at home. It was amazing to surround myself with people that truly supported me and accepted me, even with my flaws. Having those people that you feel comfortable around you is so important for your well being - it will push you to be a better version of yourself, you'll be able to help others in the same boat as you, and you'll have that social support that keeps you accountable - without judgement.
Whether it is a community based on Christianity or any other religion, the goal is to be around others people who have the same beliefs and values that your share. By nature you will cultivate new and lasting friendship that will support your growth in whatever your beliefs may be. Do not let anyone discourage you from exploring different communities on your campus or in your city - just find a place that feels most comfortable to you!
T H E F R E S H M A N 1 5 - I T ' S O V E R R A T E D .
A lot of people will tell you about the dreaded, freshman 15, which basically curses all college freshmen with 15 lbs within the first year - it’s complete crap. In college some will gain and some will lose, and it’s easy to go either way - you are not cursed. It’s never something you should be ashamed or worried about in the slightest, but it’s also not an excuse to treat your body poorly. While it’s not my place to tell you what you should and shouldn’t eat, I want you to understand that you don’t need to go wild with pasta and pizza.
Try your best to stick to healthier meals the majority of the time and go for pizza or whatever you’re craving calls for when you’re with the group!
Guys - the gym is so much fun in college! There are endless gym buddies, tons of classes you can take like zumba, yoga, or pilates and in my case - my future husband looked really cute while playing basketball...but that’s just me!
G E T I N V O L V E D !
Remember how you were too cool to join a business club in high school? or join Mock trial? Well FYI, you’re never too cool to join a community or a club in college - that’s no longer a thing.
As I said, there is a community for everything in college, so find something you’re interested in and go in alone or find a couple friends to join you! Want to play competitive Bubble Soccer? Get on an intramural team and try it. Never done yoga? Sign up for a class! Want to join a sorority or fraternity? Do it! Just like in the dorms, you will meet some of your greatest friends and have some of your greatest moments after making the choice to go after something you've never experienced.
Remember in Mean Girls, when Cady Heron wanted to join the Mathletes and Regina George told her it was social suicide? Yeah well, the only way you'll commit social suicide in college is by distancing yourself from all of the great opportunities around you. You'll never have this many opportunities available for you, so don't take it for granted!
B E S A F E . N O S E R I O U S L Y .
I’m not going to tell you to never go to a party in your life, but I will tell you to be safe. While this advice may be taboo to some reading, the reality is that you will be invited to go out and you can’t make mistakes that hurt you in the long run. I’m sharing the same things I’d share with either of my sisters, so I’m not going to shy-away from giving it to you!
Know your limits. Do not go out to a party and decide that it’s okay to do shots if you have never done them. Do not try to keep up with people, and DO NOT ever go out with someone that you met in class that day. Dear god, never do drugs, they can cause serious neurological damage that you didn’t take into account because you weren’t thinking about the consequences. Do not be careless with your body, you only get one and you don’t need to ruin it for a night of fun. I feel like that gym teacher in Mean Girls writing this paragraph!
You might think this all sounds like common sense, but you will see plenty of people get in situations that will hurt them and you do not need to be apart of one of those stories. I’m not saying I never went out and partied or made a mistake, I have and I’m sure I’ve got a few more mistakes to make. But I was always with my best friends or a group I highly trusted. This isn’t a guide on how to not make mistakes, you will make mistakes, but make sure you are as safe as you possibly can be and you learn from them.
G E T T O K N O W Y O U R P R O F E S S O R S .
Okay back to education… Super important people - send your professors an email before the start of the quarter/semester/trimester and introduce yourself. Tell them why you’re excited to be in the class or what you’re excited or hope to learn! Or even better, do this before or after your very first class. Just start that relationship with them and get your face in front of your professor. It’s great to have your professor on your side when you need clarity on an assignment, forgot to turn in an assignment, or when you run into an emergency. They’re much more understanding and helpful when they know you care about your education.
Shout out to Professor Provaznik at CWU! If you go to Central Washington University, make sure you at least have a conversation with this incredible professor. He's not just an awesome professor, but he's also the greatest mentor.
Also, check out my secret weapon right here for finding the right professor for any class, at any university!
S T U D Y U P B U T T E R C U P .
You learn a lot from your professors, but you learn even more from your peers. Especially if you’re in a class with 300 students or if your professor is into surfing during class time (true story) and you’re stuck with the TA. Get together in the library or get a bunch of snacks and hang out in the dorms! Your peers have different takeaways on the lectures and readings, it never hurts to get together with them.
I remember I was in this Psychology 101 class that everyone has to take as a prerequisite, with roughly 250 other students. It wasn’t the hardest class, but we formed a little (well - actually it was pretty big) study group and we got together in my dorm a couple times a week. I learned a lot in this class, had a blast while doing it, got some hilarious memories, and made some seriously great friends - that I still talk to from that little group we formed.
R E M E M B E R W H Y Y O U ' R E T H E R E A N D W H O Y O U A R E .
Remember why you went to school, even when you’re hysterically crying because you’re jump drive broke with your final essay on it 30 minutes before the due date (this happened to me and oh man, it sucked) - it’s going to be okay. You’ll have a meltdown, or two or three, you’ll think you aren’t good enough, smart enough, and you just have to push through that and remember why you are at school in the first place... To get an education that makes you enough money to buy all the puppies in the world... and a house, food and the world’s supply of pup toys, so that they live happily. Well, that’s what I went for, not sure about you! Anyways…
Above all else remain true to who YOU are. Stay genuine as you begin experiencing life on a new wavelength. Become friends with people that make you a better YOU. Get involved in things that grow you into the person you want to become. Don’t follow the crowd, even if you get pushed into it and stuck - get out and be you. Don’t get involved in drama or gossip - it’s petty, it will make you look bad, and it’s never worth your time. Think before you speak and have empathy and compassion for others. You’re about to meet people from all walks of life and you will have memories to last a lifetime.
Remember, college is what you make it, so make it the best year yet!
O T H E R T H I N G S Y O U J U S T N E E D T O K N O W .
- Buy shower shoes!
- Drink lots of water!
- Don’t get a credit card.
- Keep your standards high.
- Don’t eat Jack In The Box tacos.
I hope that this advice helps you as you go into some of the greatest years of your life! Have an incredible year and make sure you check back with me to give advice for the next group of girls!
If you have advice for the lovely ladies going into their freshmen year of college, please do share! We want to give as much information as possible, so they can have an amazing year!!