Dear college freshman,

You are starting your new life as a high school graduate.  You are going off to college.  It doesn’t matter if you know what you want to do or not, you have made the decision to attend college.  It also doesn’t matter if this school was your first choice or your fall back, either way the next 4, 5, or 6 years are going to be great!

Here are just a few helpful hints to get you on your way.

  1. Get out of your room.  You do not have to stay in there all the time. You are allowed to leave, in fact most people recommend that you leave and not just for classes.  Go to the events that are put on by your school’s Office of Campus Life.  Go to your school’s welcome week events, this will get you pumped up about the semester and you will probably make some new friends! Just GET OUT!
  2. You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate.  All the movies about college give you unrealistic expectations about what your roommate is supposed to be like.  According to the movies, you will be instant best friends. You will go to all the parties together. You will take the same classes. You will get along perfectly. But in reality you will probably barely get along with them.  They will hate your taste in music and you will hate their music. You will think that they are too loud in the morning and you will think they are too loud at night.  One of you will want the room cold and one of you will want it hot.  Whatever the issue is, and there will always be at least one, just remember that you don’t have to be best friends. As long as you two can live in the same room and not want to murder anyone, you should be fine.
  3. Please shower. You would think that as a college freshman you learned the art of showering in middle school, but sometimes you forget.  Please don’t make the resident assistant (RA) or worse a complete stranger tell you that you should probably take a shower.  You will be living in a residence hall with hundreds of other people, think abut what that place would smell like if people only showered every few days. Ewww, I would not want to live there and I’m sure you don’t either.
  4. Go to class.  You are paying for it. Or your parents are paying for it. Or your scholarship is paying for it. Either way, someone is paying good money for you to go to class. SO GO! Some professors will have an attendance policy and others will not, but you still need to go. You will get better grades and the professors will like you which will come in handy when you need a letter of recommendation from one of them.
  5. You are allowed to change your mind. You on’t have to know what you want to do the first day you register for classes. In fact, you might not know what you want to do when you walk across the stage at graduation and that is okay.  College is about finding yourself and that’s exactly what you are going to do. On average college students change their major THREE times before graduation. So don’t worry about the fact that you realized you actually hate chemistry or that maybe math wasn’t the best choice for you, find something you love and it will come easy.
  6. Be friends with your RA. This doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with them, but talk to them. That’s why they are there. They want you to talk to them about your problems. They want to share in your celebrations. They are there because they love students and want to see you succeed.  They are not there just to get you in trouble.  And go to their programs. They put a lot of work into those. Trust me, I was an RA for 3 years, I know how much work it takes to have a successful program.
  7. Your best friend in high school may not be your best friend in college.  So you went to different schools, that’s alright. Just because you are far apart doesn’t mean you won’t stop being friends. But it also doesn’t mean that you will be as close as you were.  People grow and change, it’s a part of life. Your true friends will stay your friends no matter what. While in college you will make new friends, but you will never forget your old friends.
  8. Do something that scares you. Find something that you wouldn’t dream of doing, and then do it.  I went to Washington D.C. with a friend of mine for a weekend to attend a rally. It was an amazing weekend. I never would have seen myself flying half way across the country just to go to a rally, but I did. It doesn’t matter what it is that scares you. Just do one thing that does. That’s what college is about. But don’t do anything that might kill you.

This is really going to be the time of your life.  You will have some ups and some downs, but in the end you will never regret your choice to attend college.

Sincerely,

A recent college grad

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