It's August! I cannot believe it. The summer is almost over, and we all have the same summer memories.
Since the summer is over, the 2020 seniors are about to be the 2020 freshman.This had me thinking about my college years at Francis Marion University in Florence, SC. Staying up all night to study, going to all the parties, and everything in-between.
With all the fun I had in college, there are a few things I wish I knew before I started in college. Here are my four tips for freshman year:
1. Take that ASS to Class
This is a first-rate tip!! Unlike high school, no one calls your parents if you do not report to class, and there is no state mandate that you have to attend. Literally, no one cares if you attend class or get dropped from a course for not attending because the tuition paid for at the beginning of the semester is NOT REFUNDABLE.
You are allowed a certain number of absences per class, but it is essential to use these in the best possible fashion. For example, if you have a family emergency, medical emergency, or a sick day (sick can mean hangover, but I wouldn't do that often)
Not going to class because you have an 8:30 class, and you can't get it up IS NOT an emergency. If you are not a morning person, schedule your courses for the afternoon or evening.
Remember to be on time, depending on how anal your professor is about that, they WILL close AND LOCK the door at the beginning of class and count you absent. Some professors are just that ruthless.
2. Stay Organized
People told me this all the time before I went to college, but I never understood the importance until I was in it. ORGANIZATION IS KEY!!
Most freshmen have an average of 4 to 5 classes a semester, so that is 4 to 5 assignments and due dates you have to keep up with. Also, unlike high school, your parents are not notified of late assignments, or you don't have teachers reminding you and putting it on the board. The professor will give you a syllabus with the due dates on it, and it is UP TO YOU to turn them in. Most of the time, you will have to turn them in online.
I would suggest having a planner (my fav) with colorful pens for each class OR using a calendar app on your phone, anything to make sure you stay up to date on your assignments because BELIEVE ME once you get behind it is so hard to get caught up again.
3. Know Your Professors
I know you don't want to be the kiss ass teacher's pet, and that is not what I am asking you to do, but it is always a good idea to make sure your professor knows who you are and vice versa.
This means be on time, show up to class, participate in the lecture, and answer questions. If you are struggling in a class, go to their office hours or talk to them after class to ask for help. I promise this may seem like overkill but having your professor know you and see that you are actually trying in their course can be the difference between at D+ and a C-.
This is how I passed every one of my science courses (biology, psychology, and physics). I AM NOT GOOD AT SCIENCE!!
4. Check your Crew
This means be careful who you hang around and who you allow in your friend groups. If someone had told me this tip my freshman year, it would have been 100% better. College is FULL of new people, and that can be an amazing and overwhelming thing. On the one hand, you are exposed to many new experiences and cultures, which is excellent, BUT that also means you are exposed to people who may not have the best intentions or align with your moral compass.
This tip is very personal because looking back on my freshman year, and I should have made some new friends. My friend group was doing hard drugs, drinking, stealing, and other things that I KNEW were wrong, but I did some of them anyway. I didn't realize the consequences of the decisions I was making until I was arrested.
I am not blaming my old crew because I made those wrong ass decisions when I knew they were wrong, and I wish I would have the foresight I have now to choose your friend group wisely. That saying, "Birds of a feather flock together" is 100% true.
The people that you surround yourself with daily can influence the decisions you make. If you are around studious people who want good grades then you are influenced to do the same but if you are around people who are doing drugs, not studying, and barely going to class, that can influence you as well.
The take away from this tip is that while being open to new people and cultures, make sure you surround yourself with people who have positive intentions and kind hearts.
Well, I have told all my business and given you some great tips on how to survive your freshman year. I want to make sure to include that I know with COVID still being around, your freshman year experience will be very different. There probably won't be many in-person classes or not as many parties. There may be more COVID surprises, but remember that your college is experience is where you will figure out so much about yourself, be challenged, make lifelong friends, and lifelong memories.
DO NOT ALLOW COVID TO TAKE THOSE PRECIOUS THINGS AWAY FROM YOU!!!
They are too important :)
LAST BUT DEFINITELY LEAST, I want to dedicate this blog post to my favorite college freshmen (shown below). I have known these kids - my apologies - young adults their entire lives. They are special and talented in their own unique and perfect way. They make me laugh, smile, and sometimes curse, but I would not trade them for ANYTHING. They each carry a light that is so beautiful, pure, and full of hope. While I know that light will be tested - that is how this world is - I pray that it never deems it because it will guide them to the successful and bright futures I know they will have. I love you all so much.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.