Aa’s Declassified Campus Survival Guide: 11 Things I Wish I Knew My Freshman Year of College

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 11.05.28 AMWhats Up, Freshman?

Hey you! Excited for college? You should be. This will literally be the BEST four years of your life. I’ve already got my first year of college in the bag! Now, Mama Aa is ready to share her wisdom.

If you’re anxious, or not excited about college and look like the dog in this photo, don’t worry! You’ll be cheesing just like me in no time.

Welcome to my new blog series: Aa’s Declassified Campus Survival Guide. Here are the things you need to know before you step on campus.

11 Things I wish I knew my freshman year of college… 

1. The freshman 15 is REAL

Guys and gals, look. You can’t eat everything you see! College campuses are surrounded with fast food, restaurants and bars. You’ll be enticed to eat out everyday because there are so many options. However, it’s not the best idea. My first week in college I ate Chick-Fila-A FOUR TIMES IN ONE WEEK. And if you do the math, that’s about $30.(Sorry mom!) You’ll blow all of your money really fast and you’ll feel greasy and sluggish!  If you have a meal plan, try your best to stick with it. You’re paying for it. If you’re like me and don’t have a meal plan – learn to cook a few things! Eating out is fine, but don’t depend on McDonald’s value menue it to survive.

2. This isn’t anything like high school

The classroom you’re used to going to with 25 people in it just increased by 100! Depending on how big your university is, you may never meet or speak to all of your classmates. Your teacher may not know your name and that’s okay! You have to learn to be more independent and outspoken if you ever need anything.

3. If you don’t know how to manage your time wisely… RIP

Take your classes seriously because you’re PAYING FOR THESE COURSES. So if you fail, drop out or retake the class you will be held responsible. Teachers can be really ruthless and tell you “If you fail/drop out of my class, it’s not my issue. Don’t come to me trying to pass at the last minute.” This is very true! I’m not perfect and I’ve even had to catch myself up to get through a class. I made it out alive because I talked to my teacher! 

If there’s about a month left in the class and you’re slipping, it would definitely be the time to speak up if you haven’t already.

4. Don’t buy all of your books from the bookstore 

Don’t settle for the first price you see for a book, calculator or code. Make Amazon.com your best friend! There are other ways to purchase the $200 book you’ll need for your bio class. Websites, pages and other places resell used books for college students and they’re a fraction of the cost. I purchased my $100 book for Composition II online for like $30! Unfortunately, there are some access codes you WILL have to buy and they are expensive. No way around that one, but everything else you can dodge!

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 1.12.40 PM

5. Be involved on campus

You never know who you’ll meet! I met most of my new friends by going to social events, and club meetings. If there’s a workshop or gathering that’s about something you’re interested in JUST GO. College is a once in a lifetime experience and it’ll only be amazing if you branch out and do so. One time I went to a communications workshop for extra credit and I did not want to be there. Then, I met a girl who was interested in makeup just like me and we hung out two days later and are still friends today! HEY VICTORIA!!!

6. This is NOT a drill. Avoid Friday classes!!!

AVOID EARLY MONDAY CLASSES TOO. If you haven’t heard, Thursday’s are the real Friday’s for college kids across America. When you get to college you’ll realize what type of student you really are! You can get a feel of everything your first semester but by the spring I promise you’ll have the perfect schedule for you! I thought I was going to love waking up “early” for class, but I was wrong. It became nearly impossible for me to show up on time to my morning classes. I realized didn’t like waking up early on Monday’s because… (well, I think it’s self explanatory.) So, now when I pick classes I make them between Monday afternoon-Thursday morning! Friday classes are a bummer because that’s when everyone is out socializing, going on fun trips and who doesn’t want t three day weekend EVERY weekend?!

7. Going to community college first is okay

This is probably the one thing I really wish I would’ve known my freshman year. Honestly, when I came to my senses and realized I had to attend community college first, I was frustrated and embarrassed. I thought my classes and the students in them were going to be… you know. However, I attend one of the greatest community colleges in the state! The classes are smaller which allow me to get personal with my teachers and it helps me excel when I have their help at my disposal. I pay attention more and benefit financially because community college is MUCH cheaper!

8. GO TO THE OFFICE HOURS

Your professors will have office hours that they are available to help you. Depending on when they’re available their hours will be before or after your class during the week! Use this time and GO at least once. You won’t always have time to talk to your teacher before or after class and if you need a while to speak with them, stop by their office instead. Not many students do this, and it’ll definitely show that you care about your grade and whats going on in the class!

9. Keep an eye out for student discounts

They’re everywhere! Stores and businesses will have special offers on certain days of the week, or will even throw discounts out if you have your student I.D! In my college town, they have $5 burgers on Tuesdays, and even $5 fill-up with frozen yogurt on Wednesdays! And all you have to do is whip out that snazzy I.D. from your University. Also, download the app “Pocket Points.” It’s GREAT. It gives coupons, rewards and free food for not being on your phone during class! 

10. Take the Professor NOT the class

The amount of fun and enjoyment you get from a class all depends on your teacher. When you select a class, know you are taking the professor too! It’s a total package. Their attitude, teaching techniques and over all approach to what they do can and will affect you as a student. RateMyProfessor.com is a great way to figure out how the teacher is before you even register for classes! It’s saved my life and I’ve never been mislead about any teachers I’ve had in college thanks to my peers who’ve left their final thoughts.

11. Study groups: 10/10 recommend

The easiest way to make friends in college? STRUGGLE! When classes got hard, I’d bring it up in class and tons of people would agree! If it weren’t for study groups, math and Macroeconomics would have been a serious struggle for me. We all got together and made sure nobody was left behind. Get each others number and help one another with homework, quizzes and even send the notes if you miss a lecture one day! You’ll thank me later.


BONUS!!!

12. Learn to deal with roomates 

(Btw roomies if you’re reading this I love you!) If you’re off to college rooming with people you already know then this is great. I would love to have roomed with my best friends but we all went our separate ways across the state of Florida. I had random roommates assigned to me, and I was REALLY nervous. Everyone has different personalities, dislikes and things they’re comfortable with. You have to learn to cope with it! If you’re having conflicts, handle them in the best way possible because you are living with this person for a whole year! Make trash schedules, and keep the common areas as clean as possible. Don’t be the rude, dirty roommate who always has 20 people over. Be respectful! COMMUNICATION IS KEY.

13. Not everything you do has to be posted – Losing friends is okay

Seriously. People change, and sometimes it’s for the better! Losing friends or even ending a relationship will hurt at first and you’ll be confused but I promise you the wounds will heal. As far as social media, even if it’s on “Finstagram” – people can see, screenshot and share anything and everything. Have fun in college but everyone doesn’t have to know your every move!   Our generation is the epitome of social media, so this is self explanatory.

14. This is your chance to reinvent yourself

Alright, college is exciting and I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seat just waiting to get on campus! Moving away from home is a chance for you to be yourself, go on adventures and make memories. Reinvent yourself! Become innovative, spunky BUT also responsible. College is what you make it. (:

Here’s to your first year of college!

-Aa

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