1. You do not need 15 sweatshirts To Feel Confident.
No seriously. You don’t. And you don’t need that pair of jeans that you haven’t worn in 2 years either. Because you may now think that they could come in handy one random Friday night and maybe just maybe you might spontaneously be feeling them again after countless attempts to make them work without success but trust me, they won’t. You haven’t worn them in 2 years for a reason and instead, you will wear your roommates newer pair that fits you way better than those old things ever did. When I was packing for college I created hypothetical situations in which every article of clothing I ever owned was the perfect outfit choice.. My mother and I got into screaming fights (no literally I was in tears over a pair of shoes) because she was rational and I completely overestimated not only how much of my wardrobe I would wear but also the sheer space I had in my tiny little dorm to fit it all. So incoming frosh, do yourselves a huge favor, and take my advice. Do not try and fit your entire home closet into your smaller, less practical, less accommodating college one.
2. You do not meet everyone you will ever know during the first week of school.
Freshmen- college rocks. One of the most exciting parts about going to college is the overwhelming amount of new, cool, interesting and diverse people that you will meet. It’s your time to shine. That being said, you have four years to meet these people, and as much as you want to, and as scary it is going to be to figure it all out on your own at first,, you will not find your crew within the first week. Be open minded. Explore the unknown. Be accepting to all and no matter how much you know about the school you are about to attend, try and let go of all prior conceptions. Millions of people have gone to the same school you are about to attend, but none of those people are you. I made some of my greatest friends during my first week of college, but I also made irreplaceable friendships with people I didn’t know until second semester. You will find your crew but be patient!
3. Spend time out of your comfort zone.
It is really easy to get caught up in the familiar. Many of you will find your friends and build a routine, go to the same bars and hang out with a lot of the same people- and that is okay, no that is great. Finding your people and your routine is so important in college. But one thing that I did not do nearly enough was explore. I figured out my routine pretty quickly, met many different and interesting people, but I did not take advantage of my freedom as much as I wish I had. I hope you go to different bars, meet people from different areas, join a club that you are interested in, play on that intramural team just for fun, talk about important current events with a kid in your class, do something, ANYTHING that challenges your comfort zone. Who knows where it will lead you.
4. If you don’t go to that party on Thursday, you will live.
Partying is way more fun than spending near all-nighters in the library. Obviously. But getting an A instead of a B (trust me) is a much better feeling. I had an amazing party scheduled one Thursday night and a major paper for a class was due Friday morning at 8am sharp. I had worked on the paper for a fair amount of time throughout the week because I wanted to finish it before Thursday night- I wanted to go to that stupid party. And at the time, it really did seem like my biggest priority. I finished the paper Thursday afternoon but it was nowhere near my best work. It lacked editing but I just did not care. I ended up getting a B+ on that paper, but I know that if I had spent just a little bit more time working on it, then an A would have been in my reach. There will always be another party, but there are only so many grades in college, and damn that A would have been nice.
5. You don’t need another slice of pizza. No really, put it down.
Every time you go out in college, one person, somewhere, is going to want pizza. And every time you think “No, don’t do it. It is so not worth it.” You end up doing it anyway- at least this was me. I am a very healthy eater and I love working out but no amount of healthy eating during the day or miles on the treadmill could ever make up for the amount of times I just didn’t say no to pizza. All freshman should late night eat, that is a crucial part of college, and I had some of my best times conversing and laughing and reminiscing about the night over a steaming hot “pizza” (I am from New York and no, doughy cheesy bread did not, ever, in my mind qualify as pizza). So yes, freshmen, please late night eat. But no, freshman, do not do it every single night, you will regret it when you have to wear a bathing suit over spring break (I was so miserable).
6. Take it all in.
College only lasts 4 years, and while that seems endless to you right now as you embark on your brand new journey, it certainly is not. Time literally flies at school. Take a deep breath and acknowledge your surroundings. Go out to dinner with your friends WITHOUT your cell phones. Make every single moment that you are at school count because there will come a day, a day that is not as far down the road as you might think, where these moments will be no longer. Don’t let the best 4 years pass you by. Start off with your best foot forward.