ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Advice to College Freshmen Before Starting Classes

Updated on August 14, 2015

As a recent graduate, there are lots of things that I wish I had done earlier on in college. Most people have expectations for the stereotypical life of a college student -- sleeping in, hanging with friends, eating pizza everyday, and sometimes going to class. If you're a parent or graduate reading this, you know that each of these should be taken in moderation (besides having friends, those are nice).

I'm writing this for my younger sister, who will be enrolling this fall, so that she can hopefully balance work and play to have the best possible freshman year.

GO TO CLASS

For God's sake, go to class! At some point, everyone thinks that it will be ok to skip class just once or twice. You're, like, crazy busy, right? Plus, you'll read your textbook later, and it will be like you didn't miss anything at all.

False. It's only an hour, and you've never been that responsible before. Why should this time be any different? Furthermore, skipping an hour-long class creates more than an hour's worth of work for you later.

ACTUALLY PAY ATTENTION

That's right. Contrary to popular belief, this class will probably have an impact on your life. Don't waste your time and tuition money.

Read (or at least skim) the lecture material before coming to class, try to sit near the front, and answer a question or two each week. That might not make you the valedictorian, but you'd be amazed how far it will take you. The lecture won't sound like complete gibberish anymore, and your professor will probably notice that you put in some effort. When final grades come around, professors always remember who tried to apply themselves.

STUDY WHAT YOU LOVE

After all, this is what you will be doing for the rest of your life. I've seen too many friends switch majors after a few years, because they just couldn't put themselves through it anymore. That's not fun, and it will likely set your graduation date back if you have to switch.

In most cases, it's worth pursuing a field that you love, even if your earning potential will be a bit lower. Try to picture yourself working in your field for 40 hours a week. If that sounds miserable, it's probably time to switch.

P.S. It is much easier to go to class and pay attention if you love what you're studying!

FIND SOME EXTRACURRICULARS

You probably joined a few clubs in high school, but just to use them as resume builders. You've already gotten into college, so now you should use clubs to meet other people! A university is a huge place, and you won't like everyone that you meet. Get out and join one of the hundreds of student organizations on campus. Whether you're interested in politics, foreign languages, sports, or anything else, there's probably a club dedicated specifically to that. Odds are, you'll make some friends that you never would have met otherwise.

Extracurriculars don't have to be related to school!  If you have a good group of friends, try and get out to see a concert or sporting event.
Extracurriculars don't have to be related to school! If you have a good group of friends, try and get out to see a concert or sporting event.

VOLUNTEER OR WORK PART-TIME

Sometimes, you need to get away from campus. You might as well be productive while you do that. Volunteering is a great way to help out a good cause in the community. I signed up at the local volunteer fire department, but there are lots of ways to get involved. Your university probably has an outreach program, where you can work on projects in the surrounding community. In lots of cities, there are also housing projects (like Habitat for Humanity) that are always looking for extra helping hands.

Maybe you'd rather make some extra spending money. You could tutor other students, wait tables at a local restaurant, or really anything around town. Whatever you choose, it should be a change of pace from your schoolwork -- you can de-stress while also broadening your horizons a bit.

Me and some guys on the volunteer fire department
Me and some guys on the volunteer fire department

APPLY FOR THINGS

Nobody will give you a job, summer internship, scholarship, etc. if you don't ask for it. As a freshman, you're probably not getting that internship with the FBI, so lower your expectations a bit. You may not realize it, but all of your professors do some sort of research in their spare time. At the very least, you can ask if there are any projects that you could help out with. They will almost always take extra help, and sometimes they can help you find interesting jobs in the future -- that's how I got my job for this summer, working in a physical acoustics center.

Having experience of any kind will be helpful later on when you're applying for more prestigious awards, internships, or even jobs.

Before you start sending out applications, check out my article on writing a resume or CV.

RELAX

Nobody goes through college without a few hiccups along the way. You might change majors multiple times, take a semester off to work/travel, or even fail a class or two. The important thing is to bounce back from your mishaps, gather yourself together, and keep pressing forward. Ask anyone above the age of 25. Every one of them has had to improvise, work odd jobs, or even relocate to a different city to get where they are today.

You're in school to learn, so try and learn from your own missteps. You'll make fewer and fewer of them as you go along, and you'll come away with some great stories.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      I add "It's OK to struggle." when I talk to my freshman. A peer amended that to "You should struggle, it's college."

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)