Rather than dull you with paragraphs upon paragraphs detailing the trials and tribulations of my freshman year of college, I thought I'd spare you all and go with a list format instead. Fun to write, fun to read, and a lot more concise, too. Enjoy!
1. If you don’t get along with your roommate, it’s okay to get out. I know from personal experience that it is VERY, VERY difficult to maintain any semblance of sanity or peace of mind in your own living space when you just don’t get along with the person you share that tiny cubicle of a dorm with. And rest assured, you aren’t the only one- I know a plethora of people who switched roommates second semester and were much, much happier as a result.
2. It’s perfectly okay to be homesick. It’s actually quite normal. Face it, everything that you grew up with, from your parents lecturing you to get better grades to fighting with your siblings over the remote, is all behind you. Some people adjust better than others, but for most, it takes a while before your life in college becomes what’s familiar. Be sure to maintain contact with friends and family back home, but don’t use them as a crutch or else you’ll miss out on the opportunity to fully assimilate yourself into the IU community.
3. Never ever be scared to ask for help or befriend a professor. They may seem intimidating, especially in those classes where you are just 1 out of 100-200 other students. But professors LOVE it when students take the initiative to come visit them during office hours (which can definitely be underutilized!) in order to seek help, ask a question, or even just chat. Establishing relationships with professors will help you take your education beyond the concepts you learned in the lecture hall. (Hey, might as well get the most bang for your tuition buck!) Not to mention that someday when you are job or internship hunting, these very same professors will be able to help you network and/or write you a recommendation letter!
4. Work hard in your studies, even if you’re not sure what you want to major in yet. Even if you are a University Division student, you must have a certain GPA in pre-requisite classes in order to gain admission to the school of your choice. If you were a hardcore procrastinator in high school, this is your chance to start fresh!
5. Take advantage of all the “for freshman only” activities! They are a fabulous way to make friends and memories early on in college. Not to mention, they almost always include free food and other goodies!
6. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone in order to make friends. I was at a call-out meeting for a student organization my freshman year and I simply said hi to the girl sitting next to me. We ended up chatting, exchanging numbers, and hanging out multiple times that semester. We also ended up in the same sorority, which is pretty awesome.
7. If you have ANY interest at all in Greek life, rush! Recruitment is not any sort of binding commitment and it’s a wonderful way to see whether or not Greek life is for you. Everyone I know involved in it (myself included) can chalk it up to be a one-of-a-kind, incredible experience that has been absolutely life changing.
8. Get involved early on. Check out the Student Involvement Fair in the IMU parking lot at the start of the school year. You can find an organization for just about any interest, talent, or career goal.
9. It’s okay to change your mind regarding what you want to do. Coming into college, I was convinced that newspaper or magazine writing was my calling. After that phase was over, I made a foray into the world of broadcast journalism. While I loved the hustle and bustle of a newsroom along with the pulsating energy, I realized that it just wasn’t for me. But you know what? That’s perfectly okay, because I know that I’m not bound for life right now. I’m exploring my options and hopefully will soon find what I can 100% say is what I want to do with the rest of my life.