Throughout the past two years of mine at Indiana University, I have learned many lessons that will help me in life, physically, socially, and emotionally. Being someone from a small town with 12,000 people, coming to a huge school like Indiana seemed to be frightening at first. Quickly, I learned that it is what you make it. Here are some of the tips and tricks that I learned during my freshman year that I figured may be useful to pass down to you:
1. Learn to explore
College is designed to fill your mind with new ideas and concepts. Let Welcome Week do what it was designed to do. Don’t be afraid of what you can’t see or what you don’t think you can do. Anything is possible as long as you say it is. I would have never learned so many things in my life had I stayed content with myself. I am writing this post from Sydney, Australia (Pictured), because I learned that the only way to live is to attempt to see it through the eyes of others.
2. Don’t assume
The number one problem, in my opinion, with all college students, and especially freshmen, is that they assume everything. Don’t judge what it will be like moving from home to the dorm. I had a great experience! Don’t assume what people do either! Whether it is what you think someone thinks about you or whether you are thinking that you know what someone else wants, odds are is that they will be less offended if you just ask them instead of assume something that could easily be resolved. This one was a tough one for me.
3. Be careful in your “extracurricular activities”
By this, I mean partying. Partying is a blast and can be the most fun you have in a long time, but do yourself a favor and don’t do it in an idiotic way, especially during Little 5 or Orientation Week. I have had multiple friends of mine who are been caught drinking at the tailgates or at parties as a minor. Be careful and stay with a good friend the whole time. NEVER GO OFF ALONE!!
4. Remember where you came from
This one is a huge one. Your small town (mine pictured) or big city can have many lessons to teach you. Although after graduating you say in your head, “I can’t wait to leave this stupid town,” you will quickly learn that it isn’t that bad after all. Just remember your beginnings and be humble. Nothing will piss someone off more than rubbing in how much money your parents make or how you came from a rich town. Just don’t do it. This is key to getting along with your new roommate.
5. Find a hobby you enjoy
This may seem clichéd, but it’s true. Find something you enjoy doing, and I will bet that there are others on this campus that like the same exact things you do. This will build huge friendships! For example, all my friends and I are typically from small town Indiana and like to go to the range. There is always something! No matter how minor.
6. Have fun but know your limits
Just learn what the lines of the SOLO cups mean. Seriously, they mean something. Google it.
7. Find a role model
Make your goals a reality by finding someone, alive or deceased, and base yourself on their morals. It will help you out some much. For example, mine is German COL Claus Von Stauffenberg. He put his morals above personal gain. Find someone who works out for you.
8. Be a role model
If you want to go far in life, you need to have people who want to look up to you no matter how old they are. I have friends who I taught how to swim and coached them, and they now look up to me for advice and tips of anything. Just know that you are always being watched, and people are looking up to you to be a leader.
9. Learn that not everyone wants to be your friend
This is a true fact. Don’t take it personally! Everyone is looking for certain aspects for friends. Just don’t be offended if you don’t have a few of them. We are all different, and that is what makes us unique.
10. Learn that not everyone needs to be your friend
Just think about it, would you rather have 400 friends who you barely know and trust or 10, literally that you would trust your life to (Pictured). I’m not saying it isn’t possible, just that you will know when you have found your best friends
11. Get out of your comfort zone
Almost everything is brought back to that simple statement. You will never learn or grow in life unless you learn to deal with being uncomfortable. Try new things. There will be many times in your college career where you say, “I never thought I would like that.” Trust me, I do it almost every day.
12. Don’t try to always be right
I learned this one the hard way. With people everywhere, they just won’t see your logic most of the time. Arguing without logic is pointless. Don’t try to always prove yourself right. You are just going to make an idiot of yourself sooner or later.
13. Conquer your fears
Being at IU, I have had the opportunity to do that that involved my biggest fears. Here is why. If I didn’t chose my major, I wouldn’t have had the awesome opportunity to be in Australia. Here, I am planning on SCUBA Diving(Pictured), Skydiving, and Bungee Jumping. I hate hate hate open water and falling. I have been on 11 dives in my life and it becomes easier each time. Skydiving will be a first. But the point is, get out there. Do the things that scare the crap out of you. It gives you an incredible thrill and you gain an extreme amount of confidence.
14. Be a servant to the people
Find a way to get out and volunteer. It is that plain and simple. It looks incredible on a resume and the people you meet will blow your mind! They can be some of your best friends. Plus, the whole point of us being alive is to find a way to provide a good or service to our peers.
15. Find those like you
They are out there. Just be yourself and they will be put in the right place for you to find them. Trust me, I had the same doubts that I would have a hard time making friends. They are there!
16. Remember that everyone can see your social media
If you want a job or have one, censor your media. Seriously. You look stupid.
17. Trust is earned
Don’t ever renig on a promise. I have done it and it does nasty things for both sides of the coin. Just do what you say and say what you do.
18. You won’t keep all your friends
They will come and go. It is just a part of life. Accept it and learn that your true friends will always have your back.
19. Find classes you like and will actually attend
Nothing sucks worse than an 8am Monday or Friday. Just do yourself a favor and think through your schedule before you finalize choosing classes. Check on RateMyProfessor or another similar site to make sure that you prof isn’t a waste of matter and oxygen. There are those out there.
20. Academics come first
Remember why you are there first. You can’t party as a student if you were kicked out for academic reasons. It really is that simple.
21. Be who you are
This is the summary of everything. Just be you and everything will work out. Don’t try to impress others, because they want to see the real you. I learned that early and have never been happier.
P.S. During the first week of classes, don’t walk around with a map or schedule. You will look like an idiot. Pull it up on your phone if you have to!
Thanks for reading, and I hope that you have found at least one piece of advice in there that is worth your time. Just remember, that it is a fantastic school and you get out of it what you put in. If you have any questions about the school or anything at all, please feel free to email me.
International Studies | Eastern Europe
Delta Sigma Phi | Army ROTC
SANS Military/ ROTC Liaison
“And that government of the People, by the People, and for the People, shall not perish from the Earth.”
~President Abraham Lincoln