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A look back – tips I wish I’d known freshman year

People say that college is the best four years of your life and while they’re not wrong, they forget to mention it also may be some of the hardest years. As a senior with less than three weeks till graduation I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. And this led me to share with y’all some tips for college I wish I had known my freshman year. These aren’t going to make your four years of college magically perfect, but I hope in some way they can help make it a little smoother.

This isn’t high school anymore

Whether you had an amazing high school experience and hate to part with all your friends, or high school was hell for you, you’ve now made it to college. Going away to college is a whole new ball park. You have freedoms like never before. There’s no one to nag you to go to class, clean your room or to get enough sleep. It’s all up to you! This can be exciting and liberating but it can also be tough. If you’re entering a college where you don’t know a lot of people it may be a bit lonely at times, but don’t worry, you will make friends.

  • Learn to be okay with being alone
  • Try new things and get out of your comfort zone a little
  • Keep your door open those first few weeks and meet who lives on your hall

Be yourself! This is probably the most important thing, not being in high school anymore will allow you to realize you don’t need to fit in. You will find people who are like you or like similar things as you. So whoever you are, whatever you like to do, embrace it and this will make your next four years so much better. (I’ll touch on this more below)


Some of my incredible squad

Utilize your resources

Universities are full of different resources. Resources ranging from travel fellowships, mental health services, academic assistance and any club you can imagine. For myself, I was able to travel to Europe for my first abroad experience completely funded by my university. I also was able to utilize UNC’s campus health counseling services to help process some difficult situations as well being diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. My time at UNC has been significantly impacted through these different resources so here are my tips. Also, if you want to read about some of my travel experiences here’s one of my favorites. 

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Explore different interests and passions
  • Travel – study abroad, apply for fellowships or simply on academic breaks travel somewhere new
  • Prioritize your health, both physical and mental

Little freshman, brunette me in Paris, France


Relationships, whether friendships, those with your family members or romantic ones, will all shift dramatically. Friends may come and go, but you will find people who will support and challenge you in these next four years.

Then there is family. They can be there to support you and build you up, but that’s not always the case. If this isn’t your situation, don’t stress about your family dynamic looking different from others, there’s always more than what meets the eye anyways.

Lastly there’s romantic relationships. These can be complicated, messy, heart breaking, and thrilling. So I’m going to focus my tips in this section on these relationships.

  • Know your worth and don’t let anyone diminish it
  • Stay off the apps, or don’t, but do what makes you comfortable.
  • Don’t let anyone pressure you into anything you’re not comfortable with
  • If you are in an abusive relationship whether physically, verbally, emotionally or sexually please seek help and use the resources around you
  • Find people you can both depend on and have fun with
  • Don’t compare your relationships to others

College is tough, but if you surround yourself with people you can be your complete weird self around, it’ll make it a whole lot easier. Each year I lost touch with some friends and made new ones. There are so many opportunities to meet people and develop new relationships so don’t stress too much about being single or not having a best friend right away.

college tips for freshman

My sweet rescue pup, Lucky and amazing s.o. Jack

Writing this post made me smile because college really has been some of the best years of my life. You only have four, possibly 5 to 6, years in college where there are a plethora of people who want to help you, know you and embrace you. So take advantage of it all and have a blast!

Hope these tips help and if you have anymore you’d like to share please let me know in the comments below!


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