Surviving Freshman Year of College: Advice for Students from Students

Even the most confident of students get nervous about freshman year. That's why we went straight to the source -- current students -- to get their advice on how to how survive your first year of college.

So, what’s the key to kicking butt and taking names in college? Bonding with your professors? Getting enough sleep? Subsisting on energy drinks and Doritos? Turns out, it’s a little bit of everything . . . except for the living off of energy drinks and Doritos; that’s not a good plan.

We asked current college students to share their top tips for surviving and thriving freshman year, so keep reading if you’re a soon-to-be newbie—or if you just still feel like one (and, trust, we all do sometimes).

"Take full advantage of student services like career advising, free therapy, and tutoring. Your college years are the only time in your life when you are surrounded by people wanting you to succeed and providing all the resources for you to do so." — Amanda Creech, Senior, Trevecca Nazarene University

“Network, network, network. I cannot stress this enough. Your first years in college are actually the easiest to network than any other semester in college. Why is that? Everyone is new. Almost 90% of your classmates that are taking general core classes are freshmen as well. So start talking to them!. . . My personal experience is networking almost instantly the minute I got into college. I have a plethora of friends now who are in all different fields. I've realized that the friends that are the hardest to make would be the juniors and seniors because they're already surrounded by friends. I realized that if I caught them younger in their college years, it would've definitely been easier.” — Mark Anthony, Senior, CUNY—Hunter College

“My #1 tip would be to get to know your professors. Not only can it keep you on track, but it helps to develop a sense of security if midterms and finals start to get overwhelming. A lot of people recommend joining college clubs or social groups, but as a fairly introverted individual, I found that task difficult. However, meeting and staying in touch with my peers helped tremendously. Your first couple years in college, you're surrounded by kids with all different majors. Once you hit your junior and senior years, you'll be in classes with the same 30 people over and over again. Knowing people throughout campus will help socially but also give you a nice network later in life.” — Kasey Lind, Virginia Commonwealth University

“My tip for freshmen would be to get involved in as many activities as they can! Also, focus on academics and do well the first year, because classes only get harder after the freshman year. Finally, I would also tell freshmen not to be scared to ask for help if they need it.” — Nihar Suthar, Junior, Cornell University

Explore your interests and be open to new opportunities! Freshman year is the best time to put yourself out there and find what you love to do. Make sure you ask lots of questions and learn from your peers. I also suggest being super organized right from the start to get oriented with your new classes.” — Katie Nunner, Junior, Ohio Wesleyan University

"Freshman year is fun, and you get to make tons of new friends, but don't forget to study and do your homework. Getting an education is the reason you're in college. Whether you're paying for college [or] you've got tons of scholarships, loans, or funds from your parents, remember that you are in college to learn things. Be safe, do your homework, and live a little. Time flies faster than you think." — Sarah Crane, Senior, Trevecca Nazarene University

Find the best study spot for you. The library at my school has a range 
of study spaces, from the dim, deathly quiet ‘dungeon’ to the bright, noisy ‘green room,’ and everything in between. I personally need some sort of activity around me to keep me focused, but some of my friends need pin-drop silence. Try a few different places and routines so you figure out what works best.” — Ilana Kruger, Junior, Brandeis University

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