Tips for Freshman Year of College

Going away to college this fall? Freshman year might seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. Read on for some spot-on advice from someone who's been there.

A few months ago, we asked current college juniors and seniors to share their top tips for surviving and thriving freshman year. And they did not disappoint! One young lady, a junior at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, actually sent us so many good ideas, we couldn’t choose our favorite—that’s why we’re posting them all.

Listen to Ilana, you guys. She knows what’s up! Without further ado, her top tips for surviving freshman year of college:

Get involved (but not too involved)

It might sound clichéd, but clubs, teams, and groups are 
great ways to meet new people and make friends. My one caution is not to 
sign up for every club that tries to get your attention at an activities 
fair. Pick a few key activities, whether it’s something you were involved with in
 high school or something you've always wanted to try or something out of your 
typical comfort zone.

Keep your room a peaceful, welcoming environment

Even if you don't mesh
 perfectly with your roommate, addressing concerns early on can help
mitigate later tensions. I had a negative experience with a roommate 
last year, and since I kept quiet, my room became an uncomfortable place for 
me. Communication is key here. You don't have to become best friends with
 your roommate, but try to get comfortable enough with them to speak up
 when something is bothering you.

Take advantage of free resources on campus

Most colleges have free or cheap performances and concerts on campus, which are great ways to 
hang out with friends and take a break from studying. Some college gyms 
offer free fitness classes, which saves a costly gym membership off campus
and means you can further avoid the "freshman 15." I had never tried Zumba 
before, but my friends dragged me freshman year and now I go as often as I

Don't slack on personal care

Even during finals season, you still need 
to sleep and eat properly. Trust me, all-nighters and junk food aren't
 going to help you ace calculus. I find it helpful to write out a weekly and daily
 schedule (or you could use your phone). That way I know what my goals are and I can 
plan ahead so that I don't fall behind on work.

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.

Keep in touch but stay in the present

If you are always on the phone or texting your BFF from home, you might
 miss out on making connections with your new friends at school—your new home.

Anything you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments!

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