Last Updated: May 29, 2015
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 can.
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!