8 things I wish I knew before freshman year

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Jennifer Bennett | jbennett49@radford.edu

As my freshman year is coming to an end, I cannot help but look back on the year and think of all of the things I have learned this year and not just academically. There are many things that I wish I had known starting off my first semester of college.

All-nighters will happen so be prepared for them. There is a lot more work in college than you ever had in high school. No matter how on top of your assignments you are, there will be nights that you do not sleep. For me, I stopped sleeping around finals week. Finals are a lot harder than the finals that you had in high school. They require more effort and you cannot start studying at the last second and expect to pass your finals with the grade that you want.

With that being said, do not procrastinate on your assignments. I know how tempting it is to go to sleep for a couple of hours especially if you had very little sleep the night before, but take it from me that just puts you in a vicious cycle of going to sleep at 2 a.m. every night. Assignments tend to take longer than you think that they will, so by starting early you allow yourself additional time to figure out those more difficult assignments.

The first semester of college matters a lot. It is easier to get a high GPA your first semester and then maintain that GPA than it is to try to build it up over the semesters. The beginning of college is going to be the time that is the easiest. Most freshman take intro level classes for their major and some of the general requirements made by the university.

Getting off academics, do not bring too much with you when you move in to college – dorm rooms are very small and cramped. If you forget something essential, there is a Walmart really close to campus that you can go and get what you need. I made the mistake of bringing too much with me my freshman year. I thought since I lived four hours away I should be prepared for anything. I forgot about the times during the semester that I would be going home so I could switch some of the things out. For example, Thanksgiving break and winter break. Clothes however are a little bit different. Radford weather is very bipolar, so make sure that you have a bunch of different clothing options with you.

You will miss home more than you thought you would. I thought going into college that I could not wait for the freedom that was coming. I was very excited that I was able to make all of my own decisions, and I would not have someone ask me where I was every second. While those things were nice at first, I found out that I missed home a lot. I found myself calling home frequently just to get a little bit of comfort. Being on your own is a lot harder than I thought it would be when I first came to college. While it is nice to have a dose of independence, it is one of the best feelings ever going home.

You will most likely become closer with your parents when you leave home and when you have settled into your new life. I did not get along with my parents at all when I was living at home and I thought that it would be the same thing when I moved out, only I would be on my own. However, my mom is the one person that I call all the time when I need advice, need to vent, or am just missing home.

You will miss things about high school. You might not miss high school itself and all of the busy work assignments that came with it, however there are going to be things that you look back on fondly. Personally, there were some teachers that I had over the time in my high school that I miss very much. They were people I went to when I needed advice, and one of them was the reason I went into college as Journalism as my major. I of course miss all of my high school friends. Some of them I have not spoken to since I graduated high school, and others go to their own university hours away from me.

Lastly, fire alarms happen at the most convenient times. For those of you who are going to live in Muse, good luck. Some of my friends who lived in Muse last semester had consecutive fire drills at 2 or 3 a.m. Even if you are not in Muse, fire drills still happen more than you would like them to (somebody probably burned popcorn).

Overall, my freshman year was definitely something that I will never forget. College was the first time that I was on my own for a long period of time, and that definitely changed who I was as a person. These are things that I will carry on with me as I start my sophomore year this upcoming fall.