Words of Wisdom for Freshmen

By Cynthia Martinez on July 4, 2012

Photo by Anna Gutermuth


Transitioning to college is difficult for many Freshmen. It is the first time they will be away from their family and friends, have to feed themselves, do laundry, and find motivation to attend those 9 a.m. classes. This is a lot for any 18 year old to handle, but don’t stress just yet. I was in your shoes this time last year and had no idea what to expect, but somehow I made it. Along the way I learned a lot of things, some of which I would like to share with you. Here are a few words of advice for your Freshman year of college.

1. Make Your Dorm Your Sanctuary

This is the place you will be spending a majority of your time. The best thing you can do is make it feel like home. Bring pictures, pillows, speakers, candles (if allowed), or anything else to help make you comfortable. If you are living with a roommate, be sure to communicate with them. Discuss the things that are important like: what time you wake up, how you both like to study, and what you do in your free time. This is extremely necessary or else conflicts will arise, which could cause you to live in an awkward environment for 8 months.

2. Go to Class!

It may seem simple now, but let me warn you, with college comes laziness. So, do everything you can to make it to class because it is important. I’ve seen close friends fail classes because they wanted to sleep instead of attend a lecture. Good advice for those of you who are not morning people is to have your first class after 9 a.m. This doesn’t mean you should schedule your classes after 4 o’clock either, because honestly who wants to be in class late on a Friday? If you’re one of those students who thinks you won’t miss anything in class, you eventually will. Professors are infamous for giving out pop quizzes when multiple students are missing. Trust me, your life will be ten times easier is you attend your classes (even boring lectures). It will pay off in the end.

3. Ask For Help

College homework is difficult and can add up at times. You might have 2 lab write ups and a research paper all due within the same week. This is stressful but you should know there is always help. College professors are a good place to start when you need help understanding difficult concepts. They, however, may not always be available. If for some reason you can’t reach one of your professors, always know there are more ways to get help. Teaching assistants and tutoring centers are extremely helpful resources when you are having difficulties with papers or homework problems. These resources are useful to you due to the fact that you can ask questions whenever you need to, get hands on help in solving any problem, and best of all, they’re free! Professors, teaching assistants, and tutoring centers are on college campuses for a reason. Be sure to take advantage of them.

4. Beware of the “Freshman 15″

The “Freshman 15″ can happen, but is not unavoidable when it comes to your first year of college. A good thing to remember is that moderation is key. No one is going to be looking over your shoulder in college so be sure to make good food choices.Even though the dessert line may be the most appealing thing in student cafeterias, remember it is the worst for you. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat desserts but try and eat some things that aren’t drowned in calories. For those of you that are not so good at watching what you eat there are still ways to avoid gaining weight. The best way you can watch your weight while eating the things you love is to work out. Most campuses are equipped with free gyms for their students. If your college is one of these campuses, be sure to take advantage of it as much as possible. A good tip I can give you is to make a weekly gym routine that works around your class schedule, that way you won’t have any excuse to gain those unwanted pounds. Even if you go to a college without a gym you can find a weekly routine that works for you, go for a run around campus or join a nearby gym, any little bit counts. Nobody wants to gain weight, especially college students, so find what works for you and stick with it. For more ways to avoid the “Freshman 15″, be sure to read these tips.

5.Get Involved

No matter what you’re interested in, whether it’s music, theater, sports, business, or just socializing, it is important to get involved on campus. You are bound to find something you’d like to get involved in since college campuses have multiple student organizations to choose from. UIC for example has over 200 student clubs and organizations. These were not easy to choose from at first, but with time I found Greek life was the best fit for me. If Greek life isn’t for you, join an intramural sports team or become involved in school politics. No matter what you’re interested in, get involved! I cannot stress enough how much more enjoyable your college experience will be if you get involved. You will meet new people, learn about yourself, and ultimately have fun.

Hopefully these 5 advice tips will be useful during your first year of college. The first year of college may seem nerve-racking, but really it is an exciting journey. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Have fun and be safe.

Hi I'm Cynthia and am currently a sophomore at UIC. I am an English major and hope one day to work for either newsprint or radio. I hope writing for Uloop will strengthen my writing skills and be interesting to whoever is reading.

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