Things I Wish I’d Known My Freshman Year of College

college graduation freshman virginia tech

It’s my first fall back at home, which means that it’s finally hit me: I am done with college forever! It’s a bittersweet feeling, and one that I never thought would come… and yet here it is, faster than ever.

If you didn’t know, I spent my four years at Virginia Tech, in the small college town of Blacksburg in southwest Virginia. I’d always wanted to go to college in the city (I’d gotten into Northeastern, which was my dream school), but had unsurprisingly ended up at a state school where I ended up meeting the most incredible people, learning lessons I didn’t know I’d needed, and finding myself in more ways than one.

I hope that this post will be a short one, but there are so many things I wish I could tell my younger self! Here it goes.

  1. Try as many things as possible. Take this advice with a hint of caution, of course, but this is the first and only time in your life where you’re encouraged to spend your time in a billion different places. You’re supposed to find yourself here, and what better way to do this than to try it out? I always say that the worst that could happen is that you don’t like it, and even if that happens, you might make a friend or two in the process.
  2. Prioritize your life. Don’t let time slip away from you (even though it definitely will) without noticing. While it’s a time in your life where it’s okay to spend time just for yourself and socializing with others, make time for the important things, like studying, exercising, keeping in touch with your family and friends, and devoting an hour or two to the things you value most.
  3. People want to help you! Once you’re not a student anymore, it’s over. It didn’t hit me how many perks there are to being a college kid until I left! And I’m not just talking about using your student ID for discounts… even if I’ve already graduated #noshame. Reach out to people in your field, build connections, and don’t be shy! This is the time where people are excited for you and want to help you. You’ll find that some emails will forever go unanswered… but the ones who reply may just turn out to be your greatest mentors for years to come.
  4. Have an open mind. Whether you find yourself associating with a multicultural club, religious fellowship, athletic team, or Greek life, keep an open mind to everyone you meet. If your high school was anything like mine, you’ll find that many people you run into will be a part of many different organizations! People are mutli-faceted, and it’s a great thing when everyone learns to embrace it.
  5. Meet as many people as you can. Because I dipped my toes into so many different clubs and my major (multimedia journalism) literally made me go out and meet people, I built countless relationships and connections with lot of different people: from different clubs, backgrounds, and classes. It’s a great feeling when you run into someone you know every time you walk to class – and I went to a school of 35,000+ students! Don’t be afraid to just start up a conversation… take advantage of your freshman status! It’s a blessing, and even if you make awkward mistakes, people will think you’re adorable (or at least forgive you for it and forget).

For those reading this as you enter your freshman year, congratulations! Some of the most influential years of your life are about to start, and you’re going to make amazing memories. No matter how long you end up staying for college, remember: you only have one freshman year. Make the most of it 🙂

Reminiscing? Questions? Leave it in the comments below!