Five Things I Wish I Knew as an Incoming College Freshman

Welcome to this amazing, stressful, wonderful journey called college! Buckle up for the next four (or more) years.

  1. Don’t buy your textbooks before the first day of class. You won’t need them until the second week at the earliest. And never pay the full price! Check Chegg, Amazon, or your campus bookstore for used or rentable copies. During my previous semester I bought one used textbook. That was it. Some professors will pressure you into buying them – especially if they wrote them. Other professors will be more relaxed, emailing you a (possibly illegal) PDF copy of the textbook. A lot of classes are lecture heavy, so don’t buy the book before you get a feel of the class. Trust me on this one!
  2. Get involved in SOMETHING on campus. This will make or break your college experience. There are plenty of ways to get involved in a campus organization. To find organizations you are interested in, I recommend walking around campus during the week before classes start. A lot of campus organizations and clubs refer to this as “Go Week” or “Welcome Week.” Don’t be nervous – they want you to take interest in their organization! As a student leader of a campus organization myself, my day is totally made when eager freshmen approach me with interest in joining my RSO (registered student organization). I joined the FSU Baptist Collegiate Ministry my first year at Florida State. Now, as a senior, I am the Vice President (where has the time gone?). I met several lifelong friends through BCM (including my roommates of two years and counting!) and have learned so many lessons about life, people, and Christ. If you’re an incoming freshman, I encourage you to get involved with a campus ministry, with Greek life (sororities and fraternities), student government, and other clubs (if you’re an FSU freshman, I’ll link some ways to get connected down below – GO NOLES!).
  3. Prepare yourself for parking on a college campus. Parking for my 11 AM Psychology class was the biggest test of my patience. This is a warning for all freshmen or students new to campus: PARKING IS AWFUL. If you’re living on campus, finding a parking space late at night after having dinner with your friends can be difficult. The designated overnight parking fills up fast. And yes, before you think about parking in that nice, open spot meant for day-time parking, you will get a citation. For students that are living off campus, like I do, I suggest scheduling that dreaded 8 AM class. I know it’s early. Limited parking makes you a morning person. The parking garages are going to be empty and you’ll find a parking spot quickly. I remember driving around Pensacola garage at 10 AM my freshmen year, calling my grandma on the phone and asking her to talk me down a metaphorical cliff. I’m dramatic but looking for parking sucks. There’s no way around it. Prepare yourself.
  4. Join a FIG – a Freshman Interest Group. This is the best decision I made as a college freshman! In order to get into a class I needed, my advisor recommended I join a Freshman Interest Group. A FIG is a one-hour class led by a senior or a graduate student. They give you a run-down of college life and things on campus. Your fellow FIG classmates are in at least two of your other classes, making FIGs a great way to establish friendships and find study groups. Plus, seeing a friendly face three to five times a week makes you feel less alone and more a part of the university. I met some of my best friends in my FIG! Even though we aren’t in the same classes anymore, we still make time to see each other and study.
  5. Work hard to maintain balance in your life. You’re on your own for possibly the first time in your life. Everything is exciting – you’re going out and exploring a new city with your new friends, you made a pact with your roommate to be each other’s maid-of-honor, you accidentally stayed up until 6 AM watching conspiring theory videos with people you just met, you slept through your Tuesday 8AM again, etc. Life is moves faster, the world looks brighter, and everything is yours for the taking. But don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. Your new friends aren’t going to leave you if you decide to stay in. They will most likely join you at the library if you need to study for an upcoming exam. Go out, have fun, but remember to make some time in your busy schedule to reflect on yourself. To sleep. To pray. To eat – this couldn’t be more important. Fight hard to stay in the middle of the college diet spectrum. Eat healthy, balanced meals throughout the day. Visit your campus counseling services if you need professional guidance or someone to talk to (if you’re an FSU student I will link these down below). They’re here to help you! Participate in campus intramural sports or sign up for a spin class (my personal favorite). Read a book on your campus green (Landis is lovely come October). Call your parents. They miss you. And you miss them, too. Your life at college is going to be amazing and full of adventure. But make sure you stop and take the time to live it.
Check out my WELCOME TO COLLEGE Spotify playlist!

How to Get Connected at Florida State University

I’m praying for you as you start this new adventure! Cherish every moment!

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