Some of us go into college knowing exactly what we want to happen and how we’re going to do it. However, most of us are going in terrified and with a vague hope of what will happen over the next four years. As an incoming senior, I’ve learned a lot over the course of my college career and wanted to share some of the advice I wish I’d had going through these past years to (somewhat) prepare me for everything. No experience is the same for everyone but this is some advice I’d give to anyone going into college.
Me with one of my closest sorority sisters, Paige, at a photoshoot I organized for my sorority as PR Chair.
First and foremost, you will have to be involved in at least one organization during college - otherwise, how do you enrich the experience? Most of the time, freshmen will join a couple of clubs or orgs their first semester as a way to get started quickly. A mistake that a lot of those students make is not getting involved in the organization quickly enough, whether it’s participation, leadership, or positions. Trust me when I say that the people in that organization want you to get involved ASAP. That way, they know the future of their org will be in trustworthy hands.
Me with my freshman and sophomore year roommate, Sydney, who is still one of my best friends.
Picking a roommate(s) for your first year of college is exciting, but comes with pressure to pick someone you think will become your best friend. But what a lot of people don’t think about are the right questions to ask. For example, you need to be asking people if they are clean and organized if that’s what you like to live in. Asking potential roommates if they would want to go to the gym with you every week is not asking the right questions. Make sure you and your roommate are on the same page about things like chores, bringing back friends, etc. Open communication is also key to having a great roommate.
There is a very delicate balance between social time, school time, and your own personal time. There’s not really a set pattern or guide for how to properly balance it but luckily freshman year is the test run. Your friends might not have the same amount of time or mindset for getting everything done on time, but if you stick with your schedule and routine, life will become much less stressful and easier to manage. I recommend getting a schedule or day planner and keeping track of everything you need to get done. Once you do, put a checkmark next to it and enjoy some free time. Balance is key.
High school is when we as teenagers start to test the ropes of our independence from our parents. College is kind of the final test on that topic. It comes with a huge amount of trust from your family as well as trust in yourself that you’re ready for the next chapter. Having your own independence also means finding out who you are and what you like. Try new hobbies to fill your time or meet new people.
Oof. The dreaded topic of relationships. This is difficult to touch on because everyone has a different belief or understanding of what they want in college. For some, it’s nothing too serious. Others are looking for their soulmate. Ultimately, the best advice I could have gotten was don’t try too hard to get a guy who isn’t worth it. It may seem like it in the moment, but you probably deserve better than some random guy you met at a bar or party or even class. You’re in college for four years - don’t waste too much of that precious time on a guy who doesn’t make you feel like a goddess. And if you do meet a guy that makes you feel like that, live your best life with him.
Preparing For After Graduation
Even as a freshman, it’s smart to start thinking about what post-graduation looks like for you, especially because it makes planning out the timeline way easier. For example, start looking at internships or possible opportunities that you would want in the future. Sometimes, you can do two internships if you plan it right. Make sure your professors for your major know who you are; building those relationships will equal connections and letters of recommendation for grad school, jobs, internships, etc.
Even though this year of college might not be as normal as we were hoping, be sure to be safe about Covid-19 and follow safety guidelines. The sooner everyone is safe and making smart decisions, the faster we’ll be able to go back and get the college experience we deserve!
Xx, Elena Golubovich
Ohio University, Alpha Delta Pi