Whether it’s crushes, classes or coed bathrooms on your mind, chances are you’ve already started stressing about your freshman year of college. But don’t worry! This collegiette has been there and done that, and she’s passing along her hard-earned wisdom to you lucky pre-collegiettes. Whether you’re daunted by your packing list (you do not need a label maker, promise), college-level classes (Wikipedia is your new best friend), making friends (easier than it sounds) or running into a one-night stand (honestly, just run the other way), Sophie’s likely encountered it all. Just sit back, relax and let her share the best advice she’s picked up along the way.
What are some good goals to set for yourself when you enter college?– Gwendolyn
I love that you’re so focused on getting the most out of your college experience! The goals you make should be tailored toward the particular things you’re hoping to get out of the next four years, but there are definitely some more general goals that I think every collegiette should keep in mind when starting college:
1. Push yourself to make the dean’s list each semester.
Regardless of what kind of student you were in high school, college academics are a whole different ball game, and it’s important to do well in your classes (these are the grades that future employers will see!). A dean’s list is basically an honor roll rewarding consistently good grades, but the actual GPA cutoff to make this list is different at every school. At my college, for instance, in order to make the dean’s list, a student must have a semester GPA of 3.30 or higher.
I recommend checking out your schools dean’s list requirements, writing the required GPA on a sticky note and taping it to your desk or your dorm room mirror. A little daily reminder of your academic goals can give you the extra push you need to hold off on watching True Blood until your problem set is finished!
2. Get involved in at least one extracurricular activity.
Now that we have the obligatory “set a goal to get good grades” spiel out of the way, we can move on to the more exciting aspects of college life, extracurriculars being one of them!
If you ran track in high school, sign up for the intramural cross-country team or check out track and field tryouts. Clubs are a great place to make friends, and it’s awesome to feel like you’re a part of a smaller community within your college. On graduation day, you’ll be glad you gave so many activities a shot, even if you did end up spraining your ankle at a particularly embarrassing field hockey tryout (I take no responsibility for any injuries incurred while you are following my advice).
3. Learn to do all the things that other people used to do for you.
For me, this was an embarrassingly long list, but it included things like doing my own laundry, being able to crush a bug (legitimately my greatest fear), making sure I get enough fruits and veggies, putting together IKEA furniture… the list goes on. If you need something to do this summer in between getting your tan on and binge watching Pretty Little Liars, I suggest brushing up on some basic survival skills.
That being said, there’s no shame – I repeat, no shame – in calling your mom from the laundry room to ask how you should be washing your favorite jeans (turn them inside out and air dry, for the record).
4. Take at least one class that has nothing to do with your major.
As an English major, I pretty much start hyperventilating at the thought of a chemistry lab, and I have an irrational fear of physics, but I made a point of taking a math class my freshman year to prove to myself that I could do it (okay, it was also to fill a distribution requirement).
I was so proud of myself when I finished that class, and it was surprisingly nice to take a break from reading George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf to focus on algebra. Plus, it was nice to meet new people I never would’ve run into in an English class (and now I can calculate the cost of a discounted item in my head, no iPhone calculator required!).
The point is, you’ll spend most of your four years focusing on a specific subject area, so don’t be afraid to mix it up with an unexpected class while you have the chance!
5. Make a point to go to at least five school sporting events.
I’ll never forget the look on my dad’s face when he visited me during my freshman-year spring semester and I told him that I had yet to attend a single sporting event. Whether you go to a huge sports school or a tiny liberal-arts college, checking out a few games tends to bring out the school spirit you never knew you had, and you’ll feel more camaraderie with your fellow students (plus, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get some motivation to hit the gym).
There will never be enough time to check out everything that’s going on at college, so it’s important to ask yourself what you want to get out of your college experience, whether it’s a 4.0 GPA or making a dent in your bucket list. Of course, a lot will change during the next four years, and it’s totally fine (and normal!) for your goals to change. Just as long as you keep making new goals and honing in on what you want your college experience to be, you’ll be all set. Good luck!