Freshman Survival Guide

When I arrived at college, I had a lot of misconceptions as well as a lot of fears about about I was going to experience over the next four years. I wish there had been someone there to give me advice. College is actually fun, but there are some things that all freshmen should know in order to be successful.

There is no one in college to tell you to get up every morning and go to class. Sometimes, it is tempting to skip. But you did pay for that class. Plus, you could very well miss some important information that will be on the next test. I went to a very small college and most of my professors actually took attendance. Every class was different but several of my professors allowed us to only miss two or three classes the entire semester. If any more classes were missed, than our grade would be dropped one letter grade. Some professors didn’t have that rule but they would actually raise your final grade if they knew you came to class every day. That is how I ended up with some A’s when I really got an A-. My history teacher didn’t care whether we came to class but she said she could tell who did come based on the test scores. People that went to class did better. She actually would review the class before the test and she was constantly letting test questions and answers slip. You benefit from going to class. If you do have to miss a class though, make sure you email your professor and ask them what you missed in class that way you will be ready for the next class.

Not only does going to class usually get you better grades, it also helps if you sit either in the front or the middle row (known as the T). People who sit in these seats typically get better grades because you are in the professor’s line of vision. I have found that sitting in the front also means the professor will learn your name faster. I like it when professors know my name. It makes me feel like they value me as a student as well as an individual.

My next piece of advice is to get enough sleep. It is hard to get to bed at a decent time as a college student. There is so much going on and there are so many people to hang out with. But not getting enough sleep can make it difficult to get up the next morning and go to class. One time, I had a roommate that was not getting enough sleep and it eventually caught up to her. I walked into our room at lunchtime one day to find that she was still in bed. I asked her if class had been cancelled and she started freaking out because she had missed her class. Going to class is important, remember? Get enough sleep!

Like I said, there is a lot to do at college. All college students should get involved in at least two activities. Not only will it make college more fun (college is more than just class and homework) but you also will get to meet some really cool friends that share similar interests as you. I made a mistake as a freshman by not getting involved right away. There were groups I wanted to try but I didn’t want to go because I didn’t know anybody. It wasn’t until I started going that I met people who became my friends.

With so much going on in college, how in the world can you have time for it all? Let me tell you, I took eighteen credits almost every semester, worked ten hours a week, and graduated in three and a half years. I was also involved in a couple of groups. I managed to get it all done by managing my time wisely. I took advantage of the hour or two I had between classes to get some homework done. I had to sometimes tell my friends that I couldn’t hang out until later that night. My day had to be planned just right so that I could get it all done. There were days that were stressful but if I didn’t have good time management, I never would have been successful.

Finally, take advantage of the resources your college offers. My school offered free tutoring. All a person had to do was show up to get help with a particular class. My school also had a writing help desk that helped with papers. They were English majors that would proofread our papers and offer advice. My English Comp professor kept telling me that I should have been in the honors class. It wasn’t all me though. I have the writing help desk to thank.

College is a huge adjustment at first. But if you go to class, sit in the front, get involved, mange your time wisely, and use the resources available, you will be successful.


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