Saturday, June 22, 2013

Advice for Upcoming College Freshmen

High school is SO different from college. When you make the transition from being a high school senior, to being a college freshman.. there is so much that you have to learn, and completely on your own. Now that i'm an upcoming senior in college, here are a few things I wish someone would've told me before I began.

1. Learn to Manage Your Time
People will try to drill this into your brain a billion times and you still won't do it. You MUST, MUST, MUST decide what is important and what isn't. Partying isn't important. Let me repeat that: PARTYING ISN'T IMPORTANT. Buy a planner. Color code your classes in a different pen color. I get this weird invigorating feeling when I complete something and I get to highlight through it in my planner. I'm kind of an OCD dweeb when it comes to my planner. Like I actually use white-out in it. Another super nerdy thing that I do: Every night before I go to bed, I write out a schedule for the next day. Like "8:00-Wake Up. 9:00-Leave For Class. 10:30-Pathophysiology class 12:00-1:00 Lunch Break.." etc. That way, every day when I wake up, I know how much free time i'm going to have that day (or how much I won't), and I won't forget to do something. You don't have to be this nerdy and picky with your schedule, but it helps SO much. Don't put things off until the last minute. If you have a paper due, start on it over a week ahead of time. Do a paragraph per night and that way, you can rest the night before it's due, and it won't sound like complete crap. If you have a test coming up, don't just cram the night before. You have to study periodically in order for the information to transfer from your short term memory to your long term memory. If you're trying to take a test with information stored in your short term memory, excuse my language, but you're going to be screwed. I know because i've been there. I'm a major crammer. Time management is so important because it shapes your entire college experience. 

2. Remember Your Reason For Being There
Ahem. I'm going to step on my soap box for a moment. 
You aren't in college to have fun.
You aren't in college to see if you can join the best sorority/fraternity on campus.
You aren't in college to find a husband.
You aren't in college to see how many beers you can funnel in one minute. 
You aren't in college to win homecoming queen. 
You aren't in college to attend all of the hottest parties. 

You're in college to build your career. 
You're in college to shape your future.
You're in college so that you can help support a family one day.
You're in college because someone, somewhere has made that sacrifice for you.
You're in college to learn, to improve, to better yourself.

So many people forget the true reason why they're in college. That's when they start going out too much, missing class (or going completely hungover and half asleep), and failing. Please, please, PLEASE remember why you're there. It's okay to have fun. Just prioritize. 

3. Get Along With Your Roommate(s)
Oh my word. I'm speaking on this from experience. First of all, do not, and I mean DO NOT choose to room with your middle school/high school best friend. You will ruin your friendship. You may not think so, but it happens way too often. Room with someone that's a mutual friend, someone you barely know, or do roommate matching. If you don't get along with your roommate(s), you're going to be miserable. You'll fight over the thermostat, you'll fight when each other has company over, you'll fight over dish duty, you'll fight over one of you eating the other one's food, you'll fight over who's making too much noise while the other is sleeping, you'll fight over your pets, you'll fight over almost anything. Living with someone isn't easy. I know first-hand. Just be careful. Set ground rules from the beginning about having friends over, cleaning, etc.

4. Get Involved.
No, I don't mean frequent your local college bar so much that the bartender remembers your favorite drink. Get involved in clubs. Volunteer. Go to your local animal shelter and ask if they need any volunteers or help with adoption days. Join clubs that interest you. Play on an intramural team. Make friends. Make at least one friend in every one of your classes so that you have someone to call when you miss class or need help.. trust me, this is SO beneficial. Just make sure it's mutual and that you offer to help that person as well. Improve your resume. Volunteer hours and involvement in clubs/extracurricular activities are so important. 

5. Fight The Freshman 15
I didn't gain the freshman 15. I gained the sophomore 7 when I went off to Tuscaloosa for a year. The worst part about this is, most of you won't even realize you're gaining weight. I surely didn't. I also didn't have a scale. It was hard for me to stay healthy when our Jimmy Johns in Tuscaloosa delivered 24/7. I was calling in a number 4 with no tomatoes at about 2am most nights. A little tip for you is: Eat a healthy breakfast and don't eat after 9pm. Avoid white bread and fast food. Park farther away from your classes and walk. Or if you live close to your classes, walk the whole way. If it's a nice day, go for a run around campus. You have free membership at your campus recreation center..take advantage of that. Carve out an hour of your schedule everyday to workout. I PROMISE you won't regret it.

6. Find Cheap College Text Books
Amazon and Ebay are life savers. End of story. 

7. Manage Your Stress Positively
I was the worst at this. If I got one bad grade, I would beat myself up over it for weeks. I would literally cry. If you fail a test, study harder for the next one. If you don't do well on a test, email the professor to set up an appointment so that you can review your test. That way, you know what you missed and you're able to learn and interact with your teachers. They'll LOVE that you're putting in an effort to improve. Nothing worth having comes easy. A's make you feel SO awesome, but if you want A's, you've got to work hard for them. Let me repeat that... Nothing worth having comes easy. Make your parents proud. Don't beat yourself up over a mistake. Go for a run. Take a relaxing bath. Go buy yourself a new outfit. If you stress, it's only going to make things worse. Stay positive :)

8. Get To Know Your Professors
I know, this sounds stupid.. but it's so beneficial. On the first day of class, if it's a huge class of people in a lecture hall, go up and introduce yourself afterwards. It's important for your teacher to know who you are. If you have questions, email them. Talk to them. If you see them outside of class, go up and speak. Also, ATTEND CLASS. At the end of the semester when you're on the border of being one letter grade up.. they aren't going to want to offer you extra credit if they don't even know your name or they never saw you in class. Be a suck up. You'll appreciate it at the end of the semester when you need a little boost. My anatomy teacher bumped me up an entire point and a half at the end of the semester when I needed it simply because I was in class every day and asked questions. 

9. Choose The Right Major
If you're anything like me, you'll change your mind a thousand times on "what you want to be when you grow up." I went from Nursing, to Pre-Med, to Criminal Justice, and now i'm back into Nursing and i've just started Nursing School this semester. Choosing your major is actually quite simple. Do what you love. If you love science and the human body, go into the medical field. If you're artsy or a great writer, and creative, do something that relates more to that area. If you're interested in the legal system and politics, go into that route. Here is the most important tip relating to your major: DO NOT CHOOSE A MAJOR BASED ON YOUR FUTURE SALARY. Yes, your income is important. But if you choose to pursue a career in the medical field because of your future paychecks, then I don't want you taking care of MY family. Major in something you're PASSIONATE about. Nursing interests me. I have two nieces who were in the NICU for a long time before being able to go home and a grandfather who passed away in the hospital with pancreatic cancer. The nurses reached out to my family, cared for my family members like they were their own, and were so passionate in their job field. I want to be that way. I want to make a difference. I want to be the person to hug the family members when their mother or father or child doesn't make it. It's my passion. Find yours. If you're doing something you truly love, you won't feel like you're truly "working" a single day of your life.

10. Don't Ever Forget Who You Are
This is the single most important thing on my entire list. Don't lose yourself when you get into college. If you join greek life, don't lose your originality. And if someone won't accept your originality, you shouldn't compromise who you are in order to satisfy them. Do what you love, be who you are, and be proud of it. Don't ever let anyone dull the shine that God gave you. 


  1. These are excellent insights! My son is applying to several bible colleges, and he is extremely excited and nervous for his first year of school. I'll have to send him the link to this post. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I just happened upon your blog, looking for ideas on what to say to my daughter tonight, depending upon the outcome of bid day at her university. I'm so very sorry you had such a bad experience; I'm hoping my daughter's experience turns out like she wants. I know that in the south( I grew up in Houston, Tx.) at the bigger universities, sororities seem to be very cutthroat and stereotypical, probably one of the big reasons I chose not to rush when I was in college, among some of the other reasons you listed. There are some houses like that at my daughter's school, but others seem to value the more important things in life. I guess we'll find out for sure, this evening.

    Anyway, I just felt compelled to comment after reading some of your entries. You seem to be a strong young lady, who has a very good sense of who you are. You will go far in life! But my heart still aches for you because of the cruelty you were subjected to, at the hands of others, and for the girls in my daughter's recruitment group, that did not get any invites back yesterday. I don't like the process of recruitment at all, although I'm also at a loss on how to improve it. You certainly have some wise words for young ladies going through these experiences..........and their mothers! Thank you for taking the time to write about your experiences and share your advice : )

    1. I'm so sorry I'm just getting back to you. I rarely check my comments because I've been so busy with nursing school. Thank you so much for the encouraging words! I do wish your daughter the best in her Greek selection, and I pray that she has a far better experience than I did. I'm one of those people who has to try everything at least once in order to get my feel of it. So far, going Greek is the one choice I regret most. I unfortunately had to disable the comments section on that particular blog because of how ugly the sorority girls were being (imagine that!). But I really appreciate you writing me. It always makes my day!
      Thank you,
      Hope Rodriguez