Dos And Don’ts for Freshman Year of College

college students wearing backpacks walking toward building

As we grasp on to the final days of summer vacation, our inbox fills up with emails from professors and back-to-school retail promotions. For some of us, the idea of going back to school is simply routine and not a big deal. This is not the case for everyone, especially incoming college freshmen, who have no idea what the hell is going on. If you’re about to take on your first year of post secondary school, then here’s a few freshman year dos and don’ts that might save you from totally screwing it up. (Just kidding, you’re gonna be fine!) 

Do: Create A Schedule / Calendar

Freshman year is going to be filled with wild and exciting adventures. Unfortunately, it will also be filled with less exhilarating tasks, such as assignments and exams. It’s important to create a schedule that reminds you of any upcoming activities or assignments you have, so you can find a healthy balance of work and play. This way you’ll avoid 3am study grinds because you forgot about your Friday morning quiz. 

Don’t: Skip Deadlines 

Missed deadlines were a large contribution to my less than admirable freshman year grades. You might have had high school teachers who were slightly more lenient when it came to due dates, but this probably isn’t going to be the case in college. Professors will be very harsh when grading late assignments, and sometimes they won’t even accept work at all when it’s past due. Try to get homework done at least a few days before it’s due and save yourself the stress! 

Do: Find friends with similar interests 

One of the most exciting parts about heading off to college is knowing that there’s so many potential friends waiting to meet you! I would highly recommend using this opportunity to be more selective about who you choose to hang out with. Rather than sticking with the first group of people you happen to meet first, find people who genuinely make you feel accepted and appreciated. 

Don’t: Put yourself in dangerous situations 

Coming from a young woman who experienced numerous uncomfortable situations throughout my college years, I want to remind you to stay safe. If you do not think you’re in a good environment, don’t be scared to leave. One college party is not worth putting yourself in danger. In addition, never leave your drink unattended. If you accidentally do, throw it out! 

Do: Try out new things! 

Freshman year can be scary, and it’s not always easy to put yourself out there. However, I promise you will regret not trying out new things. Don’t let fear stop you from living your freshman year to the fullest. This doesn’t mean you need to join the school dance team or sign up for karaoke night. If you’re not super comfortable putting yourself out there, start out small. Maybe your college has a campus trivia night or there’s a school club that aligns with your interests! 

Don’t: Be scared of “freshman 15”

If you haven’t heard of “freshman 15,” it refers to the idea of gaining 15 pounds during your freshman year of college. It’s usually an outcome of stress, excessive drinking, or taking advantage of the all you can eat meal hall buffet. No matter what the source is, it doesn’t really matter! It’s a normal thing for your body to change. And as long as you’re prioritizing your health and not harming your body, enjoy those extra few pounds. Almost all of my friends, including myself, took part in the freshman 15, so it’s nothing to feel bad about!

Freshman year is full of so many unknowns, which can be super exciting…and also a little scary. As long as you stay focused, remain open-minded, and prioritize your well-being, you’ll come out the other end just fine. 


Written by: Emma Cooke

Instagram: @emmakooke

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