Now that I’m starting my sophomore year and leaving behind the stress, anxiety, and uncontrollable nature of freshman year, I am ready to begin the semester with a new, clean slate. Still, I can’t help but sympathize with the new group of freshmen who will, unfortunately and undoubtedly, encounter the same struggles I faced last year.
That said, here is a list of things that all freshman girls should know, whether they are attending a large school or a small school, rushing or not rushing, training for a team, or watching Netflix.
1. There will, without fail, be at least one night on campus you do not remember.
Three shots leads to 13 shots. One beer leads to a keg stand. Throughout the course of the night, you will get caught up in the adventure of all things high school students long for: the college party.
Fact: It’s one night. It will seem like the worst thing that’s ever happened to you since your middle school haircut when you wake up the next morning. Give it two weeks, until some other girl does the same embarrassing thing, and no one will remember. Put on your big girl pants and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. In reality, you screwed up, sure. But so what? It’s not like no one has ever been in your shoes before. Embrace the next weekend like the previous one never happened–just make sure you know what you’re doing this time.
2. There is going to be a guy.
I don’t care if you’re a hopeless romantic or a one-night stand kind of girl. You will meet a guy. You will fall for him. And you will do things that you may not otherwise do for anyone else because you will be caught up in your first post-high school romance.
Fact: Everyone loves to be loved. Just remember to ask yourself if you love him or if you love the idea of being with him. Is he going to be there for you the first time you get busted for underage drinking? Is he going to let you cry on his shoulder when a family member passes away while you’re at school? Is he going to be ready to walk with you holding your hand, kiss you goodbye, and introduce you to his friends? Is he someone your parents will be proud of?
3. The girls you meet the first few days of school probably won’t be your friends anymore come second semester.
Let’s be honest, the first couple weeks of school are a whirlwind, and no one wants to do it alone. We go to parties and we attend classes and we grasp anyone and everyone we can to try to form a friendship with so that we don’t have to go into the year alone.
Fact: Girls are bitches. We set out for ourselves and sometimes, we leave people in the dust, even if it’s not right. Watch your back and be careful who you trust too soon. You’ve got four years ahead of you. Don’t pour all your secrets out to a girl who you just met three days ago, and don’t be at a loss when a friendship changes. People leave your life for a reason, and there are plenty of people who you will be able to bond with much better.
4. Your classes will be hard.
Your time management will need some training. Your schedule that you thought worked in high school is going to go downhill very fast, and you won’t be ready for it. You will find yourself pulling all-nighters for papers you should have started two weeks earlier. You will find yourself begging a professor for an extension (newsflash: you aren’t in high school anymore). You will also probably not do the majority of the reading you were assigned because you simply “don’t have time.”
Fact: No one said that you would be able to get through college the same way you did high school. If college and high school provided you with the same types of challenges, we wouldn’t have to go through both. Embrace the changes, and learn from them. Coffee is your best friend and study groups are a godsend. Use the career center and the library. Go to office hours. No one will laugh at you if you take an extra half hour to get two grades higher than you would have before. Weekdays are for homework and weekends are for partying. Keep that separate, and you’re off to a good start.
5. The freshman 15 is a very real thing.
Whether you intend for it to happen or not, you will inevitably gain weight. The food is processed differently than your mother’s home-cooked meals. Alcohol has a lot more calories than you think. You won’t get enough sleep, and you will find yourself out with your friends for drunk chicken tenders at 3 a.m.
Fact: It is your choice how you let this affect you. Most schools provide a free gym membership. Use it. Besides, that guy who is always at the bench press at exactly 2:58 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays is a reason to go in itself. Exercise is also proven to help de-stress yourself. With the anxieties of your freshman year, working out for an hour in the middle of the day is probably the best break you can ask for. Find a gym partner and motivate each other. If you can’t motivate yourself to go, make your gym time like a class, and go at the same time every day. You will actually find yourself looking forward to it. I promise.