Radiating Sunshine: Advice for Incoming Freshmen {College}

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Advice for Incoming Freshmen {College}

In honor of my senior year and now that I have Freshmen residents,  I decided that writing a post about some advice for Freshmen would be fun and helpful. I just want to say that I am in no way an expert on college... Sure, I've lived in a residence hall every year I've been here, I've managed to get involved and get good grades, I've made the greatest friends and the best memories, and lastly I've learned valuable skills that will hopefully get me through life... but, I've also made a ton of mistakes!

So, here goes my attempt at advice for incoming Freshmen... My freshmen year was truly an amazing year and honestly if I had to choose what my favorite year in college was it would probably be my that year. Every year has been great, but there was something about that first time your away at college. I don't know if it was all the friends I made, the new found freedom, access to delicious cookies whenever I wanted, or the fact that I went to school where every season is just so beautiful but, freshmen year was beyond wonderful!

1. Get out of your comfort zone

When you're in college it is good to try new things and find out who you are... and in my experiences one can do this when you do things that are a little out of your comfort zone. Now, I'm not saying go to a party alone but, if your friend invites you to go mud sliding then just say yes.

Freshmen year, Hannah and I decided to go mud sliding with a bunch of random people and we made so many great connections. Like who knew taking advantage of a muddy field would have given me so many laughs and one of the greatest nights I've ever had in college?

Oh and a real quick declaimer... rolling around in the mud is me living on the edge!

2. Be adventurous 

My freshmen year some of my friends and I decided to save up some money and go on vacation. So, in December while everyone was packing their winter gear to go home I was packing my bikini and getting ready for a 6 day vacation to Jamaica. We found this amazing deal for airfare and an all-inclusive hotel and the four of us flew down to the Caribbean. We climbed waterfalls, went snorkeling, laid out in the sun... it was the perfect vacation! Now, I realize some parents might not be on board with their freshman in college going on vacation to a foreign country but, if you save up the money and your parents think you're responsible then totally do it and be adventurous.
Jamaica vacation!
3. Be generous & help others

One thing I really wanted to do in college was to get involved with my school's Office of Social Justice... so, my freshmen year I joined Best Buddies, went on Habitat for Humanity, and did a bunch of little service projects. I have realized that to live a good life you must give back to others.

I challenge you to get involved with community service. Not only are you helping other people but, you get a chance to be humble and learn from so many different people.
Habitat for Humanity, Cape Fear NC

4. Take advantage of campus activities
So,  I guess this could also pair with being adventurous... but, go to cool places with your school! Most colleges/ universities have a lot of trips planned for their students so I would totally recommend you take advantage of them all! It is a blast getting to see cool places and for relatively cheap. I know at my school most of the trips are free or $5 for transportation costs. And you can't really beat that!
crappy day for a visit to the Statue of Liberty! But, still had a blast :)

5. Bond with your roommate
I feel like you either hear horror roommate stories or heaven roommate stories... well thankfully I had one of those heaven roommate experiences... well, at least that was my view, hahaha jk! Anyways, getting along with your roommate is so important! I can't tell you how many mediations as an RA I have had to do because of roommate conflicts. So, my advice for living with a roommate is to be respectful and to communicate with each other. If there is an issue make sure you talk it out, because that is so much easier than being passive aggressive and having so many conflicts.

Also, now that I live alone I really miss having a roommate. Whenever, I tell people that they always think I'm crazy but, sometimes it's really nice to come home and not be alone.

6. Dress for success
This is something that is important for every occasion... When I was younger my mom never let me or my sister wear sweatpants out of the house. She didn't think it was appropriate and I'm pretty thankful that she even instated that rule because you never know who you're gonna run into when. Now, of course if it's one of those days I'll do the whole sweatshirt and yoga pants thing... but, I almost always get showered and dressed before class/work. Sure, I have to wake up a little earlier but, simply dressing for success can really boost your entire day.

Also, dressing for success plays a role when you're going out too. Like to an 80s Club Night or for Halloween. Side note... I love 80s themed nights because it is the only time I can fully take advantage of this wild curly hair of mine!

7. Be active
So, this may seem self explanatory but, being active is so important. I am here to tell you that the Freshmen 15 really does exist and it stinks... I know its hard to find time to work out when you're busy going to class, working, socializing, and trying to get enough sleep... but working out or even going on brisk walks can improve your circulation, health, happiness levels, and de-stress you! 

So, whether you like to run, do Zumba, yoga, or play intramurals I would definitely recommend you get out there and be active!

8. Call home
If this is the first time you're away from home it is so important that you call home regularly. I know it may feel like you're "breaking free" (insert high school musical soundtrack) but, your parents/family love you and its important you show that love by calling home to tell them. Also, calling to say thank you or sending letters home is a great way to show you care.

9. Stay in touch with your high school friends
Don't let your high school friendships die now that you have college friends! Some of my best memories in college have been made when my high school friends are visiting me or vice versa. I know it can be a lot of work to keep in contact.. skyping dates can be hard when you both have busy schedules but, don't lose contact. And if you're reading this and realizing that you have lost contact a simple text can do wonders. 

I've also found that friendships can pick up where they left off in most cases. So, if its been a few years, hit up your local Chipotle, and sit and talk for hours.
Caitlin and I at an Ingrid Michaelson concert in PA
10. Keep your room clean
Another really simple one... but, keep your room clean... make your bed. I am a full believer in "its the little things in life" and having a clean space that is your own is one of those things that can drastically improve your college experience. 

Those are 10 tips that hopefully will help you have a wonderful first year experience... oh and a bonus tip: is do well in school. You're at college for the education and that is the most important part... so it's okay if you're not going out every night. Just make sure you're constantly doing your best academically.


  1. This is such great advice for incoming freshmen! It definitely pays to get out of your comfort zone... college is the best place to do it!


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