For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Oct 29 2015
by Samantha Moody

11 Things I Wish I Knew During My First Month In College

By Samantha Moody - Oct 29 2015

This past week marked my first full month in college. Looking back I realize that I’ve already learned a lot. You can read all of the Buzzfeed articles and Pinterest posts in the world, but there are just some things that you just have to learn about college through firsthand experiences. These are a few things I wish I had known during my first month of college.

1. Not everyone becomes best friends with their roommates.

In all honesty unless you hand pick your roommate or room with someone you already know, you can’t trust that a computer is going to randomly match you up with your new best friend for life. Sometimes people are just too different to mesh well together, and that is totally OK! There are going to be plenty of other opportunities to meet people you’re more compatible with.
  • 2. Take advantage of welcome week and free stuff.

I can’t stress this one enough, hit up EVERYTHING. Clubs and organizations take the first week at university to lure in and recruit freshman, any other time you’re on your own. So even if you don’t think you would be interested in any new groups go to their events anyway. More often than not you can score anything from free pens to full meals for showing up, and you may end up meeting some awesome people or finding a new hobby you wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
  • You get a T-shirt! And you get a T-shirt!

3. Coffee is a powerful, addictive substance.

Drinking coffee is a great way to wake up for early classes, or stay up late studying for a midterm, but be aware of how much you're drinking. You might start out with a cup of joe here and there, but caffeine tolerance builds quickly and soon you may find yourself unable to function without multiple cups a day.

  • 4. Co-ed bathrooms aren’t as weird as you think they’re going to be.

Despite what every T.V. show and concerned distant relative will have you believe, co-ed bathrooms aren’t awkward at all. You probably had less privacy in your own bathroom at home. Universities take lots of precautions to maintain privacy. No one's going to walk in on you!
  • 5. Just because you CAN pull an all-nighter doesn’t mean that you should.

I learned this one the hard way after binge-watching an entire season of Orange is the New Black with my friends. In college no one is around to stop you from making these kinds of decisions, but you will pay for it eventually…probably 2 days later when you still haven’t been able to return to a normal sleep pattern and you’re nodding off in your 8 a.m. class.
  • 6. Learn to read a map.

Unless you enjoy passing the same building 27 times before realizing it's the one you've been looking for all along... Navigating campus becomes a million times easier if you know how to read a map, and it's going to come in handy every time you change quarters/semesters resulting in a brand new schedule each time.
  • 7. Protect you room key/ ID card with your life.

Nobody wants to be that kid who constantly gets locked out of a dorm room. Plus, no ID card means no access to laundry, dining halls, buildings, and much more! Know where your keys and student ID are at all times!
  • 8. Laundry room etiquette needs to be learned and followed religiously.

It’s a real thing and it definitely matters! Don’t be that person who takes up 3 machines at a time and doesn’t show up to remove their clothes for 20 minutes after they’re ready! You won’t make any friends this way.
  • 9. Stock up on snacks.

Dining halls aren’t open 24/7, and almost everything on campus closes early on weekends. Don’t be afraid to hit up Target and stock up on all of your favorite snacks! They’ll come in handy during late night study sessions or when you're too comfortable in your pajamas to leave your dorm room.

10. You’re going to miss home…and that’s OK!

It makes sense; you did live there for 18 years. If you found yourself homesick throughout the first month of college you definitely weren’t alone and it’s totally normal! Of course you’ll probably miss your friends and family the most, but you’ll even find yourself missing little things like not having to put on flip flops every time you want to go to the bathroom or shower.
  •  There's no place like home!

11. You’ll make friends where you least expect them.

Don't stress out about meeting people or try to force friendships, you'll meet some of the greatest people when you least expect it. Everyone is in the same boat as you; coming to a new place knowing very few people or no one. Great friendships can be made through other friends, commenting on someone's t-shirt, or just saying hi to somebody. As long as you're open to meeting new people, making friends won't be an issue.
  • The transition to college was a little rocky in the beginning, but it's definitely been worth it! I can't wait to see what the next 4 years has in store for me and the rest of the class of 2019!

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Samantha Moody - University of California, Davis

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