Lessons Learned From Freshman Year in College

Feature Photo Credit: Kimberly Boyd, Twisted Kreations at UAPB

After one year of college I learned a few lessons. My freshmen year was filled with fun, work, and people. My main goal for freshman year was to have a successful academic term and not repeat the blunders that I made in high school. Being a social butterfly was not imperative because I naturally had that characteristic. I focused on my weak points. In some ways, that method worked to my advantage but also made it difficult. I ignored the fact that I was charismatic and became an introvert. This allowed me to excel in school, but fail socially. Now I am equipped to survive and enjoy my sophomore year of college. Below are tips to aid you in navigating your freshman year of college.


Living on-campus is a chance to experience something new being exposed to people from other parts of the country and world. Get to know your peers. Check out your student center and see what cool social events you can mingle at. The best thing college can offer is connections. Not only does this help you outside of college, but also when it comes to getting your hair done, makeup, and nails – you can have the on campus hook-up. Homecoming is around the corner, your connections will have you slaying for this year’s homecoming parties, step shows, and football games.


Your roommate can be your best friend or worst enemy. The key is to COMMUNICATE! If you know you are very sensitive about certain things make sure he/or she knows it. Discuss boundaries and limits. You do not have to do it in a confrontational way. Instead, go out for coffee and get to know each other.


The best thing about college is you get to pick the time you want go to class! So, choose wisely. I am not a morning person. If you cannot make it to an 8:00am class and your advisor puts you in one, drop it! It is better to drop a class than to keep forgetting to wake up and find out you are failing. Keep in mind that you are paying for each class. Only take on what you know you can handle. The average full time student takes 15 credit hours. If you plan on having a job, take between 12-15 hours to remain full-time. If you are working and going to school, organization is key. Keep due dates, times, and events marked on your calendar (use the gmail calendar so it will sync and give you an email reminder). It will also help you avoid conflicting times and schedules. Make sure your employer is aware that you are student. Sometimes it makes a difference if they know. Remember that school always comes first.

Do not worry about changing your major. You have until the end of sophomore to officially declare your major, so explore different departments. I changed my major after my first semester. Better to be happy with your career choice than majoring in a subject to impress other people.


Maintaining your health is important. The “Freshman 15” is real! I know because I experienced it. Read my cautionary tale here. Make sure you do not get wrapped up in the delicious food. That is how they get you! They wine and dine you with good food and no one tells you that you are getting fat, until you are fat. Use your school’s workout room and recreational center. Find a workout buddy to make it fun. Get a couple of your friends, a speaker and dance it out. Run it out. Work it out – join intramurals. Working out it is a good way to manage stress. If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out to the counseling center. If you are not feeling well, go to your school’s health center. They can usually handle the common cold or flu and provide birth control for you to practice safe sex.


I have had some eccentric professors. I have also had some mundane ones. However, it is your responsibility to cope with their personalities, method, and madness. Remember that they are the ones that give you your grade. Remain humble to your teachers and let them know that you are serious about your education. Little things matter to them and it will show in your grade. If you have a major illness or death during the school term, go see the dean of students to arrange either an incomplete or withdrawal.


When it comes to internships, start with campus career services to see what programs they have. Most will help you look for internships, build your resume, and introduce you to alumni to get you on the right path towards your career. Remember that everybody wants the best internship! The early bird gets the worm. Apply early. Typically, the deadline for internships is the semester before. Apply for summer internships the beginning of second semester. Work study is different from internships. It is federal money given to students who work on campus. Not everyone is eligible, typically based on financial need and your financial aid application. The moral is apply early! Procrastinating can close the door of opportunity.

Photo Credit: Kimberly Boyd, Twisted Kreations at UAPB (Univ Ark Pine Bluff)


This would not be a college article if it did not discuss parties. There will always be  parties to go to in college so choose wisely. Every party will not be worth the bomb outfit, hair, and gas money. I personally love a good kickback. Everybody is just “vibin, chillin, and playin spades.” Ladies, make sure you go with a group of friends to watch and protect each other. Everybody is not mature and responsible yet so it is good to have at least two friends that are. They are the ones that will make sure everyone stays together or at least has a buddy. Keep your drinks in your hand!! Oh, and ladies we never slurp, we sip lol!


Rachel J. Jones
Editorial Intern/Contributing Writer
Rachel is an English/Journalism major at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff. She previously worked as a creative arts intern at After-school Matters producing a short play.