Freshman year is a great time to meet new people and get adjusted to your new college life.

Top 10 College Tips: Advice for Incoming Freshmen

Caroline Buckheit | Published August 20

It's August which means it's officially move-in month for most freshies. Get excited because I can promise you these next four will be the best four. We’ve put together 10 top tips to help you not only survive but thrive during your freshman year.

  1. Put water in your microwave mac and cheese.

    Seriously. Don’t be the person who burns their noodles in the communal microwave and wakes everyone up to a blaring fire alarm at 2am. Be aware that you most definitely will be woken up by a fire alarm in the middle of the night. You really do have to leave your room- but it’ll be A-OK. Once I was in the middle of a shower and had to go outside in my towel with dripping wet hair. Another time I met an emotional support hampster. A different time I shared McDonald’s fries with a newly found friend. You really never know what people are going to be up to at that hour or who you'll discover to bond with.
  2. Leave your door open!

    Not like in a creepy way, definitely close it when you're sleeping at night. But when you’re just hanging out during the day, leave that baby open! This is how I met some of my closest friends and we're still close heading into my Junior year.

    Pro tip: Bring a fun door stopper to start the conversation!

  3. Learn how to navigate campus and use whatever public transportation is available.

    I failed to do this my freshman year and let me tell you it is a regret I have to this day. The bus is a savior when you need to get all the way across campus or even if you need to get to Target. It’s usually free for students, saves you a few hundred steps, and is 1000% the GOAT in those frigid winter months.
  4. Get involved ASAP!

    From business fraternities to the ultimate frisbee team, colleges typically offer something for everyone. Getting involved early will give you a solid group of people to start off your college experience with.
  5. Don’t wear your lanyard around your neck.

    Really. Take my word for it. You will look back at it and cringe. If you have a student ID that you need to keep handy, I suggest putting it in a phone wallet - you typically don’t go anywhere without your phone, so that way you won’t go anywhere without your card either. If you have a lanyard, maybe put it in your pocket? Or in your backpack? Just not around your neck. You’ll thank me later.
  6. No one cares if you wear normal clothes to class or pajamas.

    A boy in my 8:00 am math lecture used to wear plaid pajama pants to class every day. Not a single person judged him. In fact, I think everyone might’ve been a bit jealous of how comfy he was in that grueling weed-out class at the butt-crack of dawn. I mean, seriously, I still remember him... so make the statement you want to make or blend in with the rest of us hoodie wearing undergrads.
  7. Don’t bring every article of clothing you own.

    Like I said, nobody cares what you wear to class. This being said, you do not need to bring your entire closet from home to college. Reason 1, these clothes most certainly will not fit in your one dresser and teeny tiny closet. Reason 2, you’re going to end up accumulating so many free t-shirts they won’t even fit in a drawer. Reason 3, I guarantee you you’ll wear all of three outfits.
  8. Don’t use up all of your meal points in the first month.

    Little freshie me enjoyed buying candy and drinks and three meals a day from the most expensive dining hall on campus. It’s all fun and games until you're checking out and the cashier tells you that you can’t afford the soggy turkey and cheese sandwich you’d like to buy and it's only OCTOBER. So yea, the lesson here is to learn to manage the meal plan. Either chill out with the meal selections or increase your "bonus bucks" spending. There can be some tricky rules on which to apply in what meal locations. Don't be me and run out of money, but also don't be my brother and on the day before break clear the shelves at the campus convenience store just so your bucks don't expire. Yes, I in fact got 2 overpriced giant candy bars, tampons, and a fidget spinner from Entropy+ for Christmas one year.
  9. Don’t sweat it.

    There are several things that feel super humiliating as a Freshmen. Move-in day pictures with the whole family, eating alone in a dining hall, getting up in the middle of a huge lecture to go pee, running into cute boys as you leave the communal bathroom in your towel and squeaking shower shoes. But my advice to you is not to sweat it, because EVERYONE FEELS THE SAME WAY. It’s intimidating to be in a new place and completely on your own. You’ll make mistakes, but you’ll look back at them and laugh. Remember that if everything goes perfectly, you won’t have any fun stories to tell!
  10. HAVE FUN.

    College goes by so fast and its truly unlike any other time in your life. Sounds cheesy but enjoy every second. In a few years you’ll wish you were back in your freshman year so you could do it all over again.

Caroline Buckheit

Indiana University Class of 2023

Caroline Buckheit is a Marketing major at Indiana University. She is a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and passionate about sharing her experiences and love of college life with others.

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