Freshman year at Notre Dame was a strange and wonderful time in my life. I got to meet some of the most amazing people and got to my dream school. However, as great as it was, there are some things I may or may not have done that made it harder than it should’ve been. Been there done that. I hope that my experiences will help you make your first year as good as it can be.
1. Don’t go out every weekend
As a freshman, it’s very easy to be tempted to go out every single weekend on Fridays and Saturdays (maybe even Thursdays if you go to Notre Dame). The first week or two is fine while things haven’t picked up speed in class and it’s during the time in your freshman year that you might find some of the people you will remain friends with for much of your college career. However, don’t do it every weekend after that. Trust me, this is coming from someone who has made the mistake. My grades suffered because of it and I ended up having to drop one of my classes because of this and other factors. Although going out on the weekends is fun, you have to realize that a good chunk of your weekend time should be focused on preparing for the week ahead.
2. Don’t spend every waking hour on school, either
You have to find a balance between school work and relaxation time. I’ve met people on both sides of the spectrum and those on the all play, no work side struggled academically while those on the all work, no play were eternally stressed and were missing out on some key college experiences. There are some things you might never get to do again in any place other than college. Take advantage of it. Also, finding your balance, getting some relaxation time and going to bed at decent hours can help you keep your sanity and your health.
3. Don’t go too crazy with the alcohol
Yes, it’s college. Yes, there will be alcohol but that doesn’t mean you have to drink even if you don’t want to, and if you do want to, it doesn’t mean you should aim for the feeling of being drunk. There is nothing more off-putting than having to take care of someone who is drunk, especially if the person is someone you don’t know. It’s important to know your limits and to remember to be safe. Alcohol is a drug and can have a myriad of effects on your health if you’re not careful, such as weight gain. Not only that, but it can also have an effect on your academic life. For those who choose not to drink, keep calm and carry on. Nobody is going to judge you for not doing so, so have fun!
4. Don’t ignore your roommate
Your roommate is the person you are sharing your living space with so it’s important to get to know them and set some boundaries and agreements about the room. There’s nothing worse than living with someone who does something that annoys you but you can’t say anything because you don’t feel comfortable enough with them to say something. Getting to know them might be the best way to make the most of your dorm life and avoid awkwardness and tensions.
5. Don’t think college is like high school
Big red flag right here! I made this mistake and I failed my first test miserably. I was one of those people who never studied in high school and still managed to get good grades. College was quite the wake-up call for me. If you are anything like me, your best bet is to brush up on some of your studying habits and start studying a week to a week and a half in advance. Never assume its going to be like a high school test! Also, it’s important to remember that failure is a part of learning and that it’s going to be a part of your college career. Learn from it instead of wallowing in it. It’s all part of the process.