The Freshman 15

Starting college, everyone warned me that I needed to beware of the “Freshman 15” – the inevitable idea that I would gain weight from endless eating at the buffet style dining halls, combined with lounging in my dorm doing absolutely nothing when I wasn’t in class.

Well, I have news for whoever came up with that concept: clearly, they lived on a very small college campus. With my schedule, my classes are spread across our over 3-mile wide campus, and for fear of loosing my parking space in resident parking, I don’t dare move my car. Therefore, I’m forced to walk everywhere.

I really am not complaining though. In my first week at UNT, I’ve lost almost 10 lbs, eating 3 full meals pretty much every day.

So, my Freshman 15 to share is a little more…metaphorical? In my first week, I’ve also noticed a TON of things that can go really well, or completely wrong. Being the Nosy Nancy that I am, I have inevitably become everyone’s go to for advice, despite the fact that I’m as fresh faced to all of this as the next struggling freshman. But, all in all, I think this advice pretty much sums up my first week of college.

Holly’s Freshman 15 – Tips to surviving your first week of college.

1. Reconnect with your orientation friends before move in day. Facebook, Twitter, school app, whatever you need to do. If you’re like me, or even if you’re not, you want to have a good base of friends to start the year off with.

2. You don’t need to take your entire room to college. Most dorm residents will tell you that you do not need every playoffs tee shirt and stuffed animal you’ve collected over the years. But really. I will be the first person to admit I have a LOT of stuff. But I left most of it at home because I know I’ll be going home, at least once a month, and frankly, I’d like to feel at home in my house. And I want to have something to wear besides yoga pants and tanks.

My first dorm!

3. Go out to lunch/dinner with your parents/friends that help you move in. I know it seems like an obvious idea, but I’m so glad I did because it wasn’t until then that I realized how freaked out I was about being ditched at a campus of 36,000 students.

4. Silence is not your friend. My first night in the dorm, my Orientation BFF Morgan and I started a game of charades with some people in our lounge (only because the TV was taken by a single girl watching NASCAR, but still). This was, inevitably, the best decision I have made thus far. That night, I made SO many friends in my hall, and met people from other halls who had HEARD about the charades game and came over just to play.

5. Don’t be afraid to start something new. The second day in our dorm, none of my friends had any idea what to do. We’d gone to Walmart that morning, and I’d purchased a 6-pack of “college classics” DVDs, so, being the creative soul that I am, I suggested we watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in our lounge. Sure enough, more people joined in, and even an RA congratulated me on being able to bring people together for something so simple.

6. Compare schedules. It may seem a little middle school, but this will be your saving grace come the first day of classes and you’re scrambling to find someone to sit next to you. It also saves you the cliche “OMG, I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE TAKING *insert basic freshman class here.*”

7. Find your classes before the first day. Really. Do this. I am telling you right now, if you don’t do this, you will be that awkward kid that walks in 30 mins late and makes the professor go over his spiel about the syllabus all over again.

A little discovery made while trying to find my classes in the Environmental Science Building.

8. Participate in orientation week activities. UNT had some pretty awesome “First Flight Week” events, including a movie night on the library mall. But be warned, get to these events early. Often times, the events offering free food and tee shirts have lines around the block before most people have a chance to make their way across campus. (Also on this note – take advantage of the resources you’re paying for with your tuition; rec center, free library printing, and tutoring.)

9. Listen to your professors the first day. Often times, they will flat out tell you their teaching style, and what you can do to pass the class or even get an A. My history professor basically told me if I didn’t write down everything he said, I would fail. Which is why I am currently blogging before his class starts, with Evernote up and ready.

10. Get in cars and go places.¬†Or on busses, trains, trolleys, etc. Someone’s going to the local mall? Go. 3 AM trip to IHOP? Go. Heard there’s a good coffee shop on the square? GO. Literally. Just go. I have had so many random people in my car this last week, just by saying I’m going somewhere and they ask to tag along. These people have become some really good friends of mine, purely because we share the experience of a 9 AM venture to Walmart.

11. It’s okay if you don’t look like a supermodel every day of class. It’s college. Most people consider yoga pants and a workout shirt the height of 8 AM class fashion. My roommate doesn’t have classes on the days I have my 8 AM’s, so I’ve been trying to be as low maintenance as possible those mornings, with minimal blow drying. Also, if it comes down to eating a good meal or being good looking for the day, go with the food. Trust me, your classmates will be thanking you when your not that kid with the stomach heard around the world.

12. Call your mom. Or your dad. Seriously. I didn’t realize until probably Saturday, when I finally went home for Le Boyfriend’s birthday, how much my mom and dad actually missed me. They will appreciate your call. I promise.

Funny little pic my mom sent me the day before moving.

13. Now is the time to be yourself. In high school, I was always one of those kids that adapted to their surroundings by changing my style, attitude and dialect based on who I was hanging out with. My Mad Men dresses went untouched, my attitude was very “unless it’s DECA, I don’t care,” and I dumbed down my vocabulary because, frankly, I took on level classes because I REALLY didn’t want to think about chemistry while running for national office. Now, I’m taking classes that are challenging, I actually care about what’s going on at school, and I’m definitely channeling my inner Joan Holloway/Betty Draper.

14. Invest in recording software/a recorder. There are going to be days where you don’t feel like paying attention in class. I’ve already had one, and I’m so grateful for Evernote’s recording software. If you’re having a super ADD day, turn on the software and zone out. Just make sure you go back and take notes when you’re a little more focused.

15. Come prepared to work. I spent the majority of my senior year focused on DECA, so I took it SUPER easy on my classes, with very minimal out of class work. I came to college with the assumption that I was going to work hella harder, and I’m already realizing I was right. Pack 10 spirals, pre-purchase all your textbooks, do whatever you need to do to feel over-prepared, because the first day of class, you will STILL feel underprepared.

My first week of freshman year was crazy, fun, stressful, hurried, but overall college has been and continues to be one of the best experiences of my life so far. With some of my best friends entering college shortly behind me, I hope that some of this advice helps them, and others, in the beginning of their journey through college.


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