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3 Things I Wish I Had Been Told Before Freshman Year of College

This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

A young woman with dark brown skin and black curly hair leans against a grey stone wall. She wears a tan sweatshirt and holds a laptop in her arms.

Before your first year of college, you’ll be given advice by family and friends. Some of it is helpful, and some of it isn’t.

Here are three things I wish I had been told before freshman year and one thing I was told too often that never helped me.

I wish I had been told…

#1: Lower grades in your first semester are not a disaster

Plenty of students in their freshman year struggle with keeping their grades up to par with what they had in high school. This is completely normal!

College is a major step up from high school, and most high schools don’t have the same workload that you experience at a university.

Your grades may be much worse than in high school, especially in your first few months at college. You may be worried about this, but don’t give your immediate grades too much thought.

As time goes on and you get used to the new workload, you’ll learn the skills to navigate your classes and boost your grades.

That said, it’s never too soon or too late to ask for help! Many colleges have on-campus tutors or programs to help students, and you can ask friends or professors for advice.

10 Mistakes To Avoid As A College Freshman

#2: Get to know your professor

Getting to know your professors has multiple benefits. You won’t feel as awkward as you might think if you have to ask your professor for help.

They often give good advice on navigating college life. Most professors were once college students too, and they’ll understand any questions or concerns you may have!

Getting to know your professors early also has long-term benefits. Depending on your major and/or future career, a good word from a professor goes a long way.

It’s hard as a college student to gain a lot of the experience required by graduate schools or even some jobs, so a respected professional backing you up always looks good.

#3: Make somewhere your home

When I first moved to a different state for college, I struggled with homesickness for a few days because my college wasn’t my home yet. Once I started decorating my room and continuing my hobbies, my dorm became my home and somewhere where I could relax.

If you’re an introvert like me, you’ll know that you need a safe space to recharge. That doesn’t necessarily need to be your dorm, either. It can be a special place on campus or even just being with someone you can relax with.

It’s important to find somewhere or something that you can make your own and call it home, giving you a safe place to exist when life gets tough.

What people told me often but didn’t help me…

#1 Manage your time wisely

By all means, this is important and you should manage your time well in college. All too often, though, I was told to manage my time but never told how.

To me, the biggest help is writing tasks out on a calendar or list. Seeing everything individually can help you focus on just one task at a time and get the most important assignments out of the way before moving to the minor ones.

As I mentioned earlier, many universities also have on-campus help for navigating college life and tutoring. Don’t forget, it never hurts to talk to your professor if the stress is a recurring issue.


College is definitely a major level up from high school, but with the proper resources and preparation, it can be a lot less scary.

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