A new semester is approaching quickly with only a little over a month left of the summer. Many bright-eyed freshmen are going to walk on to our beloved campus this semester and learn a lot, not only about academics but also about independence and the great things and the hard things about the upcoming year and about college as a whole.
Now, I, like the rest of the FGCU Class of 2019, will be entering my second year of college on this campus. Last year was one of the best years of my life. Not only did I learn a lot about myself but I also grew as a person and learned much more than I could have ever anticipated.
Like many of the other people that started college last fall, I thought I had it figured out and that I knew everything that I needed to know. Not only was I completely wrong, but I was way off. And, by all means, I do not know everything now, and I am still trying to figure it all out myself. College was different than I could have ever imagined, so I am going to leave you with the ten things that I wish I knew before my freshman year of college.
1. Do not, I repeat, do not procrastinate homework, papers or projects that are not due right away. Not only will you be drinking 10 cups of coffee while sitting in the study room in your hall by yourself at two in the morning because your roommates are way too loud, stressing over a paper that could have easily been done in the amount of time allotted by the professor, but you may be missing out on all the sleep you could’ve made up for losing out on the weekend before.
2. Do not live off of ramen noodles. Yes, they are the cheapest food out there and do taste delicious when you have been eating nothing but vending machine food all day, but the sodium is definitely not going to help you be able to say, “I never gained the freshman 15.”
3. Take advantage of office hours. Even if you are in an easy class and feel like there is no way you aren’t going to get an ‘A,’ go to office hours and introduce yourself to the professor at least once because you never know if you are going to need help down the line or possibly a recommendation some day.
4. Try in general education classes. Even though they are not toward your major or you may not care about them, they will help your GPA and give you a solid base to start on.
5. Your new roommate does not have to be your best friend, but if they are, that’s a plus. I got very lucky with my roommates, and even though both of them were completely random, they ended up being two of my best friends that I have made since college, but if you and your roommate don’t get along or don’t have the same interests, it’s not the end of the world. There will be a lot of people that you will meet that will become lifelong friends.
6. Exercise might not be your thing, but walk to class from time to time. Not only do we have a beautiful campus but the walk may also act as a good way to wake yourself up before you have to sit in class and pay attention.
7. Take advantage of the waterfront in North Lake Village. The waterfront and all of the amazing rentals it offers is something that is very unique to FGCU. If you have been studying all day and you want a little break, go over to the waterfront and rent a paddle board and relax for a little bit. It is all free, and all you need to do is bring your Eagle ID.
8. The bars will always be there. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy getting dressed up and going out with my friends on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, but if you have a huge exam the next day or an 8 a.m. class on a Friday, hitting up the bars with your friends may not be the best idea for you on that particular night. Believe me, FOMO (fear of missing out) is real, but so is your grade. That will hit you a lot harder than missing one night out with friends.
9. Just because you may be coming to college with some friends from high school does not mean that you can’t try to meet new people or branch out and do your own thing. College is a whole new adventure ahead of you, and it is your time to start over and turn a new leaf. If you already know some people going here, great, you don’t have to be as scared as some of the rest of the freshmen, but still branch out and meet as many new people as you can.
10. Get ahead on your service-learning hours. Find a charity that you like and start earning your service hours now. Eighty hours may not seem like a lot when you have four years, but they can creep up on you quick. So, it’s good to get a head start. Also, being well-rounded and helping out your community can set you apart from the rest when applying for internships or jobs.
These are things that I feel would be helpful for all the incoming freshmen to keep in mind when starting on this new adventure of college. I hope all of you are prepared to have a great year and learn a lot about yourself and our school. Good luck and see you in the fall.