10 Things to Know About Freshman Year

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Hogate Hall. Photo courtesy of DePauw University.
  1. Don’t skip class unless you absolutely have to.
    • Even if you’re an independent learner, going to class is a must in college. Forget about the college movies where students never go to class and scrape by at the end of the year by cramming. Not only is this method stressful, but it takes away from the immersive liberal arts learning experience at DePauw.
  2. Get to know your professors.
    • Professors aren’t just there to lecture. Go the extra mile by engaging in class discussions and attending office hours. You will learn more and make meaningful connections that will be useful for networking and major advisement.
  3. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
    • This cannot be stressed enough. College is about trying new things and a completely fresh start. You can be anyone you want and do anything you want (within reason). Be spontaneous. Sign up for that club you never dared to try in high school. You will be surprised at what you are capable of.
  4. Find a designated study space.
    • During the first few weeks of classes, test out areas on campus that you think suit your study style. A few examples are Roy O. West Library, Julian and even the Prindle Institute. Once you find a favorite spot, stick with it so everytime you go there, you get in the habit of getting work done.
  5. Your planner is your best friend.
    • Literally it’s your BFFL. Between schoolwork, clubs, work, and a social life, it takes superhuman powers to keep track of everything you have to do in just your head. If you’re not a fan of the typical paper planner, try out Google Calendar or an app on your phone.
  6. Create relationships within your residence hall.
    • Living in a dorm is a special experience in college. Yes, it has its downsides (shower shoes suck, we know), but it presents so many opportunities to build a tight-knit community. If you want to plan a fun event on your floor, ask your RA’s! They have the funding and resources to plan endless activities. In a few years you will look back longingly on the late nights spent watching movies in Longden or snowball fights in South Quad.
  7. Self care is essential.
    • Now that you’re independent, you have to be your own advocate for your physical, mental, and emotional health. It’s up to you to make the best decisions for your personal well-being. This takes practice and time, but makes all the difference. For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a break and go for a walk or talk with a friend. Nourish your body with good food and plenty of sleep. You can’t perform or care for others if you don’t take care of yourself first.
  8. Know your limits.
    • Underage drinking occurs in college. If you choose to participate, be smart. Count your drinks, drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food. Look out for your friends too; if you call for help in a drinking situation, the DePauw Medical Amnesty Policy eliminates disciplinary action under Community Standards for both you and your friend.
  9. Don’t leave your laundry unattended.
    • People WILL throw your wet clothes on top of the washers, or worse, the floor.
  10. You’re not alone.
    • If you are anxious, stressed or just plain exhausted, chances are a ton of other people are feeling the exact same way. The first semester of college is tough, but don’t forget that there are always people for you to lean on. If you’re going through a rough patch, seek out a trusted friend or even just call your mom. One of the most memorable aspects of college are the relationships you create – you will make friends that are always there for you.