You’re a freshman right now (or about to be), and you are wondering what you can do to make your first year in college as awesome as possible while looking as fabulous as possible. You arrive on campus with expectations of what you want out of your college experience. Well, everyone’s time here at USC is different, and there simply is no single manner of “doing college right.” So, take all those preconceived notions of what you believe college life will be and throw them out of the window of the eighth floor of Pardee Tower. And just do you.
Fortunately for all of you reading this, you are in luck, because I want to hook you up with the 411 on what you should know during your freshman year. I will give you some advice on what I wish I had known during my freshman year here at USC, as well as debunk some myths.
1) You aren’t the only person who doesn’t know anyone.
One of the most exciting and terrifying parts about being a freshman is that you don’t know anyone. It is time to start anew! One of the great things about not knowing anyone is you can be whoever you want to be. Perhaps you were holding back in high school because you were worried about what your friends would think. Well, now there is no reason to hold back since you don’t have any friends! Just kidding, you are going to make more friends than you ever thought possible. Remember, you are the star of your own reality show, and it’s your time to shine!
2) You don’t have to become best friends with your roommate.
There is a chance you are paired with your dream best friend, and everything is perfect and you live happily ever after. Sometimes, though, that is not the case. Just because you sleep in the same room as someone else does not mean that you must become best friends with that person. Having a roommate is more like signing a business contract, in which you both agree to certain conditions and live harmoniously by following the rules you both established. The pairing process helps to ensure that you and your roommate are compatible, but do keep an open mind and remember you are not forced to become best friends.
3) You don’t have to be involved in Greek Life to have a social life.
Contrary to popular belief, only about 20% of USC students are involved in Greek life. There are many different student organizations on campus and nontraditional fraternities (professional fraternities, service oriented fraternities, multicultural fraternities, etc.) you could join. It’s totally awesome to get involved with, but don’t feel pressured to because it’s not for everyone. You can also decide later– it is super common for many students to go through the recruitment process their sophomore or junior years, once they are certain they really want to get involved. Personally, I am not involved in Greek Life, but many of my friends are, and they love it!
4) Attend your professors’ office hours and make an effort to get to know them outside of class.
In high school it may not have been cool to get to know your teachers, but it’s a whole different story in college. Professors appreciate when students show genuine interest in the subject material or even stop by for a chat. They are an excellent resource for homework help, research opportunities, and can help find you an internship. It may seem scary the first time, but trust me, it gets easier.
5) Being uncertain about your major is probably a requirement for graduation.
Practically every college student, at some point or another, considers switching his or her major (and some do, multiple times!). This is simply because, as cliché as it sounds, college courses change your perspective on life and can expose you to opportunities you never knew existed. I personally switched my major a few times (yes, during my freshman year!) until I finally found the right one for me. Talk to your academic advisor; they are here to help you and will give you extensive feedback and guidance.
6) It might take a while to adjust to the differences between high school and college.
A month. A semester. Maybe more. Although it is common to hear people say that you will have a lot more free time in college, you will also have a lot more homework, reading, and out of class activities. The key difference between high school and college is knowing how to manage your time because you don’t have a parent with you at all times to do that. With some smart time management, you can ensure a happy and healthy balance of academics and extracurricular activities.
7) Just do you.
Do you while here at USC. If you could only take away one thing from this blog, make sure it is this: just do you. As I said earlier, you are the star of your own reality show, and I really mean it. At the end of every day, if you can go to bed (and hopefully you will because you finished your Writing 140 paper way in advance…) knowing you put an honest effort into everything you wanted to, you will have a positive outlook and never wonder “what if”.
Follow these tips, and you will exude such confidence people might just think you’re a senior.