50 Things I Learned In My Freshman Year Of College

I lived at home in my freshman year, so my life was very different from most American college freshmen. I initially thought I would hate living with my parents in college and have massive FOMO because I wasn’t living in a dorm being independent. I was wrong. Sure, I experienced “Fear Of Missing Out” a few times, but not nearly as much as I thought I would.

With that said, I did learn a lot in my freshman year of college. My list is going to be a bit different than other college bloggers,’ but I still think it’s worth reading. College is still a transition even if you don’t live in a dorm.

  1. I really love being in the city. I mean, I grew up in Atlanta, but in the suburbs of Atlanta. It’s not a boring suburb like in the movies. There are restaurants everywhere, lots of immigrants, places that are walking distance, but it’s not “the city.” I genuinely thought I would hate it, but I absolutely love going Downtown every day.
  2. You will get closer to your parents in college. I thought children became closer to their parents after they moved out, but I got a lot closer to my parents while I was living with them during college.
  3. Your Syllabus is the greatest thing ever. I wish high school syllabi were like this because those were pretty much useless. Most college syllabi have ALL the homework for the semester. It’s amazing. It’s a serial planner’s dream.
  4. Your teacher will mention an assignment once and will never mention it again. I had a teacher who gave discussion posts ever so often but never told us about them. They weren’t even in the syllabus. I’m gonna be honest, I missed a few. And it sucked.
  5. Graduate students are actually really good professors. I was always told that my college professors who were grad students would be terrible teachers and wouldn’t care about us, but all of the ones I’ve had were great and really cared about educating us.
  6. Businesses hike up the prices near college campuses. Food is so much more expensive when you are in the city, but it’s especially more expensive in college towns. Businesses know that college students are lazy and won’t cook their food. They also know that they won’t want to walk too far to eat, so businesses take advantage.
  7. Bring your own lunch. Eating out in your city or at your college campus will drain your bank account quickly. Bringing your own lunch prevents that. It’ll also save you time because you won’t have to wait in the long lines during the lunch rush.
  8. It’s harder to make friends when you commute. You have to make a genuine effort when you don’t live on campus because you’re not constantly surrounded by people 24 hours a day. I’m usually only on campus for class and that’s not when the socializing happens. It’s usually in dorm rooms and weekends, which I don’t generally go to. I mostly just interact with the friends I already have from middle and high school.
  9. Appreciate all the financial help you get. Whether it’s from your parents or the government, appreciate the fact that your college is paid for. I am thankful every day that I don’t have any student loans, which is largely due to the generosity of my parents.
  10. You can leave your stuff at a study lounge or library and it most likely won’t get stolen. I was sort of afraid to leave my stuff to go to the bathroom at the beginning of the year, but I eventually got over it. Most people are good and won’t steal your stuff. There are guards everywhere on campus and you can just ask a stranger to watch it for you for a few minutes.
  11. Not using your school gym is a waste of money. Your tuition is already paying for it, so not going is like burning cash. I never worked out in high school, but having access to a gym has been a godsend.
  12. Weightlifting > Cardio (Unless it’s dance)  It’s just the way of the world.
  13. Spin classes are the worst (but really good for you)– I took my first spin class in my second semester and I have never sweat that much in my life. I never wanted to do it again. It’s my least favorite class at the gym, but I’ve gone back a few times because it’s really good for me.
  14. It’s hard not to eat out in college. Like REALLY hard. I got into a terrible habit of eating out, and I’ve never nor plan to ever order a salad. I ate out less because of financial reasons, not for health reasons.
  15. Ordering healthy meals at restaurants is not necessarily more expensive or hard. Choose grilled over fried and chicken over beef. It was more expensive for me to buy sushi instead of Chik-Fil-A, but that’s not always the case. At one point, I was eating Chik-Fil-A once a week because it was the cheapest and most convenient option. The only reason I stopped is that I’m at risk for high cholesterol (Family history).
  16. Weekly To-Do Lists > Daily To-Do Lists – Most professors divide their classes by weeks, not by days, so I’ve learned that it’s much smarter to create a weekly to-do list and put it in order by due date.
  17. It’s harder to get out of bed before 8 AM even though you’d wake up at 6 AM in high school. It really is. I can’t imagine waking up at 6 AM again. The few times I had to do it Freshman year was torture.
  18. Buying an earlier edition of a textbook will save you a lot of money. They aren’t even that different. Worst case scenario, the chapters are rearranged. Most professors tell you whether or not an earlier edition will work. If they do, don’t waste your money on the newest one.
  19. Don’t buy your textbooks until classes start. Your school’s bookstore requires all professors to put a textbook on their syllabus. My English professor told us not to buy the grammar book in her syllabus because we were never gonna use it. She had to put it in there.
  20. Don’t buy textbooks or online codes from your university bookstore. It’s always cheaper to buy it online. Your school hikes up the prices.
  21. You don’t spend that much time in class, so you have to study on your own. You only spend around 2.5 hours per week in a class, which is not a lot of time in the grand scheme of things.
  22. If you are a woman, you will get catcalled. It will happen. Especially if you go to school in a city. I was getting catcalled every day at one point. Thankfully, it’s stopped, but I’ve learned how to keep a blank face in certain areas. I even got a man to apologize for catcalling me with one look. It’s a very proud moment of mine.
  23. I can only listen to audiobooks when I’m doing something. I got really into audiobooks in my Freshman year because my commute was so long (Atlanta traffic is no joke). I can only listen to audiobooks while I’m driving or walking somewhere or playing a game on my phone. I can’t actively sit and listen to an audiobook.
  24. There’s always a shortcut. Don’t just drive or walk the same path every day. You’ll eventually find a route that will save you loads of time. I certainly did. I would’ve gone insane if I hadn’t found the shortcut from the train station to my house. I was genuinely about to crack. Backroads are the greatest thing ever.
  25. The best part about commuting from home is having a delicious hot meal to get home to every day. When I get home, my mom always has dinner ready for me. It’s the best thing ever because I don’t have to worry about cooking when I get home. I’m enjoying it while I can.
  26. The second best part is having a bathroom instead of communal showers. No shoes in the shower for me.
  27. Create A College Bucket List. I was surprised to find that I crossed a lot of things off of mine. It definitely makes me feel great to see all the fun things I’ve crossed off.
  28. Keep an umbrella in your bag. The day you forget it is the day it will rain. I speak from experience.
  29. It’s hard to get involved when you don’t live on campus. Most campus clubs meet at night and campus events are usually on weekends. At the end of the day, I want to go home. Not wait two hours to go to a club meeting. I also work on weekends so going on campus for events isn’t always easy.
  30. Plan out every hour because your schedule will be packed. This tip speaks for itself.
  31. Do the study guide before you go to office hours. It’s a waste of time otherwise. Make sure you have questions to ask your teacher when you go.
  32. Track your spending and create a budget. A lot of college students make huge financial mistakes. Don’t be one of them. Track your spending and save more than you spend.
  33. Not taking out student loans is the best thing I’m doing for my future. This due to both the generosity of my parents and a lot of hard work. Do as much as you can to avoid student loans because they can be a huge burden in the future.
  34. Get Amazon Student. It’s the greatest thing ever. It’ll save you a lot of money so long as you don’t become addicted to online shopping. I can’t say I’m addicted, but I definitely took advantage of it. (My bookshelf agrees wholeheartedly)
  35. Do every extra credit assignments, even if you have a good grade. Just do it. That extra point on your GPA is worth it.
  36. You don’t have to drink, do drugs, or have casual sex if you don’t want to. It’s perfectly okay if you do, but not everybody does it. I’ve met other college students who don’t drink, or smoke cigarettes or have drunk sex with strangers they meet at parties. Don’t listen to the movies. It’s pretty easy to avoid that stuff.
  37. You don’t need to drink coffee every day. Limit your caffeine intake. I drank coffee a total of three times last year. Twice at a Starbucks and once at an Italian cafe that had just opened. The only reason I drank Starbucks is that two people bought it for me and I bought a cappuccino because I wanted to check out the restaurant and it was really cold outside. You don’t need to drink coffee every morning if you sleep enough. Avoid the addiction. Caffeine withdrawal is scary. It’s a really addictive stimulant (as told by my Drugs, Behavior, and Society Professor)
  38. You can get enough sleep every night as long as you prioritize is. Sleep is very high on my priority list, so I make sure to get enough sleep every night. I can’t function without it. It’s also why I don’t need to drink coffee.
  39. Start A Blog. Easily the best and most fun hobby I started in college.
  40. You can avoid the Freshman 15, but that doesn’t mean you won’t gain weight. My freshman year was probably the healthiest year in my life so far, but I still gained some weight. It doesn’t look like that though because I’ve gained muscle and lost fat. Nineteen is also the age where women tend to get a bit curvier and become more womanly. My boobs got bigger in my freshman year and my hips won’t stab you when you hug me. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. My point is that some weight gain in Freshman year may just naturally happen if you are a twig like me. That doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy.
  41. It’s okay to take a mental health day, but don’t make a habit of skipping class. I skipped class a few times last year. Most classes allow two absences without docking your grade, so I felt comfortable taking a break once in a while. And let’s be honest, you just don’t need to be in some classes to get a good grade.
  42. Check your email. I used to be really good about checking my email in high school, but that stopped in college. I need to start doing it again because it’s not proper to send late emails.
  43. Don’t take your phone or laptop out in class. I learned this lesson in high school. You’ll use the excuse of typing notes, but you know you’ll lull off and check Instagram and Facebook when you get bored. Just take notes by hand and pay attention in class. Limit your distractions and keep your laptop in your bag.
  44. It’s hard to stay in touch with high school friends, but it’s worth it. I am the friend that will call you after a few weeks or month to see how you’re doing. You should learn to do that. People appreciate it.
  45. Everyone jaywalks in Atlanta. The police don’t care. I once jaywalked passed a policeman who was jaywalking ON THE SAME STREET. If you don’t know how to jaywalk safely, don’t do it. I’ve mastered the skill. And please don’t jaywalk in the suburbs. That’s just plain stupid.
  46. Make weekly lunch dates with friends. One of my elementary school best friends and I had lunch every Monday. We didn’t have any classes together and seldom run into each other, so we had to plan times to hang out. This’ll happen even if you live on campus. When your days don’t naturally coincide with someone else’s, you need to make an effort to hang out. Make recurring plans. It’s always worth it.
  47. Take classes outside your major. It’ll make you a more well-rounded person and I’ve loved learning about nontraditional things.
  48. Make friends with upperclassmen. I learned so much from the upperclassmen I met last year. They’ll tell you all the secret spots and shortcuts to use.
  49. There will be some days where you’re just going through the motions. Usually when you’re hungover. Kidding! I wouldn’t know, but I think everybody has days like this and college is no different. It’s not nonstop partying and studying.
  50. Enjoy every second because it doesn’t last long. I hate cliches. That was a very cliche way to end this post, but I will say that my freshman year went by FAST. I’m not saying this in a nostalgic way because I’m not a very nostalgic person. I’m saying this in that you are so busy all the time that you don’t have time to process all the things that have happened and everything you have to do.

I’m currently a month into Sophomore year, so I took a while to finally write and publish this post. It was supposed to go live on Thursday, but I waited. I’m really proud of myself because a year ago, or even a few months ago, I would’ve scolded myself for not following my blog schedule, but I didn’t feel guilty. I’ve been so busy the last few weeks that I’m learning to give myself some grace. Even so, that’s not fair to you. I’m still going to be as consistent as I can, so expect a post on Thursday.

Until next time…


What did you learn in your Freshman year of college? What is your most exciting memory from your first year?

3 thoughts on “50 Things I Learned In My Freshman Year Of College

  1. It’s interesting you mention food prices at places around the college. Town Brookhaven is already high but our “Petrel Partners” give discounts to Ogles. So we get a few discounts at places, 10% off at Tropical for instance, and we usually avoid those that we don’t get discounts.

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