College Freshman Survival Tips

As you may know (or not know), I graduated high school this year and am now attending the University of Florida. I thought my seemingly ~okay~ study habits would carry into my college career pretty successfully, and it did during my summer term (June 2014). But then again, in the summer, I wasn't taking hardcore science and math classes that were supposedly "weed-out" courses for engineering and pre-health/med students.

I have yet to accumulate enough experience to share a 100% infallible "how-to-survive-college" list of tips, but this is my take on how to stress a BIT LESS during your first year in a university environment, especially if where you're attending will be, or is huge. I'll skip the cliche advice such as "STUDY HARD" or "PARTY LESS", because we all have that embedded into our brains and conscience by now.

1. DUAL ENROLLMENT CREDITS ARE GOLDEN
If you're still in high school, this is one of the MAIN things that I cannot stress ENOUGH, and my biggest regret. Some competitive universities (like UF), will NOT accept AP credits if your major requires them. I guess they'd rather make sure you actually know the content if you're going to pursue a life-long career with it, which is only logical. Still sucks though. So basically, passing AP Chemistry won't get you out of CHM2045 and lab at UF, and you'll just have to die (not really.. maybe).

However, having a dual enrollment credit for chemistry, calculus, or any of the other possibly life-threatening courses will count towards your degree, at least at most universities. Before attending, I recommend to check somehow to see if any of those difficult classes are even MORE (purposely) difficult at your specific institution, so you can escape them. Seriously. (Only recommend if you actually learned the content though!)

2. Go to class
I know what you're thinking, that it's such a cliche statement, and I sound like your mom. Skipping class didn't seem so brutal in high school, minus the dirty looks your teacher and some students gave you in your 20-30 person classroom. In college, like you may already know and if you live away from home, no one is there to make you get up in the morning and go to class. Plus, in an auditorium that seats 300-500 people, no one will even notice if you didn't attend for 8 weeks straight, AND there are no attendance penalties in most lectures! Sounds like heaven right? ..NOPE.

Missing ONE lecture hurts, but it won't hurt as bad as making it a habit. The transition from high school to college is huge, and the most drastic thing is the amount of hours you HAVE TO spend at school. In high school, 7 hours was (wasted) spent every weekday. In college, you go to school 3-4 hours a day, maybe even less. It's more tempting to skip one class that's only 50 minutes.

The impact of skipping class will differ depending on what class you're taking, but when referring to major classes such as chemistry, missing one lecture is like missing an entire week of high school. No exaggerations. If you skip, make sure you catch up through online lecture recordings, or through YouTube, or SOMETHING. Please don't fall behind (had to learn this the ultimately hard way).

3. Comfort > Fashion
You might have already noticed this if you've been on a college campus. Almost everyone is in yoga pants, athletic wear, baggy t's.. Clothes that just don't seem to fit in the criteria of "fashion". It was unfortunate for me that I couldn't wear my sky-high boots to class anymore, or my daring dresses, or even heavy make up which I used to love so much. Realistically speaking though, it isn't like I will ever want to wear platforms to class when I have to walk a mile, or get dolled up for an 8:30 lecture where no one will even notice if I have make up on or not. I'm not trivializing the importance of fashion, but it seems less prioritized in college, which is not a bad thing. After all, you're here to learn.. Right? (I still can't stop my online shopping addiction though.)

4. Grades > Extracurriculars
If you were one of those kids in high school who made extracurricular activities their life, then this is for you. Clubs and activities are just as, if not, more important in college, BUT a lot of people forget that grades reflect more strongly than things on your resume.


You're most likely familiar with the above image. It's very much true.

4. Keep a grip on your bank account
And if you don't have a bank account, make one. If the numbers on your checking account don't guilt trip you into spending less, or if you've just become immune to feeling like shit for spending $50 on an eyeshadow palette when you should have spent it on something more reasonable like food, then I'd say the only route left is self control (unless you're blessed with unlimited disposable income). Once again bringing up the fact that you're on your own now—there's less people to nag at you for splurging and spoiling yourself, and sometimes you need it. However, you should monitor your spending. After all, you're almost a full-grown adult now and should manage your own finances.. (fear)

5. BETTER FOOD = HAPPY YOU (and prevent the notorious "Freshman 15")
I am guilty of spending $5 on coffee twice a week, and I buy fast food every so often because I can't for the love of god shake off Chick-Fil-A cravings. For the most part though, I eat at home.. Mainly rice, side dishes, and steamed veggies. If you have a meal plan, that's good too (at least you aren't starving), but school cafeterias are infamous for leading students into weight gain (seriously, how can one not gain weight though, it's like a freaking buffet in there). It's incredibly tempting most of the time to go out and eat, because for one, you don't have to cook, and two, it probably tastes better than what you can make. BUT, you have no idea what goes into your food (unhealthy "things", most likely), and it costs a heck of a lot more to eat a meal out than to buy groceries.

6. Your 'A' in high school ≠ 'A' in college
Self explanatory, and a very, very, very brutal reality.

So, that's it! These are the six main things I've learned.. and endured during my first actual semester of college. Hopefully no one points out that it may sound hypocritical, but I DID mention that these are things that I had to ~learn~ the hard way ^__^;;

Summertime Black






Beanie from LoveTokki (found here), Romper and boots from Forever 21

At times I feel as if I'm growing tired of my orange hair, and I get a sudden urge to cut my hair short like the rest of the female population and dye it back to black. Whenever I wear all black however, I notice how the clash of my orange hair and the black clothing just look so damn good together, which is a combination that I would have never thought of two years ago. Sometimes, even something as simple as hair can make the statement you need.

I start college in about two months, and it's extremely bittersweet. I've grown increasingly "anti-social" over the years and I highly doubt that a new environment will let me evolve out of my "shell", and at the same time I don't want to be left alone, like it kind of is now(?). Everyone around me are dying to go, and I thought I would share the same sheer excitement to leave this city, but this has grown to be my comfort zone. I'm growing worrisome over even the tiniest aspects of college, and mostly, the work load. I'm hoping to find a home there soon, though.