Five things I wish I knew before my freshman year

By Branda Mitchell

The weeks leading up to your first year of college are an exciting (and probably slightly nerve-wracking) time in your life — you’re moving away from home for the first time, maybe you don’t know many people on campus and you aren’t sure what to expect.

When I first set foot on SIU’s campus, there was a lot I didn’t know about what the college experience is actually like. Here are a few things I wish someone had told me.

  1. Your academic advisor is not a miracle worker

Familiarize yourself with the registration calendar, the university’s core curriculum and your degree program’s requirements. It is much easier to drop a class on your own before the deadline passes than to spend the next three years fixing your GPA from a failing grade. Speaking of classes, don’t sign up for an 8 a.m. if at all possible.


    2. Everything in moderation

Going on midnight trips to Denny’s, drinking one too many cheap beers and pulling all-nighters to study will happen, but it should not be a weekly occurrence. Your body, wallet and sanity will thank you in the long run.

  1. Explore your interests

Now is the time to try out anything and everything you are even remotely interested in. Take a course to fulfill an elective credit or join one of the hundreds of registered student organizations. It’s an easy way to meet friends (more on that later) and possibly find a new hobby.

  1. Choose your friends wisely

The people you spend time with will be a defining part of your college experience. When you first move into the dorms it’s easy to find comfort in people who live close by, but they may not share your idea of what college should be like — this will not make for lasting friendships. If you don’t like to go out on the weekends, find people who would also rather stay in and watch a movie.

  1. Think twice before you post on social media

Starting a career may be a distant thought when you are just starting college, but your future employee will beg to differ. There is no need to share every photo from your weekend nights out on the town, and that slightly offensive but funny meme will not be so funny in four years.

No two college experiences are the same. I can guarantee you will make your own mistakes, but don’t sweat it — everyone does. But if you follow the advice I’ve laid out here, I can promise you’ll be a step ahead of some of your peers. Good luck, be smart and enjoy these next four years, because they’ll be over in the blink of an eye.

Staff writer Branda Mitchell can be reached at bmitc[email protected] or on Twitter at @Branda_Mitchell.


To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.