A Recent Grad’s Perspective: Things I Wished I Had Known Freshmen Year

Genevieve Lewis


September 1, 2021

It’s almost that time of year again; it’s so close you can almost smell the sweat of dads or moms carrying heaps of luggage up dorm staircases. It’s Move In Day.

Incoming freshmen: between last minute trips to Bed Bath and Beyond and parents taking awkward pictures with your new roommate, here are some things I wish I had known when I was in your shoes.  

  1. Say “yes.” If someone asks if you want to get breakfast, walk to class together, anything – say yes. This is the time to really reach out of your comfort zone to find your people. It can be scary at first, but remember everyone else is in the same position.
  2. The first people you become friends with will probably not become your main friend group you graduate with. Keep an open mind, and keep making new connections.
  3. You don’t have to drink like crazy during syllabus week. And honestly, don’t. Not many freshmen know their limits by this point. By all means have fun and meet new people, but don’t try to keep up with the upperclassmen.
  4. Don’t take that 8am. I know you did it (and even earlier) in high school, but for some reason 8 AM just really hits differently in college. You’ll end up not going to class more than you bargained for. Just take the 9 AM.
  5. Make your first semester light course load wise. Give yourself room to adjust to your new life. You don’t need to be a superstar taking 18+ credits in all of the STEM classes (I’m looking at you, premeds). You have a lot of adjusting to do both academically and socially. There will always be time to take those classes when you’re more settled.
  6. Your roommate doesn’t have to be your best friend. In fact, it’s probably better if they’re not.  
  7. Social media from everyone you know from high school will tell you everyone is having a great time and already made a lot of friends. Take it from me, it’s not always what it seems. My Instagram makes it seem like I had a perfect, widely fun four years. Trust me, that is far from the truth.
  8. Freshman year is HARD. There are not many people I know, especially in the first semester, who loved their college at first. Give it time.
  9. Join that sorority or fraternity if you want – but don’t make that your only social connection in college. Join other organizations and clubs and have other friend groups. You’ll thank yourself later.
  10. Sunday scaries are so, so real. There’s going to be a time you embarrass yourself Saturday night and feel like everyone is looking at you on Sunday. I promise, they’re not. They probably don’t remember either and even if they do, so much happens at college it’s like the 24-hour news cycle: everyone will forget about it and move on to the next thing in a day. Everyone’s been there. Put on a hat and some sunglasses and keep going.
  11. College goes by in the blink of an eye. Seriously, take it all in and savor every moment. You’ll be in a cap and gown before you know it.
  12. College doesn’t have to be the greatest four years of your life. Reminding yourself of this takes so much pressure off your experience so you can actually enjoy it.

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With immense gratitude, the Promly Team.

Genevieve Lewis

Genevieve (she, her) is a recent graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Public Health and majored in both Public Health and Political Science with a minor in Psychology. She is currently a post-baccalaureate student at the University of Vermont finishing up her pre-medical coursework. Her goal in life is to become a physician who advocates for issues surrounding maternal and child health and is involved in Public Health policy. In her free time, Genevieve loves to read, nap, and binge watch shows on Netflix.