You’ve heard all the conventional college advice and wisdom. Always attend class, and not to be scared to talk to your professors, but there are tons of tips and tricks to college that no one tells you. Navigating a new campus your freshman year can be tough, but hopefully these tips will save you from endlessly searching your entire campus.

1) Always know where to find free food

College campuses are constantly holding events and fundraisers that are typically free for students. Most freshman tend to shy away from these events, but my advice to you is to attend as many as you can. These events usually give out free food, and in college, anything free is a must. These events are usually catered, so the food ends up being better than the food you would find in your dining hall. Take advantage as often as you can; you can score a free meal, and you get the chance to meet new people.

2) Sometimes the best place to study isn’t the library

The library is a great place to get some work done in a crunch, however they tend to get overcrowded.  Sometimes it may be hard to find a quiet spot. In a situation like this, sometimes the best places on campus to study or get some homework done is in an empty classroom. Just pick your favorite building on campus, and I am sure that there is an empty classroom nearby. This is usually more effective as night, as there is less of a chance of there being a class in session. Classrooms serve as a great space to get work done, and they are usually pretty quiet as no one tends to walk through while you’re working, unlike the library.

3) Bring your ID everywhere

If your school ID is out and ready to go wherever you may go on campus, it not only makes things easier for you and the university staff, but it will also save you from being that person who has to dump the entire contents of their backpack out on the floor in order to find your ID. At my school, you need your ID to swipe into the residence buildings, so if your ID is in your pocket or in your hand, you can get into the building much faster. Also, if you are off campus, having your ID handy can also get you some really awesome discounts. Many college towns offer special student discounts if you show your ID, so having it with you can save you a couple bucks.

4) Eating alone is completely normal

No one will judge you or look at you differently if you are seen eating alone in the cafeteria. Sometimes it’s hard to find a friend or someone to eat with because everyone has such different schedules, and everyone else understands that too. This isn’t high school; you won’t be laughed at or mocked for making sure you eat before class.

5) Map out your class route

You don’t want to end up being that person who is seen running across campus because you don’t know the most effective route. Before classes, try walking the route you would take to each class. Bear in mind that things may be a little different once there are hundreds of other kids also trying to get to their classes, so the foot traffic may be heavier. If you find yourself making it to class with only a minute to spare, then I would suggest finding a better route.

6) Dress however you’d like

Some people prefer a well put-together look and a full face of makeup, other prefer sweats and a messy bun. Whichever you prefer to wear to class, I say rock it. No one will think twice whichever way you decide to go. Personally, I prefer a polished look, even for class. It shows your professors that you’re serious about your education just as much as they are. But, I also have friends that swear by their favorite over-sized tee and yoga pants. Wear whatever makes you feel confident and comfortable.

7) Bring water with you everywhere

This is one of those tips that I’ve had to learn for myself once I got to school. I didn’t think a water bottle was necessary for class, as I was only there for an hour and fifteen minutes. However, my water bottle turned out to be a lifesaver. I make sure to fill mine up every morning, and I carry it with me all throughout the day. This is also a great way to make sure that you stay hydrated; if water is readily available to you, you’re more likely to drink it. So treat yourself to a new water bottle and you’re set for the semester.

8) Free T-shirts

This is especially true during the beginning of each semester, but colleges are always giving away promotional t-shirts either for the university itself or for different groups on campus. This is a great way to snag some free shirts, but also to hear about what’s going on on campus. You can never have too many t-shirts, so try and stock up the beginning of each semester, and they’ll last you all year long.

9) Check how your credits are distributed

Some colleges and universities charge per credit, or per class, but others charge one flat fee within a certain range of credits. For example, at my school, there is one flat tuition fee for full-time students up to 18 credits. This means that I can take up to 18 credits a semester without having to pay any overage fees. Of course, you can choose to take less, however you will still pay the same amount of money. To get the most for your money, I would suggest looking into your school’s policy to best take advantage of what your university offers.

10) Know your traditions

Each school has its own set of quirky rules and traditions that everyone follows. You will usually learn these during welcome week or during orientation. However, if you don’t, make sure to ask a friend or upperclassman. You definitely don’t want to be that one person who messes up in front of everyone.

Joleen T
FFL Contributor
Joleen is a Contributor at FFL. She enjoys reading, going to Chipotle, and drinking copious amounts of coffee. You can find her at the library, or studying for the LSAT. Her goal is to become a lawyer, and eventually run for public office. Her role models are Nikki Haley and Sandra Day O’Connor.

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