Entering college is a major life event, and it can take real adjustment! I learned a lot of lessons about friendship, academics, and life in general my first year of college. I’m now a rising sophomore, and I’m sharing the top 7 things I wish I did differently my freshman year.

  1. Joined a student org first semester

Most universities have a large assortment of clubs, societies, and student organizations to give students an opportunity to get involved on campus or in the community. My first semester, I made the mistake of not joining any clubs! I did join a club my second semester, but I wish I took that step sooner. Looking back, making friends would have been a lot easier my freshman year if I joined a student org early on.

  1. Said “yes” more often

There were a lot of times when I had an opportunity to step outside my comfort zone, but I chose not to. Many of those times, I just wanted to study or curl up in my room and watch Netflix. If I had said “yes” those times, I likely would have walked away from my freshman year with several more great stories and rich experiences.

  1. Bonded more with the roommates I was randomly matched with

I opted for a “random” roommate during my school’s housing selection. I was matched with not one but two roommates! While we all seemed to like each other, we never became close friends. At the end of the school year, I stayed up until midnight with one of my roommates for the midnight release of Taylor Swift’s “ME!” music video. It was one of our best experiences together. I wish we had done more roommate bonding activities over the year!

  1. Studied more outside my room

When you have work to do, it can be tempting to retreat to your room and study at your own desk…or on your bed. But, studying in a library, coffee shop, or common room can be even better. My second semester, I made an effort to study in the library, and I became so much more productive. I felt energized seeing other students working hard, too!

  1. Bonded more with my professors

I only went to my professors’ office hours a few times. Looking back, I wish I went more. Several of my peers told me that going to office hours regularly actually boosted their grades, since the professors appreciated those students’ effort and dedication. Also, now that I’m choosing a major, it would have been helpful to have discussions with my favorite professors about my future plans.

  1. Been more confident about speaking my mind in class

Whenever I had classes with upperclassmen, I felt intimidated by them! I thought their opinions were more enlightened than mine, so I spoke up less than I wanted to. There were also times when my opinion differed from the class majority’s, and I didn’t speak up at all. As I gained more confidence, I was more vocal in class, and my professors really appreciated it. Speaking up got easier every time.

  1. Done more acts of kindness

College isn’t easy, and you never know what someone else is going through. I wish I gave more compliments to strangers and held more doors open. I wish I thanked dining staff and janitors more often, too. The times I did random acts of kindness around campus, it felt great knowing I was spreading positivity. A simple act of kindness can change someone’s whole day.

When fall rolls around, I’ll make it my priority to do all of the above!

Jenn B