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Image from Pexels

As I am writing this, I have just completed my last final. My freshman year of college is officially over. While this year on whole was great, it had its ups and downs, and I learned a lot . I figured I should share some of the lessons I’ve picked up using one of the most salient media formats of our generation: the listicle. Without further ado, here are XX things I learned my freshman year of college.

Friends & Relationships

  1. The people you meet during orientation are probably not going to be your best friends
  2. If you don’t nail down a roommate contract early in the year, you may end up sexiled at 1 a.m. during midterms.
  3. I’ve found that friend groups can get kind of insular and cliquey. Attending club meets is a great way to expand your social circle.
  4. Hook up culture exists and it is weird.
  5. You will likely lose touch with some of your high school friends. It’s a bummer, but people do grow apart from one another.
  6. Conversely, other friendships may stay constant or even strengthen with distance. Plus, with Skype and Snapchat, it’s easier than ever to stay in contact with people.
  7. It is totally possible to have fun without drugs or alcohol.
  8. If you’re feeling lonely, call your parents or someone from home who you can talk to. It will help—trust me.


  1. Find a cool study spot as early as you can. It’ll make it way easier to grind through thoseproblem sets.
  2. 9 a.m. in college feels like 6 a.m. outside of college.
  3. Taking a three-hour seminar that meets at 9 a.m. on Friday is unequivocally a bad idea.
  4. READ. THE. SYLLABUS. It actually has a lot of pertinent information and will save you time and confusion!
  5. Pulling an all-nighter is doable but it will make you feel like setting yourself on fire.
  6. Though (hopefully) your professors want you to learn, they are not as personally invested in your education as your high school teachers were. It’s up to you to seek out extra help, whether that be through office hours, TA sessions, tutoring, or another resource.


  1. Before you write your email on a club’s mailing list, know that you are committing to receiving periodic emails from them for the rest of the year—maybe the rest of your life.
  2. The best way to work your way towards a leadership position in a club/extracurricular is very simple: just show up and participate consistently. It shows that you are trustworthy and committed.
  3. Start looking for summer opportunities early! (Like, start of the year early.)


  1. The following are dorm life essentials: mattress pad, shower flip-flops, dry shampoo, and Febreze.
  2. Wearing a lanyard will instantly peg you as a clueless freshman.
  3. Everyone has a different adjustment period when starting college, and it can range anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple semesters.
  4. Sometimes you spend 4 years trying to get rid of your hormonal acne and then it just goes away on its own.
  5. No one cares if you eat alone in the dining hall.
  6. Gender is not a binary
  7. Sex is not a binary
  8. Nothing is a binary, probably
  9. College is a good time to experiment with ugly haircuts and weird fashion choices.
  10. Layering is crucial to surviving New England winters.
  11. People at college come from different backgrounds and have had different experiences than you, and you have to be conscious of that when engaging in discussions or even just casual conversations.
  12. My college is considered small (approximately 3,000 undergraduates), but I feel like I see new people everyday. Size is relative.
  13. At some point, everyone gets screwed over by housing, course selection, study abroad, or some other registration process. You just have to roll with it.
  14. Your SAT scores do not matter one iota once you graduate high school.
  15. Many students experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health obstacles. There is no shame in reaching out for help.
  16. There is no universal college experience. Some people find their groove right away; others have difficult adjustment periods. Some can take on tons of clubs and leadership positions and oppor right away; others might only want to focus on their academics for a while. Some have the best time of their life at college; others discover that a traditional university is not for them at all. This is your life, and whatever you come to find about yourself, you gotta do you.

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the author

Celeste Barnaby is a senior at a tiny private school in Reno, Nevada, also known as the Neon Babylon. She has committed to attend Wesleyan University and plans to major in film studies (but she's keeping an open mind). When she’s not stressing out over her schoolwork or procrastinating said work, she enjoys horseback riding, writing macabre short stories, and shopping for flannels. You can observe her attempts at humor and various television-related obsessions on her Tumblr.

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