The above pictures a tiny little place in the middle of nowhere, Ecuador, called Casa del Arbor, which means “Treehouse.” The same tree that holds this small house also has a precariously tied swing, upon which visitors can sit and swing out into the open air where, if you dropped, you would die of fright before reaching the ground. I have a friend who had this on his list of things to do before the end of freshman year. He managed to do it before sophomore year, though not quite while he was still a freshman.
While some of us may not be quite so inclined to jump off of the edge of the world in their freshman year, we all have goals. And I’m not here to tell you what those goals are, but I am going to tell you what those goals are. I speak from experience. Do these 8 things your freshman year. Most of them will take no time at all and will make your college years all the better.
Learn where to study.
This is probably the most obvious one. Everyone has a different study spot. My roommate liked doing homework at his desk in our room. The guy who lived next door went to the same desk in the same library every day. I personally enjoyed switching it up every day. One day I would be in my room, the next on the lawn in front of my dorm, and sometimes in a secluded area of a random building I managed to gain access to. To study successfully, you have to figure out in what environment you learn best. Is it a quite place where everyone minds their own business? Is it a crowded places loaded with distractions? Or is it in the comfort of your own bed? Just knowing the answer to these questions can help you do better in school and stay away from whatever you may consider distractions.
Try something you have never tried before.
Have you never drank coffee before? Try it. Have you ever had a job? Try it. Have you ever skipped out on going to church to hang out with that Justin Timberlake lookalike from Anthropology 206 who you’re pretty sure wants to “study” with you? Try it. If you want to.
Visit a friend at a different school.
This may be hard if you don’t have friends. But chances are, you have friends at another college somewhere. Visit them. Figure out what the rest of the world is like. Reaffirm that you made the right choice in going to your college. Check out the different social dynamics and culture at another institution. Even if you went out-of-state to go to school, you’re really not seeing the world like you should be if you’re going home for every break.
Visit a different college and make friends.
Just because you’re visiting other places doesn’t make you a traveler. The best part about traveling (in my opinion) is meeting new people. Find a weekend, or a short break from school, and go somewhere you’ve never been before. You don’t have to know anyone there. Make new friends. Don’t plan. Be spontaneous, and see where the world takes you. College will only get harder, and once you get out, life hits you in the face, so really, there isn’t much more time to spontaneously show up somewhere and make friends. Do it now.
Stay in on a Saturday night (or #turnup).
Preferably with some of your closest friends. There are two extremes in the Freshman Spectrum. There are the kids who go out every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. And there are the kids who never go out. If you’re in either of those extremes, switch it up. Freshman year is all about discovery. Discover what you like, discover what you are capable of, and discover yourself and your friends. If all you do with your closest friends is go shot for shot in a frat house after pregaming with Jungle Juice, then I’m guessing you haven’t really had the opportunity to sit down and talk about your lives. While probably short and relatively uneventful, your lives are still worth talking about. Everyone’s is.
Contrastingly, if all you do is study in your room, your parents are paying way too much for you to not have fun.
Find someone you’re attracted to, and do something about it (or not).
Don’t let adults tell you it’s not love. Just because their definition of love is plausibly more specific and understood than your definition does not constitute a right on their part to dismiss your feelings as petty flings. You feel what you feel, and you should probably do something about it, like maybe, ask him/her/other on a date. Or propose. Just, you do you.
But also, don’t feel like you have to find someone. You don’t. And if you don’t, you’ll probably have more free time and save money anyway.
Find your place on campus
This one’s not for studying. This is your free place. It’s where you come to do smoke a cigarette if you really need one. It’s where you bring the person you found from taking my advice just above. It’s where you listen to music and drink by yourself because that same person is no longer interested in you. It’s the destination of your walk after pulling an all-nighter to study for a test that you bombed. It’s where you come to celebrate that you got the lowest grade you’ve ever gotten, and you couldn’t be more proud of it. Find your place that you can always go to.
Tell someone about your year.
It doesn’t feel real until you recount it to someone. Maybe it’s a friend back home. Maybe it’s your mom. You could even wait until you get back home and tell your puppy. Tell them about the good things, the bad things, and the things you could say were fun, but actually was horrible if you think about it. Tell them everything. Because, why make memories, if you can’t remember them?