Advice I’d Give to a College Freshman

Hi everyone! How are we all doing this week?

A few days ago I received an email from my advisor saying they were asking 4th-year students for advice we would give to first-gen college students, or just college freshmen. I’m technically considered a junior here, since I transferred from my previous college my senior year but still have to do 2 years where I’m at now. But I decided to partake anyway, since I’ve been in school for 4 years now.

This seemed like a fun idea, so I thought I might make a blog post out of it. I also thought this would be a good way to introduce you all to my (very tentative) new blogging schedule! *cheering*

I’d like to post bookish stuff on Monday mornings. Then, on Wednesdays, I want to post literally anything else not book-related that I feel like blogging about.

The goal here is to have a post go up twice a week, but I think this allows me a little bit of wiggle room. For example, if I don’t have anything bookish to post next Monday, I can still post something else on Wednesday so at least there’s some activity on my end that week! So I guess we will see how this goes. Keep in mind that I still post daily on my Instagram (@dreaming.in.paperbacks) and my Twitter (@DPaperbacks).

And now, onto the advice!

When asked to sum up my advice in 1-2 sentences, I’ll admit I struggled a bit. I thought it would be easy to come up with something simple, but I found I had a lot more to say than I thought.

Pay attention to your hobbies and passions

This one is huge. I know there are people who say it’s important to have hobbies outside of what you do for work, and I agree that is likely true. I’m not disagreeing with that. But I am saying that when you’re [insert age] and trying to decide what you’re going to get paid to do FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE (no pressure or anything), maybe you should consider those hobbies and things you’ve been passionate about growing up.

For me, that’s reading and writing. A hobby and a passion rolled into one (not that I knew I was passionate about it at the time, but I did know it was my hobby). I’ve been reading since forever and writing since I was 10. But what did I go to school for?

First, when I applied, accounting. Then I considered business. I settled on Interactive Digital Studies, which I’m not even going to try to explain because my previous school sort of convinced me this was the New Age Way To Go, but failed to actually explain what it even was. I still don’t know.

Long story short, I eventually realized (with a little help. . . I’ll get to that in a moment) that I could, and should, go to school for reading and writing. Why not get paid to do things I do in my free time, that I’ve been sort of training myself for my entire life?

And while I agree it’s important to have hobbies separate from your job, I’m totally open to joining kickboxing or trying yoga or working out or SOMETHING. I’m a “junior” and I’m already thinking about other stuff I can do in my free time. But that part comes later. First, take your hobby and make it your job. THEN find another outlet later.

Sometimes your parents are right

This one is hard for some of us to admit. I have no problem admitting it. Both of my parents ended up being right, in the long run.

My sister is a year older than me and when she was a senior, my dad took us on a (self-led) visit to the University of Iowa. Neither of us decided to go there because it felt too big and daunting and scary, instead both deciding to go to the University of Northern Iowa. I went there because my sister went there and we lived together. But where did I end up later on? Yep, University of Iowa. Where I’m at now. And I love it way more than I ever loved UNI.

So, my dad was right about going here. Even my sister says she wishes she would’ve gone here. I absolutely love it. Perhaps I would have made the right decision back then if we had gone on an ACTUAL college visit here, but still. . . he was right. I’ll admit it.

When I was a senior in high school my mom told me I should go into publishing, because I was a good writer and I read all the time. I kind of brushed the idea off because it didn’t seem realistic and I knew literally nothing about it. Well, my 3rd year of college I decided to transfer schools the next year so I could study English, writing, and publishing. So, yeah.

Sometimes your parents know what they’re talking about.

You’ll have to help yourself

This sounds rough but it’s something I’ve learned the hard way. If you need help with something, you have to find help. It won’t come find you.

Which is not to say it’s hard to find help. Professors make themselves super available, sometimes there are TAs to help you, there are so many places to go for anything you need help with. You just have to be willing to shoot an email or go to office hours or walk somewhere to talk to someone. If you go looking for it, there will be help for you.

Sometimes it’s just hard

This one speaks for itself, because this applies to anything I guess. But I mention it anyway because college is depicted everywhere as this fun, breezy thing where you can go to parties every weekend and get drunk and have one night stands and it’s the time of your life.

It gets hard sometimes. Academically, mentally, emotionally. You might not think you can handle it. But if that happens, see above, because if you’re willing to find help there will always be someone willing to help you with it.

Call your parents

Just do it. They love you and they want to hear from you. (This obviously applies to those with a healthy family dynamic. If that’s not you, then please don’t call them because that seems like a bad idea, right?)

And finally. . .

It’s not for everyone

You may get through part of it and realize it’s not your thing, that you’re better off without it. And that’s okay. Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s not okay. But make sure you find a job so you can start making that bank!

Well, there you guys go. That’s some of my advice for new college students. As soon as this posts I’ll probably think of more I could’ve added. In fact, I’m thinking of more stuff right now, but I want to end this here.

If YOU have advice you’d like to add, comment below! We’d all love to hear what you have to say. Maybe it will actually help someone out someday. Even if it doesn’t, I’m curious to hear what you all would tell your past selves or someone thinking about college.

Until next time!

xoxo, Hayden

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21-year-old college student, lover of books and proud owner of Dreaming in Paperbacks blog, dreaming.in.paperbacks bookstagram, and DPaperbacks Twitter. Looking for more book, college, and lifestyle blogs to follow!

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