15 ways to survive your freshman year

College is the time of your life. Right?

It is four years unlike anything else you have ever experienced.

For someone just 18 years old and away from home for the very first time, it can be both thrilling and exhilarating, while also frightening and even a bit daunting.

Freshman year means learning to juggle all of the tasks that come saddled with independence and adulthood.   For some, laundry, managing money, budgeting, and appropriately scheduling time are all new, “first-time” experiences and challenges.

In the past the only thing that mattered about school was grades.  Now you have all of these additional responsibilities.  And while this new independence is an adjustment, it also can truly be “the time of your life.”

Learning how to navigate through all of these new mazes, while meeting new people, establishing new friendships, and expanding your academic horizons is what college is all about.  So, dear freshman, take a page from this senior’s guide book and learn from one who’s been there/done that.  Here are 15 tools to help you survive your freshman year:

1. Get a planner and actually plan. Google Calendar is also a great tool to sync all of your devices together. It allows you to have your calendar at all times.

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2. Coffee is your best friend. Learn to love it. (Fact: Redbull works too, especially late nights in the library.)  “Coffee is an acquired taste and you most likely will acquire it around finals,” said senior business major Jacki Theiss.

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3. Join an organization to make friends. Intramurals, Greek life, and clubs are all good options. “Rush a frat. It’s the best decision you’ll ever make,” said senior political science major Ari Zaleznick.

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4. Back up your work. ALWAYS. “Get an external hard drive or use Google drive so you don’t lose your memories, homework, papers, research, and time,” said senior education major KC Spratford.

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5. If you are living in a dorm, give yourself enough time to move your clothes from washer to dryer. “People will move your clothes which can be gross when you consider you don’t know where their hands have been that day,” said senior communications major Hope Klicker.

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6. Wake up at 8 a.m. and register for classes on your assigned day. It will pay off.  “If you wait, you will lose an opportunity to get the classes you want or need and you DO NOT want to take extra classes or semesters,” said recent College Of Charleston graduate Alicia Evans.

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7. Do not get so drunk that you cannot swipe into your dorm. If EMT gets called you’re in trouble. Word of advice: Make friends or at least make friends with the night shift guards.

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8. If you can study abroad, do it. You only live once.  “It was the most amazing experience of my life. I encourage anyone who can go to go,” said senior communications major Corinne Colao.

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9. Try to get as many internships as you can after your freshman year.  The paid ones are the best.

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10. Add the cougar shuttle, campus safety, and health services phone numbers to your contact list. This is a necessity and you will be happy to have it on hand. Also, add Mama Kims and Kicken Chicken.

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11. Learn how to budget your money and spending. After cramming for an exam, retail therapy is a necessity, so whether you choose to buy new clothes or have some beers, stay budget conscious! “New clothes and yummy drinks will always make your day better after taking a stressful exam. Make sure you have money for that,” said Spratford.

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12.  Count calories, come up with a work out schedule, or do both. Just avoid the freshman 15. “Charleston is such a beautiful city. There is no reason you can’t run to the Battery or walk the bridge,” said Evans.

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13.  If you haven’t heard of Rate-My-Professor, learn it, love it, and embrace it.  It is a great resource and will help you choose between two professors.

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14. There are way CHEAPER options than buying your textbooks at the College of Charleston bookstore. Chegg is a great option and so is Amazon. “Generally college bookstores are a huge rip-off, ” said Zaleznick.

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15. Do things you normally wouldn’t do and don’t be afraid to try and try again. “Be crazy, be wild, and be outrageous. Always leave time to study but always leave time for fun,” said Theiss.

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– by Halie Langhals

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