As a senior at MSU, I can say that college changed me a lot. As an incoming freshman, I didn't know how college was going to be and I didn't entirely know who I was as a person. I remember when my parents finished moving me into my dorm, as soon as they left me behind to start a new chapter in my life I felt a whirlwind of emotions.
How was I going to grow into a young adult?
My college experience had a lot of ups and downs. I didn't really have a clue on how to navigate myself through college. I had to figure out who I was and where I belonged all on my own.
If I could do it all over, there are some things I would have done differently. Here are 10 things I would tell my freshman self:
1) Be yourself. I went in blind with my roommates freshman year. The first month of school was fun, being social and meeting new people. My three roommates and I did everything together and we were the loudest room on the floor. I got caught up in being the most social and crazy room on the floor that I wasn't being myself anymore. A few months after move-in day, I realized this loud and crazy person is not who I am and not who I wanted to be.
2) Don't be shy. As a freshman, I was sometimes afraid of going to do things alone, introducing myself to new people and speaking up about things I wanted to do with my friends. Looking back, I wish I was more confident and vocal about my opinions and interests.
3) Try not to take higher level classes freshman year. This may not be for everyone, but I was way in over my head when I enrolled in sophomore-level physiology. It was a 600 student lecture class my first semester at MSU. I did not know there was an option to drop classes or that there was a specific drop date. I emailed my advisor that I was not doing well in the class, and she told me that the drop date had already passed. That grade stays with you.
4) Don't be afraid to sit alone in the cafeteria. Freshmen are always afraid to be seen eating alone in the caf. Nobody has the same schedule, and in college - you have to eat when you can. During the school week, and even on the weekends don't be afraid to go to the cafeteria alone. It's normal and no one will care.
5) Get a head start on study abroad planning. One thing I regret as a senior is not researching and meeting with advisors on planning a study abroad trip. I still want to experience study abroad, but now I am not sure if I can fit it in the short time I have left. I wish I looked into it my sophomore or junior year.
6) Make sure to frequently meet with your advisor. Schedule appointments with your advisor throughout your academic career to make sure you are taking enough classes to graduate in the time that you want to. My personal goal is to graduate in four years but I got stuck cramming 16 credits in to my summer before senior year because I failed to make sure I was taking enough credits each semester. Do not screw yourself over. I would advise making an appointment at least once a semester.
7) East Lansing will catch you with a fake ID. Do not try to use that fake ID from Ohio or Illinois.
8) Eat more salads and less ice cream and pizza. The cafeterias offer an unlimited buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At first, this will be the greatest thing ever because you can get doughnuts for breakfast and pizza and ice cream for dinner. Don't even get me started on the Brody pasta station.. Be careful though, or else that junk food will catch up to you. The freshman 15 is real.
9) Establish an exercise routine. If you don't establish a regular exercise routine, you probably won't find yourself working out very frequently. People will always ask you to hangout last minute, and it is very easy to say yes every time and not set aside time for yourself. Schedule time in advance to go to the gym and make it a routine thing.
10) If you are on the fence about Greek Life, rush anyway. At first, I was not about Greek Life. I didn't really understand it and I was afraid of doing it. The first two years of school, I did not rush and thought Greek Life wasn't for me. My junior year of college, I knew I wanted to be a apart of something and I had two years on campus seeing what MSU Greek Life was all about. I thought -if I don't at least rush, I would regret it. Now, I love Greek Life and wish I would have rushed sooner.