I remember the excitement of opening my college acceptance letter and reading what it said inside. For weeks and months, there was a constant buzz around my house, in school – everywhere I went. All my friends were excited to go to college as well; it was the start of a whole new chapter in our lives.

Like most people, I had some pre-conceived ideas about college life. I thought it would be non-stop fun, partying all week long, and the occasional bit of studying in between. But, having gone through the college experience, there are definitely a few things I wish I’d known before I started. So, I’m sharing them with you, so you can better prepare for this part of your life!

Freshman year does matter

With some course, freshman year doesn’t technically count towards your final grade. It’s almost like an introductory year, where you get used to your new surroundings and ease yourself into this way of studying. Naturally, I took this to mean I could just mess about all year, scrape through exams, and get ready to take things more seriously next year.

Unfortunately, if you don’t pay attention during freshman year, then it sets you back for the rest of your time in college. Use this year to really knuckle down and gain a firm grasp on the basics of your course. Learn where the libraries are, learn how to reference in essays, and actually take it somewhat seriously. You’ll find the next few years are much easier when you do this!

There’s such a thing as too much partying

Let’s be honest, most people are excited about the partying aspect of college. While I think you should go out and have fun, there’s definitely a limit. I knew people who were out almost every night, getting blackout drunk. It seemed funny at first, but you quickly saw the impact this had on their lives. They threw money down the drain, ended up with health problems, and a few people I know ended up in a holistic drug and alcohol rehab center because they took the partying lifestyle too far, too often.

You can still party and get drunk, but calm down. Don’t let it interfere with your studies, or you’ll end up wasting thousands of dollars on a three-year-long party.

Make as many friends as possible

I wasn’t a loner at college, but I did have a small group of friends who I hung out with all the time. Having your own little clique is nice, but you should always look to have more friends. Nothing bad comes from making friends, and it can help you in so many different ways.

The more friends you have, the more you learn about different backgrounds and cultures. It opens your eyes to new perspectives and ways of thinking. Also, from a career perspective, it’s kind of like networking. There are thousands of people in your college, and these people might have connections that can help you in the future. By making friends with one person, you may find out their parents work in the same field that you’re studying. As such, they might help you out with work experience, or give advice on finding a job. So, broaden your horizons and look to make friends with everyone.

My college experience was still amazing, but it would’ve been even better if I knew these things before packing my bags and setting off. Hopefully, this article helps you get the most out of your college experience.

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