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11 Things I Wish I Knew as a Freshman


By Annika Tomlin

11. Don’t buy textbooks

Prior to buying books at the school’s bookstore, look online or shop locally for discounts or rentals. Look at the syllabus and ask the professor how many times the book will be needed. If it’s easier, copy pages from a friend who bought the book to complete assignments.

10. Apply for scholarships/grants

College is expensive. There are scholarships and grants that, sometimes, have few applicants. Search for those you qualify for. There is free money waiting for you. Go after it.

9. Get rejected

Applying for opportunities like scholarships, internships and externships sometimes lead to rejection. It’s actually a learning experience, as you can ask your contact what you can do to be successful in the future.

8. Let go of toxic people

It is said that, in college, students make friendships that will last a lifetime. The reality is you’ll win some and lose some—especially the toxic ones.

7. Manage time better

It’s important to roughly schedule time for homework, working out and other daily tasks. This also helps to plan for social activities outside of school.

6. Procrastination is bad

This goes with managing time better. Do not say “I will just do it tomorrow.” You won’t. Power through and get it done and avoid the stress of last-minute tasks. Teachers are rarely lenient about extensions for assignments.

5. See adviser/counselor semi-regularly

Scheduling classes can be daunting — especially as a freshman. Advisers and counselors help lead students on a path toward a degree by helping with class selection. Most advisers and counselors are also former students who understand your position.

4. Professors are there for you

There will always be a class that you think is going to be impossible to pass. Those professors know the class is hard and schedule office hours for help. Usually, this helps improve the experience and the test scores. Bonus: If you have a bad test score and have a cumulative final, go over your mistakes with the professor so you don’t make the same mistakes again.

3. Don’t overspend

In college, you won’t be made of money, as they say. You’ll have to pay for school or life essentials, like food and gas. Don’t, instead, max out a credit card on a Spring Break trip to Cancun. A rule to live by: If you don’t have the money, don’t spend it.

2. Part-time job

If you have the time for a part-time job, do it. Colleges offer a plethora of part-time jobs specifically for students living on campus. Many schedule shifts around classes and guarantee that you do not overwork yourself.

1. Consider community college

Your first two years of college are spent taking required classes — math, science and English courses. Taking community college classes cost a fraction of the cost you would pay at a university. Bonus: If you have a high enough GPA at the end of high school, see if you qualify for the honors program at Maricopa Community Colleges that offers a two-year full-ride scholarship. CT


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