64 Things We Wish We Knew As College Freshmen

Oh, bright-eyed college freshman, how much you have to learn.
Dave and Les Jacobs/Kolostock via Getty Images

We asked the editors and reporters at The Huffington Post to chime in on what they wish they knew when they were in college.

In no particular order, here's the advice we have to offer.

1. "Don't buy books from the on-campus bookstore! It's all a scam. Go to the neighborhood bookstore or order on Amazon.com." -- Dana Oliver, Fashion & Beauty Editor at HuffPost.

2. "There are SO many activities and events happening on campus. If you hear about something, go! Lego party at Tech House? Go! Fall dance concert? Go! Iran nuclear policy panel? Go! Obviously don't let it get in the way of schoolwork and healthy sleep, but you'll never be this close to so many incredible experiences. Say yes to them -- you never know what you'll find!" -- Erika Larose, Production Assistant at HuffPost Live.

3. "I wish I knew how developing bad eating habits in college would screw my metabolism up in the long run. So. Much. Pizza." -- Caitlyn Becker, Host/Producer at HuffPost Live.

4. "No one (including employers) cares how long it took you get your degree. Take the time to work on your resume before you graduate and make sure to take advantage of any career services your school offers -- having a well crafted resume is your best bet to getting that job/internship you want post-college." -- Shonitria Anthony, News Editor for HuffPost Voices.

5. Avoid Friday classes, and 8 a.m. classes, when possible. -- Multiple editors at HuffPost.

6. "The one year of statistics and computer science that I was forced to take was more useful then any liberal arts or social science prerequisite I ever took." -- Tiara Chiaramonte, Illustrator/Social media editor at HuffPost.

7. "Romantic relationships can be fun and important, but remember that this is also a time for you to grow as an individual -- don't accidentally isolate yourself in newfound love and forget to learn, both about and for yourself." -- April Saylor, Audience Development Strategist at HuffPost Partner Studio.

8. "No one is having as much fun as their Facebook profiles make it seem! Everyone is equally confused and scared and putting on a good front so no one from back home will think they're lame." -- Alana Horowitz, Senior News Editor at HuffPost.


9. "That college boyfriends are sometimes just for the learning experience and won't actually be anything more than 'that guy you used to binge-watch Game of Thrones and eat cheese withon Saturday nights.'" -- Jenna Amatulli, Associate Social Media Editor at HuffPost.

10. "Get a mentor. Whether it's an upperclassmen whom you admire or a real grown-up in the working world, having someone who isn't in the freshman bubble can provide really important perspective." -- Kim Bellware, Reporter at HuffPost.

10.5. "Ask all the seniors you meet as a freshman about the one thing they wish they'd known going into school. They'll be able to tell you to take advantage of the nearby city, to maneuver your way into that awesome under-the-radar class, or how to get free drinks at the local bar." -- Jessica Kane, Director of Millennial Outreach/Staff Writer at HuffPost.

11. "Alcohol doesn't have to be disgusting, but you are kind of setting yourself up for hating life when you take down shots of straight vodka. In other words, you are bound for awfulness if you think that 'vodka on the rocks' is a drink humans should consume." -- Rebecca Shapiro, Senior Lifestyle Editor at HuffPost.

12. "SLEEP. 8-9 hours. It's the most important thing you can do. Figure out what time you need to be awake, then count back 9 hours and make sure you're away from everyone and quieting down. Do that for 4 days in a row and be amazed at your superhuman self. 98 percent of us need between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. If you think you only need 5, you're wrong. Go to sleep." -- Erika Larose, Production Assistant at HuffPost Live.

13. "One glass of water for each glass of alcohol will prevent hangovers. So will taking Ibuprofen before going to bed, but definitely don't take Acetaminophen because combining that with booze will be bad for your liver." -- Tyler Kingkade, Senior Editor/Reporter at HuffPost.

14. "The 'free Subway sandwich if you sign up for this perfectly-safe-don't-worry-about-it credit card' deal is not a good one." -- Maxwell Strachan, Senior Entertainment and Sports Editor at HuffPost.

15. "Take one class that has nothing to do with your major or intended profession just for kicks." -- Meredith Melnick, Health Director at HuffPost.

16. "How much free food there is at different events all over campus. Go get the food!" -- Chaz Smith, Vine Intern at HuffPost.


17. "If you do have a 'life plan,' always be open to changing it." -- Nina Bahadur, Deputy Editor of HuffPost Women.

18. "Take a class on a different language. Take two if you can fit them in." -- Raillan Brooks, Associate Editor for Highline at HuffPost.

19. "Go out with your friends, no matter what day it is -- five years from now you're going to remember that crazy Tuesday night out you had with your friends, not what you learned in 9 a.m. History the next day." -- Alexandra Ma, Editorial Fellow at HuffPost.

20. "Seriously, avoid the Friday classes." -- Multiple HuffPost Editors.

21. "You can wear sweats to class but putting on pants is, like, really not that hard. Put on pants." -- Julia Bush, Editorial Fellow at HuffPost.


22. "Getting career advice from people who are already mega-successful and way older than you is awesome and totally useful, but the best advice comes from people who are just starting their careers. They're the ones who are two or three years older than you and can tell you how to get to step one, not how to rocket to the top over the course of 20 years. Find them and then listen to them." -- Julia Bush.

23. "Get the microwaveable bacon, best hangover cure and helps you become a master microwave chef -- very important." -- Ryan Gurrentz.

24. "If you spend all of your time hanging out with or talking to a significant other from high school, you're going to miss the period when everyone else is new and forming friend groups." -- An anonymous HuffPost reporter.


25. "It's okay to not have a traditional freshman year by going away to school because in the end you're saving a ton of money by going to community college, and you will have a lot less stress and debt when you graduate. (I went to community college for two years)." -- Amber Ferguson, Associate Politics Video Editor at HuffPost.

26. "GO. TO. OFFICE. HOURS. I cannot stress this enough. Even just to say hi, or to mention how much you enjoyed a new book that's related to the course. Make an effort. Professors have to be there anyway, you might as well give them someone to talk to. And in 5 years, they won't be your professors; they'll be your co-workers. Some of my best professional friendships now are former professors. Some people call it brown-nosing. Ignore them." -- Ali Watkins, Reporter at HuffPost.

27. "Figure out which businesses and restaurants offer student discounts
and always keep your student ID on you. When in doubt, ask. There is
no shame in using your student ID to save money." -- Madeline Wahl, Associate Editor at HuffPost.

(Bonus: J Crew gives discounts to college students. So does Top Shop, so ask major retailers if they offer similar discounts. Doesn't hurt to try!)

28. "Take professors, don't take classes! I took a classics class (could have been a total snooze-fest) and loved it because my professor was so engaging." -- Kira Brekke, Associate Editor at HuffPost Live.


29. "Don't stay on campus all of the time, explore the town/city you'll live in for the next 4 years." -- Chanel Parks, Associate Editor at HuffPost.

30. "Archaeology 101 is nothing like Indiana Jones made it out to be. Nor is it about dinosaurs. Avoid at all costs." -- Graham Nelson, Director of Content Strategy, News & Emerging Content at HuffPost.

31. "Take advantage of your college's walk-on intramural teams, or walk-on club sports, and ignore the fact that you have zero experience in them. That's typically why they exist." -- Mia Fermindoza, Operations Assistant at HuffPost Photo Desk.

32. "If you're taking out a ton of debt to attend a mediocre college, take a minute to consider dropping out and enrolling at a nearby community college instead. The 30-year-old you will thank you for it." -- Shahien Nasiripour, Chief Financial and Regulatory Correspondent at HuffPost.


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33. "Pick a major you love but be smart about it, and get as much intern/work experience as you can. If you do, it doesn't matter what college you went to." -- Lauren Barron-Lopez, Reporter at HuffPost.

34. "To my freshman year self: You’re going to study abroad, and due to your sophomore year girlfriend, it will be in Wales to be nearby her in London. You’re going to be slightly worried that you’re missing out on campus life. That’s not a worry worth giving a lot of weight to. Live for yourself, study abroad twice, and don’t get so attached to that girlfriend. Hate to break it to you, but it’s going to end badly with her." -- Alan Johnson, Senior Software Engineer at HuffPost.

35. "Live off campus -- You will have life skills developed a lot faster than your classmates in the dorms, (cooking, cleaning, bills, rent), and in some cases off campus living off campus can even be more affordable. Plus you get a much cooler space to take partners, whats better 'Come back to my dorm?' Or 'Come back to my house?' Like whoa, you have a house, what is cooler than that?" -- Jake Reeves, Multimedia Fellow at HuffPost.

36. "You probably honed the art of bullshitting to get through high school and into college in the first place. If you're really good at it, you might be able to stay on this path, becoming such an expert bullshitter that it will get you all the way through college. While there's definitely value to bullshitting skills, college really isn't supposed to be just something to 'get through.' The shortcuts you take and bullshit you employ to keep yourself from actually doing work will end up cheating yourself out of a more enriching and valuable -- not to mention expensive-as-hell -- experience in the long run. So enjoy yourself and don't be scared to bullshit to get you through in a pinch, just don't take too much pride in that skill." -- Nick Wing, Senior Editor at HuffPost.

37. "Utilize the gym. Not only is it the only time ever you'll have free membership, but you will gain the 'Freshman 15' no matter how fit you were in high school." --

Rowaida Abdelaziz, Social Media Editor at The World Post.
38. "Read. A lot." -- Nick Baumann, Senior Enterprise Editor at HuffPost.
40. "You have all your life to Gchat and look at Facebook. Don't do it at class. College is very expensive and you should try to actually pay attention to it!" -- Elise Foley, Reporter at HuffPost.
41. "If you are pulling more than a few all-nighters a semester, you are doing it wrong. You will do much better work at a much brisker pace when you are mentally present. Even if going to sleep means blowing off an assignment due the next day, because you did not plan properly, the short-term hit will be worth resetting your sleep clock and lifestyle." -- Daniel Marans, Reporter at HuffPost.
42. "You're starting from scratch, so no one will care that you were top of your class in high school or the shy kid. This is your opportunity to reinvent yourself." -- Tanisha Ramirez, Latino Voices Editor at HuffPost.
43. "Intern during as many summers as you can — it will pay off in spades." -- Christy Havranek, Photo Editor at HuffPost.
44. "You can get cash for being the subject of graduate students' experiments." -- Ben Teitelbaum, Producer at HuffPost Live.
45. "Don't make decisions out of fear. Write for the school paper; you'll wish you had bylines later. Try out for plays even if you don't get parts the first few times. Flirt with guys even if sometimes you get shot down. Seek out help if you need it, before you REALLY need it. Everyone fails and has private embarrassments, but risking things is also how you find the greatest success. When a guy starts ignoring you after a hook-up, don't try to convince him you can be friends. You will look desperate and pathetic, even if you're just trying to be nice. Be cool, okay? Just be cool. And do all the reading -- all of it!" -- Claire Fallon, Books & Culture Writer at HuffPost.
46. "Don't take the LSAT. It leads to law school. Which leads to debt. Seriously, don't." -- An anonymous HuffPost reporter.
47. "We really weren't kidding about taking Friday classes -- it's a bad idea!" -- Pretty much the entire New York and Washington, D.C. bureaus.
48. "You might not be best friends forever with your roommate, and that’s okay. Most college dorms pair you up with a random roommate or two, and the Hollywood perception is that you guys will end up best friends and spend the rest of your amazing college adventures together. Sometimes, but only sometimes, that will happen. A majority of the time you will spend a year together bickering about how often theres a sock on the door and whether or not your cellphone alarm is too loud. Ultimately, it will be an experience you don’t forget and don’t regret." -- Bridget Rickman, Junior at San Diego State University.
49. "I made it a rule for myself to get out of the campus bubble at least once a week, even just to get a quick dinner with friends, and it did wonders for my mental health." -- Marina Fang, Associate Politics Editor at HuffPost.
50. "Girls, please look out for each other. If your friend looks too high or too drunk to stand, help her get home. Don't ever leave each other behind. Ever." -- Samantha Storey, Senior Enterprise Editor at HuffPost.
51. "Do as many batshit crazy active things as possible. Your body is young, so spend all day wrestling on sand dunes by the lakefront, or run a 10K you most certainly didn't prepare for. Or stay up all night dancing, or climb a lot of fences to get into restricted access areas. In college, you can wake up the next day and be A-OK. In just a few short years after college, those same things will make you feel as if someone took a ball-peen hammer to your entire body." -- Kim Bellware, Reporter at HuffPost.
52. "Do what actually makes you happy and don’t worry about having the 'classic college' experience. If you’d rather watch YouTube videos with your roommate than go out and party, do that. If joining a campus club or a sport is your personal version of hell, don’t join one. If something that is supposed to be 'fun' is causing you stress, just take it out of your life." -- Hilary Hanson, Associate Editor at HuffPost.
53. "Don't bother yourself with what other people might think about your academic path or career goals, everyone has a completely different journey and there are so many opportunities that lie ahead. If someone is bringing you down (whether it's a roommate, group project partner or 'friend'), don't keep them around (if at all possible)." -- Joseph Erbentraut, Reporter at HuffPost.
54. "The boy across the hall is never a good idea." -- Michelle Persad, Beauty Editor at HuffPost.
55. "Need to make a paper longer, and your professor stipulates the use of size 12 font? Highlight all the periods and commas in it using the 'find & highlight all' tool in Word. Increase the size of these punctuation marks up to 14. This will make your paper something like 10 percent longer." -- Katie Sola, Editorial Fellow at HuffPost.
56. "Just because there's ice-cream in the dining hall covered by your food plan doesn't mean you need to eat it every day." -- Zoe Triska, Senior Editor of Global Content Strategy at HuffPost.
57. "If there is ice-cream in the dining hall that's covered by your food plan, this is probably the only time in your life where eating a sundae every day is socially acceptable." -- Jenna Amatulli, Associate Social Media Editor at HuffPost.
58. "If there is ONE thing you do in college it should be to study abroad and learn a language while you're at it. Not only is it an incredible immersive experience culturally but you open yourself to so much." -- Carolina Moreno, Latino Voices Editor at HuffPost.
59. "Your professors know all the tricks you're going to use to get papers in late, extend length, etc. Just be honest about it -- they'll respect you a lot more." -- Natalie Jackson, Senior Data Scientist at HuffPost.
60. "The intellectual and moral standards you are free to set for yourself in college (as opposed to what you inherited from your youth) will be the ones you will carry with you all of your life. So aim high from day one. Reach above your grasp." -- Howard Fineman, Global Editorial Director of HuffPost.
61. "Call your mom, she's worried about you." -- Damon Beres, Tech Editor at HuffPost.
62. "Note to self: stop posting those party pics." -- Logan Tittle, Host/Producer at HuffPost Live.
63. "Talk to the people you're afraid to talk to. Join the conversations that discomfort you. Listen to the individuals you think are wrong. You will never again have so much time to test ideas and so many people ready to stretch your mind." -- Elizabeth Engdahl, News Editor at HuffPost.
64. "Keeping your dorm door open is one of the easiest ways to make friends. And if you are bored, just wander down the hall and chat with whoever else has their door open." -- Tyler Kingkade, Senior Editor/Reporter at HuffPost.

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