We all know what we think of when it comes to the “Freshman 15.” The unfortunate extra pounds gained from unlimited caf access, pizza shuttle for those midnight study sessions and perhaps avoiding the Huff a little too much…Trust me, we have all been there. But let’s try to put this freshman year into a new perspective. Instead of dreading the anticipated weight or college courses, just relax. These are going to be some of the best years of your life. As an incoming senior here, these are some of the things I wish I knew going into my freshman year.
1. This isn’t high school anymore
The high school glory days are behind us. Even if half of your high school is reuniting at the University of Oklahoma, branch out. It is okay to hang on to those memories and friends, but if you cling to your high school experiences you’re be holding yourself back for all college has to offer. You know who you were in high school, but what’s your mark in college going to be.
2. Don’t be afraid of tutoring!
College courses are a lot harder than high school. Tutoring doesn’t mean you’re not smart, it just means you need more time and some guidance. You’re here to get an education so exercise all your resources.
3. Get involved, find your niche
Homesickness gets the best of us and being cooped up in your dorm room doesn’t help. To get the most out of your time here at OU, get involved! Try every club you hear about, pledge a sorority or fraternity, or join an intramural sports team. You’ll feel more at home once you find your people. College can be overwhelming—having a group of people that care about you and are rooting for you changes everything!
4. Find your study spot
Your bed is not your study spot. Set aside a place that is specifically for studying, so that every time you sit down you are focused and ready to work. Some of my favorites are the Bookmark in the basement of the library, Gray Owl coffee shop, and my kitchen table. Try different places out until you find a space that works for you.
5. Get organized
There is nothing worse than forgetting about an assignment. Buy a planner before school starts and write down all the dates in your syllabus. That way nothing will sneak up on you and you can figure out a game plan ahead of time. Some of my favorite planners are myAgenda, Emily Ley Simplified Planner, and Rifle Paper Co Planner.
6. Always go to class
Even if you’re in your pajamas, just go to class. You never know if there will be a pop quiz, extra credit, or important information for an upcoming exam! Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
7. Not all roommates are equal
This is probably the first time you’ve lived with roommates (other than siblings). Whether you chose to room with your bff from childhood or went potluck, each experience is unique. Some roommates are amazing while others throw you for a curve ball. Set up expectations with your roommate from day one. That way when your roommate doesn’t take out the trash, you have something to lean back on. Try to always talk things out (passive aggressive doesn’t get you anywhere). If you realize there is no hope, talk to your RA about other living options! They’re there to help.
8. Change your major (or not)
Don’t feel like you have to have it all figured out before coming to college. More likely than not, you’ll probably change your major and that’s okay. Not all of us can become the next Meredith Gray. If you’re diligent and make a plan with your advisor, you can still graduate on time.
9. Stay on campus!
It is sooo tempting to go home every weekend. But the more time you spend at home, the harder it will be to make Norman your home. There are tons of events that go on every weekend on campus. Explore downtown Main St. or take a road trip to OKC! You can still plan some weekends to visit your stomping grounds, but make the effort to live in your new city.
10. Check out the local spots
When I first came to Norman, I thought it was boring and I couldn’t believe I committed to living in a small town for four years. However, the longer I’ve lived here, the more I find to do! Campus Corner is crawling with the cutest boutiques (helloooo), great restaurants, and some delicious coffee shops.
11. Study abroad
This is a silly question. Should you study abroad? Yes!!! When else will you get the chance to travel to a foreign country? And don’t worry about the money! There are scholarships specifically for studying abroad and tuition is the same. If you’re looking for a place to start, check out OU’s campus in Arezzo, Italy.
12. Give back
From Soonerthon to Relay for Life, there are numerous philanthropy events that go on during the year on campus. There is nothing quite like giving back, so make sure to sign up!
13. Gain experience
While we are all here to get an education, we need to also prepare ourselves for life after college. Make sure that you’re working, volunteering, or have an internship at some point. Companies care just as much about your degree as they do your experience.
14. Get out of your comfort zone
I know, moving away from home into a new town might be out of your comfort zone enough. But when you look back on the 4 (maybe 5?) years you spent at OU, you’re simply not going to remember the nights when you stayed in and watched Netflix. Go out, even when you don’t feel like it or get a rock climbing membership even if you’ve never rock climbed before. Just try something new.
15. These will be some of the best (and worse) years of your life
From Camp Crimson to orientations, you’ll probably hear over and over that these will be the best years of your life. You’re going to make some life-long friends and sweet memories at the good ole University of Oklahoma. But these years will also test you as you experience the world in the new way. For every tough finals week, there is an even greater spring break. Regardless, you are going to walk away changed and ready for all the world has for you. Hang in there! It’s going to be an amazing four years. “For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
As a member of the Antique Garden team, we welcome you to the University of Oklahoma! We’re so excited for the fall to start (football season can’t come soon enough), so stop by and say hello. We’ve got you covered for all your necessary apparel for these next few years.
Kira, AG Team Member