How to survive freshman year

The New York Times and NBC News published advice this week from older and wiser students on how to handle the stress of freshman year at college.  An incoming WashU undergrad got a laundry list of do’s and don’t’s from her big sister. And a rising WashU junior encourages the Class of 2019 to take advantage of their new found freedom of choice. Read on for more words of wisdom from those who’ve been there, done that, and survived freshman year.

From The New York Times:

“I wrote this list — a compilation of things I wish I had known at the start of college three years ago — for my sister, an incoming freshman at Washington University in St. Louis.

1. When you are stressed, take a shower. You will feel productive and you will be clean.

2. Your grade in one class does not define you.

3. Make sure you check in with yourself now and then. How are you doing? If the answer is not so great, treat yourself. Prioritize your well being.

4. Some readings are more important than others. It’s O.K. to skim sometimes.

5. Don’t be afraid to call campus security if you or a friend is sick/feels unsafe.

6. Take naps. Preschool and college are the only times when napping is socially acceptable.

7. If you always have enough clean socks/underwear, your life will be so much easier.”—Justine Goode, Oberlin College, ’16


Don’t be afraid to experiment.

“Freshman year is the first time you can truly make your own choices: No parents breathing over your shoulder, no reputation you have to uphold, no set group of friends to impress. Take whatever classes most interest you; don’t worry about choosing a major or meeting requirements quite yet. I have changed my major at least four times and I’m still on track to graduate on time, so trust me; take the most random and exciting classes you can.”

—Jessica Thea, rising junior at Washington University in St. Louis

Image:, Freshman Beanies 1965

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