Things I wish I knew as a freshman

As the Oklahoma heat slowly begins to subside (maybe) and we settle into the routines of a new year, I have been reflecting on the person I was three years ago when I became a freshman at the University of Tulsa. Despite initially feeling afraid and unsure, I was quickly swept up in the joys and excitements of college life. With these joys came a fair share of struggles, which is sad to say an inevitable part of college. But through these struggles I’ve learned a couple of lessons, which I now bequeath to you.

1. TALK. TO. YOUR. PROFESSORS. I mean it. Go to office hours even if you are not struggling. Email them with questions and speak up in class! It is so much better to show your professor that you are trying, rather than presenting yourself as a voiceless entity who shows up to class confused. I am almost positive the only reason I passed one of my classes is because I was constantly at the professor’s office hours; I was honest with him when I was completely lost. Remain in good contact with your professors, and your grades will thank you.

2. Take advantage of the free food. I know the Pat Case can feel safe and familiar, and walking into some random building on campus might feel intimidating, but there are so many opportunities for free food around campus. Check out our article on free lunches for more details, and check your email occasionally to see where the food is located

3. Ask for help. Not just for academic needs, but for your own personal well-being. Reach out to CAPS, plan self-care or talk to a friend if you are struggling. Don’t let your mental health suffer, by pushing your problems under the rug. You’re not annoying or a bother for asking how to better take care of yourself. You’ll be able to better succeed if you are happy and healthy.

4. Take care of yourself. See above. No, but really. Make sure you are eating every day and staying hydrated. Sleep as much as you can. I know as college students we all joke about staying up until 2 a.m. all the time, but get some sleep every once in a while. Don’t romanticize an unhealthy lifestyle of surviving off of energy bars and one hour of sleep. Eat, sleep and drink water. I’m not asking you, I’m telling you.

5. Don’t study in your room. I know this one might be subjective. Perhaps you need to be relaxed to study, or you suffer from overstimulation or anxiety. But otherwise, don’t study where you sleep. Get a study buddy and head to McFarlin Library, chill in the Mabee Legal Information Center (law library) or pop into Tyrell so you can better differentiate study time and downtime in your brain.

6. Use the gym. You’ve got a gym membership! Use it! You might not get such easy gym access again in your life. Collins Fitness Center has great equipment, nice staff and lots of different classes you can take. So go try yoga, boxing, or the elliptical. You may find your new favorite way to exercise!

I know everyone says college is the time to try new things and expand your horizons and blah blah blah, but it’s true. You will meet many new people (some friends, some not) and learn a lot about the world and yourself. So go learn! And have fun! But please, please take care and learn from my mistakes.

Post Author: Mary Lickona