Student Experience Blog

Ashley's Declassified College Survival Guide

For all of you about to start your first year, I need you to take a deep breath. If you are like me this time last year, I’m sure you are kinda/sorta freaking out. But that’s okay. Relax.

It is a simple truth of life that before you leave, every single person in your life will try to give you advice about college, whether you want it or not. Usually they are graduates themselves with a “been there, done that” attitude. A lot of their advice is good. Probably. Maybe? I don’t pretend to know your Aunt Sandy, so if you want to trust her, who am I to tell you no? I’m just here to offer a new perspective.

After about a month of my freshman year, I began compiling a list of certain pieces of advice that I wish I had known before starting. Because I can’t resist a good reference, I entitled these tips “Ashley’s Declassified College Survival Guide”. I would periodically post them on Facebook to share with my friends who were still in high school. Since I have done absolutely nothing noteworthy this week besides finish a whole carton of Ben & Jerry’s, I decided to write down the most popular ones for you guys. Enjoy!

Tip #85 Don't do homework on Sundays. I know, that sounds crazy but bear with me. School and responsibilities are hard. You need at least one day a week where you can just do nothing. Stay in bed all day, if you want. Don’t change out of your pajamas. Ice cream is recommended, though not a deal-breaker.

Tip #31 You don't choose your major, your major chooses you. Never in my life did I look at calculus equations or differential string-theory algorithms and think "Wow, I gotta get me some of that." Trust yourself.

Tip #57 Not everyone you meet will be nice and not every test is going to go your way. The best thing to do is just roll with the punches. Wake up every morning and tell yourself that you're a fierce warrior and no one can mess with you. And then don't let anybody mess with you.

Tip #12 High school could have been the greatest years of your life or the worst. But in college, it doesn’t matter. You are starting completely over. New people, new classes, new everything. Make the most of it.

Tip #23 College never sleeps. No matter what hour it is, there is always someone up. The important thing to remember is that yes, your friends might be staying up until 2 a.m. to play Mario Kart and eat pizza, but that doesn’t mean you should too. They don’t have the same test as you do the next morning. You won’t miss much, I promise. And that few extra hours of sleep might make the difference between a passing and failing grade.

Tip #74 Get your flu shot. Get your flu shot. Get your flu shot. Also, get your flu shot.

Tip #5 I know as a teenager this might sound like a nightmare, but take morning classes. Yes, getting up for them will suck, but then you will have a large chunk of free time in the afternoon, in which to relax or do laundry or homework. Speaking of laundry…

Tip #66 Know how to do laundry. Know the difference between soap and softener. Or you’ll end up like me, having to frantically call my mother the second week of school in near-hysteria. Don’t be like me, kids.

Tip #45 Try to say something at least once every class, whether question or constructive comment. It helps you stand out to your professor and will look good when they are grading in-class participation.

That’s it for me this week, readers. I hope you found some of these helpful, at least. T-Minus one month until we’re all back on campus. Somebody is excited. (Spoiler alert, it’s me!)

-Ashley A. Miller

Ashley is a sophomore Creative Writing major from Payette, Idaho.