Freshman year is tough, no doubt, but if you’re at UCLA then it’s because you were meant to be here. Out of hundreds of thousands of applicants, admissions chose you. So through all the roommate issues and stressful midterms, remember that things always get better. And remember that 10 years from now, you will look back on college as one of the best times of your life. Follow these tips to conquer freshman year…
1. Learn how to skateboard.
Nothing but a skateboard will get you to class faster. It’s easy to carry up the many many stairs, and after a few days of practice you won’t be mowing down student passerby. Alternatives include walking or scootering, but it’s much more of a pain.
2. Do not, and I repeat do not, take an 8 AM.
Yes you did it in high school and yes you can do it if you put your mind to it, but there is no reason you should sign up for an 8 AM without it being your very last option. Here’s what will happen: week one and two, you will go to class, but after that you’ll be too tired to ever show up again.
3. Find study spots that work for you
Studying with friends is great yes, but you and I both know you never get anything done. There’s some wonderful hidden gems- the chairs on the second floor of De Neve and the little bench near the Bunche Hall faculty offices are my personal favorite.
4. Call mom and dad.
College is exciting. It’s also very, very easy to get very, very busy. In the midst of all that, you may forget a birthday or just not call home enough, so make sure you make it a priority to keep communications going with family back home.
5. Join a mentorship program.
There’s cultural mentorship programs, alumni mentorship programs, female mentorship programs, special interest mentorship programs and more. It can really help to have an upperclassman whose job it is to teach you the ways of the university world, and it gives you one more person to talk to when things are rough.
6. Just because lectures aren’t mandatory doesn’t mean that you can ditch.
Often times, students find themselves extremely stressed during midterms because they haven’t paid attention in lecture for weeks. It’s a ton of information to learn in such a short time, and lecture can really help you do well on exams without facing the anxiety and lack of sleep that many students do during exam weeks.
7. Get to know your floor well, but also make friends outside of your living area.
It’s easy to become friends with everyone on your floor, especially because you live in a close proximity and you see each other all the time, but it is very important to reach into other networks as well. You will see that you retain the friends that it took more effort to stay in touch with throughout the years as opposed to those whom it was convenient to be friends with.
8. Learn to cook. Correction: Learn to dorm cook.
Even though there are a billion dining halls at UCLA, you will get bored. The food will become repetitive, and there are times when you are just going to want some homemade Mexican food. That’s when you whip out the ready-made Trader Joe’s and warm it up in your dorm microwave for the ultimate dorm dinner experience!
9. Don’t get caught up in the numbers.
Freshman year is tough in a multitude of ways, you should be aware of the fact that a high GPA is going to be much more difficult to attain than it was in high school. Also remember that just like in high school, your GPA does not define who you are.
10. Use Free and For Sale.
You can find EVERYTHING, from apartment listings to curling irons at 60% off sale price, all at the tips of your fingers. People will often meet up with you the next day to trade or sell items, and it’s a wonderful way to save money and help your fellow students out!
11. Bonus Secret: Do not buy a microfridge. No one cares if you have a fridge and a microwave, especially since you can just throw a blanket over it during inspections.
Good luck! May the odds be ever in your favor!
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