Opinion: What I wish I knew my freshman year


Emily Mills

Emily Mills

College is a completely different experience than high school, and it can be rough transitioning to this adult world, where you’re responsible for making sure you have a clean shirt to wear everyday (or at least one that doesn’t smell too bad) feeding yourself and making yourself go to class.

I’ll be a senior this year, and in my three years at Kent State, I’ve learned a few things about this campus and college in general.

You’re going to be meeting a ton of people in the next few days. You might find your lifelong best friend, but don’t feel obligated to become besties with every single person you meet.

Parking is ridiculous on campus. Parking Services sells three passes for every two spots on campus, so there will never be enough spots for everyone. Park where you’re supposed to, and if you don’t, I guarantee you will get a ticket within 10 minutes of getting out of your car. (It’s OK though; the first ticket is waived.)

There are other places to eat besides the HUB in the Student Center. There’s Prentice, Eastway, Rosie’s – you’re going to have a ton of meal plan money left over at the end of the semester, so go spend it.

Don’t buy your books from the bookstore. There are so many other cheaper options: Amazon, Chegg and off-campus bookstores are just a few. Always rent books if you can; it’ll save you money, and you’re probably never going to look at them after the class is over (if you even crack them open at all during the semester).

There are more than 350 student organizations on campus, so no one should ever say, “I don’t feel like I fit in here.” There is literally a group for anyone and anything, and if there’s not, it’s fairly simple to get it approved. At the same time, though, don’t feel obligated to join every group you hear about. Pick a few you’re really interested in and see if they’re a good fit.

I’ll sound like a mom for a minute: do your homework, get enough sleep and go to class. You (or your parents, or the federal government through financial aid) is dropping some serious money to go here, so get your money’s worth.

At the same time, don’t use “I’m too busy” as an excuse not to do things. We’re all too busy – we’re college students juggling classes, homework, jobs, relationships and a social life. Time management is difficult to learn, but you’ll learn quickly how to divide up your time. Go explore downtown and find a cool new restaurant or coffeeshop. (I’m looking at you, Taco Tontos and Tree City.)

Everyone always says college is the best four years of your life, but that isn’t necessarily true. We’re only in our late teens or early twenties; we still have a lot of living left to do, and I’m sure we all have some great years ahead of us.

But still, you’re going to be living here the next four years or longer, and that’s a serious investment, both in time and money. Get involved, try things you wouldn’t normally do and make some awesome memories of your freshman year.

And please, for the love of God, don’t wear your lanyard around your neck.

Contact Emily Mills at [email protected].