10 Rules for Clueless Freshmen to Live By


The first few days of my freshman year in college was all that you would expect: clueless teenager, walking aimlessly around campus, trying to find her first class without looking like she was trying to find her first class; new clothes, new shoes, new bag, and a new-found fear of the unknown; sitting in class, pretending as though she knew what the heck the professors were talking about, when, in fact, she did not have a clue.

I’m pretty sure that most of you would agree that your first few days on campus were much the same. I remember sitting in my History of the Metaphysical Poets class (yeah, I’m deep like that) and my Medieval Literature class (because clearly my Metaphysical class wasn’t challenging enough) and feeling as though I was not only enrolled in the wrong classes, but also the wrong school. I mean, how was it possible that I had signed up for these courses? I didn’t even know what “metaphysical” even meant, let alone that you could write poetry about it!

And, when I looked to my Medieval Literature class for a wee bit of comfort after being slammed with terms and phrases that I didn’t even realise existed in the English language from my Metaphysical Poets class, I was, to say the least, even more disappointed. You see, the professor began the class by distributing our syllabus and then immediately began a discussion on Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. I know what you’re thinking – “Well, that doesn’t sound so bad! So you had to read a few lines of Chaucer…what’s the big deal?”

Well, friends, the big deal was that I had the wrong edition. As it turns out, our professor didn’t want to make life easier for us in any possible way – we had to have the original Middle English (not the same as the language they speak in Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings – just need to clarify that) edition, not the modern English edition that Penguin Publishing produced just a few short years ago. You know…the one I had. So, when my prof called on me to begin reading aloud in class, you can understand my hesitation. The second that I started reading, she looked at me, puzzled and more than a little annoyed, and told me to go out that afternoon and purchase the correct original Middle English version of the Tales.

Day 1 and I had already managed to annoy my professor. Great.

Yeah, try reading this on your first day...in front of 127 people.

So, needless to say, I was clueless as to how to navigate through my first semester properly. I needed someone to tell me what to do, how to do it, and how long it should take to do it. That, my friends, is the knowledge that I’m about to impart to all of you soon-to-be freshmen now. The following is my recommendations of Rules for Clueless Freshmen to Live By, which is based on my satisfactory work experience in a college, as well as my embarrassing experiences as a student:

1. If you don’t know your way around campus, ask someone for directions: People aren’t going to think that you’re lame; they’re going to think that you are just lost. Which you probably are.

It's better to ask for directions than to carry one of these things around campus...

2. Get out there and meet people: Having a smartphone in your hand at all times does not make you look cool; in fact, it may do the opposite. Relax, stop creeping your friends’ Facebook walls, and meet people the old fashioned way – by talking to them.

3. Ask questions: If you aren’t sure about something that is said in class, then ask a question; it’s how you actually learn. Don’t worry about having people think that you’re stupid because they more likely than not have the exact same question too.

4. Pay attention to details: Always, and I mean always, pay attention to the editions of textbooks that are required for the course – if your instructor calls on you to read a portion of text in class, you want to make sure that you have the correct edition/translation/version/book that costs twice as much as the one you bought at Chapters. (You don’t need to worry about this if you’re a student at the college where I work because we include books in the cost of tuition. We’re awesome like that).

5. Don’t be late:  If an assignment is given, make sure it is done on time. College professors/instructors don’t like things to be handed in late – no matter how sick you or your best friend/RA/goldfish is/was. You’re told well ahead of time when assignments will be due, so there should be no excuse for handing a late assignment.

6. Don’t waste money: Sounds pretty self-explanatory, doesn’t it? Well, if you think that college is just about partying, skipping class, and sleeping in, then you’re a money-waster. Your education is an investment; ensure that you make it a wise one.

7. Never come to class in your jammies: As tempting as it may be to live on campus and go to class in your pajamas, it’s never a good idea. It doesn’t impress anyone. Trust me.

Not a good look for class...although you might be able to work the slippers.

8. Make time to meet with your instructor: If you feel as though you’re falling behind in class, make an appointment to see your professor/instructor. There is a reason that they have office hours…for you to come to their office to speak with them.

9. Work hard: That’s it. Yes, you have to have down-time as well, but while you’re on campus, work hard or you will most definitely get behind and will struggle when exam time comes – there’s only so much cramming you can do.

10. Try to eat some vegetables every now and again: No ones embraces the dreaded “Freshman Fifteen”, so keep yourself healthy while you’re in school. It’ll help keep you focused and it’ll save you money – you won’t need to go out and buy a new fat-wardrobe.

Great clothing label, horrible nickname...


So, if you’re a college freshman, don’t be afraid of your first day on campus. Everyone else is in the same boat as you, and probably have all the same questions/fears/cluelessness as you do. 😉




24 Responses to “10 Rules for Clueless Freshmen to Live By”

  1. Oh the memories. I remember meeting SO many other lost people

    “Hey dude, I need to find a bathroom.. seriously.”

    “Me too, bro! Lets look around.”

    Not only lost buddies, but urinal buddies too, a true bond right there. I miss those days 🙂


    • Haha! Yes, and then the two of you don’t leave each other’s sides for the next 5 hours because the only thing worse than being lost is being lost by yourself. Somehow, you think that you don’t look as lame if you’re in groups. 😉

      Good times. Good times…

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting, Edwin!

  2. #7 is funny and so true.

  3. 7 Dian Wijayanti

    Lost while finding a class, happens to me all the time! And worse, haven’t purchased any handout when I’m supposed to own one already in the first meeting…

    • Ah, yes…getting lost seems to be the bane of my existence as well. Haha. And I love that you’re as unprepared as I always was too! 😉

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, Dian!

  4. great! it is really useful!! I alway lost myself when I was a freshman.

  5. Very nicely written.Liked the part of spending more time trying to meet new people rather than on smart phones.

    • Thanks so much! I felt like I had to add that in since I see so many groups of teenagers walking around together, not talking to each other, and their eyes are glued to their smartphones…there are other ways to meet people. Haha!

      Thank you very much for taking the time to read and comment, Sumukh! 🙂

  6. Thanks a lot for those kind words.If I may, I would request you to kindly go through my other blogs – Thank You,B.U.R.S.L.F,S**t Happens,Intent.They all are based on similar lines exploring various aspects of kindness,love and all virtues we hold true.Since you work in the field of education, you are ideally placed to understand and spread these ideas amongst your students for such ideas only bring peace and harmony.We so very desperately need peace in todays world.If your actions can bring happiness to many or anyone then please sieze the opportunity. Make a difference

    Once again thanks a lot for stopping by and taking time to write such a wonderful words.

    • You’re right; many more students need to understand the concepts of kindness, so I’ll be sure to look through your other posts and pass along the ideas to the students!

      Thanks again for dropping in, Sumukh!

  7. Haha such a helpful list to guide incoming freshmen! I’m sure they’ll appreciate reading it.

    I personally like #2….and to meet NEW KINDS of people…not the same ones you knew in high school. After all, college is all about expanding social circles.

    • Yes! That’s a great point that I forgot to add in! Meeting new people! It’s so easy for students who have just left home for the first time to get caught up in the same kind of circle of friends as they had at home (or, if they go to college with the same circle, the exact same friends), but it’s a time to branch out and find out who else you can connect with. And there are more ways to meet people than on Facebook… 😉

      Thanks so much for dropping in and commenting, Romantic Asian Guy!

  8. Honestly, quite helpful! It’s like a little witty and clever surivival kit for the newbies (which I am soon to be). So a thank you is in order.

    • Haha! Well, thank you very much, indeed! 🙂 I think it’s important to let college students know that it’s okay if they’re nervous for their freshman year, but there are some very simple rules that they can follow that will make that year a little easier…I mean, c’mon…no one wants to be known as the guy who wore his jammies to class, right? They’d never live that one down. 😉

      Thanks so much for stopping in and commenting!

  9. Great tips, especially the first one for anything in general. Finding someone who’s been there makes a huge difference. Also, don’t drink every night would’ve been a good tip somewhere back there 🙂

  10. Alright next year is my freshmen and I am favourate-ing your blog.
    Freshmen year are so confusing, I am so nervous already..

    • Oh wow! So are you nervous for your freshman year? Hopefully you can find at least SOME information on my blog to help you…haha. You certainly don’t need to be worry about being nervous because, honestly, everyone else will be feeling the same way. It may take a week or so to get used to your new surroundings, schedule, and new friends, but you will LOVE it! Stop by here often, though, just in case you have any questions…hopefully I’ll be able to help! 🙂

      Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting, Sharvil!

  1. 1 Avoiding the Freshman Fifteen : 4 Rules to Live By « PCC Advantage

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