My Freshman Year: 25 Words of Wisdom

Thinking back to your college experience, what do you wish you would have known about your freshman year? What did you do just right? What do you wish you could get a “do-over” on? Topics could include:

  • Studying (or lack thereof)
  • Alcohol consumption (or lack thereof)
  • Reading textbooks
  • Reading syllabi
  • Time management
  • Involvement in campus activities
  • Making friends
  • Using library resources for research
  • Maintaining a personal budget

Using the model created by Liz Strauss at The Successful Blog, share 25 Words of Wisdom for first-year college students in my Making Connections class. Use exactly 25 words, no more, no less. Full sentences are not needed. Here’s a slight adaptation of Liz’s guidelines and a link to her completed project:

  1. Think about your freshman year in college.
  2. Write a sentence about it.
  3. Count the words you have written.
  4. Edit the sentence until you have 25 words exactly. Notice how your idea changes as you edit and how your feelings change with each rewrite.
  5. Post your 25 words as a comment to this blog posting OR on your blog by July 31st.
  6. Link back to this post (from your blog) or leave a link to your post in the comments section. (I don’t want to miss yours when I compile all of them.)

Oh yes, if you have some wonderful thoughts and can’t make it fit into 25 words, that’s okay, too. I’d still like to know what they are. Simply comment below. No worries.


Photo Credit: Photo “seat number 25” originally uploaded to Flickr by Leo Reynolds



43 Responses

  1. […] [Cross-posted from Making Connections: Facebook & Beyond] […]

  2. I learned that you can, in fact, study too much. Don’t think you have to study 24/7, you’ll get burnt out! Take time to relax!

    Ha! 25 words!

  3. On Studying:

    No all-nighters;
    They cause undue stress.
    You learn little &
    remember even less.
    Do a little each day.
    It is all about process.

  4. The best thing you can do is get involved on campus, because it will help you learn how to manage your time and learn good skills for the business world.

  5. Subsidized loans don’t begin accruing interest until six months after graduation. Unsubsidized loans begin accruing interest the date the loan is disbursed to the school.

  6. Fire up the grill
    60 hamburgers
    60 minutes outside of Watson
    60 new friends
    Find ways to meet new people
    Everyone has something to offer

  7. Try and make friends who share the same qualities as you, never forget who you are, you will be thankful in the long run.

  8. Getting there is but a moment in time. The journey is what counts. Do that well, for you will always be a work in progress.

  9. I wished I knew PR was “my kinda thing”. It just seemed so distant to whence I came from that I couldn’t identify with it.

    [That was 25 words. Now for the parallel commentary…]

    (ie. Already gotten half-dead on the way… Particularly when I wouldn’t have the skills for it 10 years ago.)

  10. Study more instead of going out all the time. Once your GPA drops it takes FOREVER to bring it back up.

  11. Partying the night before a test is probably not the best idea. However, the night after a test that you actually passed is fair game.

  12. In doubt of a major? Take mostly core classes with a couple from an interesting department. You can shop majors without adding oodles of semesters.

  13. Go to class. Everyday. Then there will be no surprises.

    Be yourself and let life take you where it wants to.

  14. Failing to keep up with the assigned reading will provide much unneeded stress and anxiety while trying to catch up the night before a test.
    Those were my 25 words, but I have more! The biggest problem I had as a freshman was being unorganized when it came to project due dates. This came to haunt me at the end of the semester, so make sure you are well organized, and write down when EVERYTHING is due, and check it often to make sure you are not forgetting anything!

  15. Think about where the people around you are going and then connect with people whose company and character will matter to you in 20 years.

  16. It is far easier to recover from a bad semester your junior year than spening the last 3 years trying to work your way back from (passing 25 words now) your first semester. Learn early to get your work done before you celebrate!

  17. Don’t be stopped by not feeling smart, confident, or talented enough for a class or project. That’s where you’ll learn great things you never knew about yourself!

  18. STUDY Learn How to study. It takes practice. Time Magament is important Start college good, understand the process you will be good throughout your years

  19. 1. involvment = new friends
    2. go to class, take notes, dont buy the book
    3. make sunday your study day!!!!
    4. never miss a great party BUT be responsible!!!

  20. High school doesn’t prepare you for college. Being at the top in high school means nothing now. Make mistakes? Don’t repeat. Use cash, not credit.

  21. Another one, if I may:

    I should have thrown away everything I had studied in philosophy and political science, and it’d have helped a lot; starting over is good.

    (In fact, I would like to state that I repudiate everything I’ve said before, particularly because I don’t think most understand the context under which they arose. Thanks.)

  22. Barbara – I have a daughter who was a freshman last year at FSU and another who will be a freshman this year at GW. I’ll offer my 25 words below, but I look forward to sharing the compilation with both of them.

    Consider college a resource for discovery inside and outside the classroom. Focus on being educated, not trained. Take it all in, each and every day!

  23. (I’m out of step, yes. My family taught by the book and by the classics. I hope whoever you are, you’ll understand.)

  24. Choose a major based on your interests and dreams, not on what looks impressive or has the most money-making potential.

  25. I just graduated from college this year. Trust me, after four months, you will want to go back really badly. Then you will move on.

  26. Enjoy who you are now; don’t fret about the small things; exercise and take care of your body; treasure your friends; and appreciate the journey.

  27. Being in college is such a crazy experience. My advice would be to look around for the cheapiest book prices. I found alot on the internet. GO TO CLASS and take good notes. Make relationships with your teachers. Don’t pull all nighters. Never miss a good party 🙂

  28. getting drunk and running around outside your dorm in your underwear is not a good idea if you forget to bring your key with you.

  29. It can be one of the most magical, liberating, freeing, and powerful times in your life. Hold on to it. You’ll never have another chance.

  30. Balance work and fun. Do something that surprises yourself. You’ll work the rest of your life, but you’ll only be a carefree college student once.

  31. If you are noticing a trend here, hopefully it’s GO TO CLASS. Work hard your first semester you will have plenty of time to party.

  32. A stiff drink or two helps remove the edge so an engineering type can deal with Freshman English and Poetry. Not so good for statistics.

  33. Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young; set an example in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and it purity.

  34. Go to class, even when you don’t feel like it and make good friends, the kind you want forever.

  35. Go to class even when you don’t feel like it and make good friends, the kind you want in your life forever.

  36. Get to know as many people as you can and have as much fun as possible, but remember you are here for your education first.

  37. Don’t ask, “what am I getting out of this?”, instead ask, “who am I becoming through this?”. Character: who you become is what ultimately matters.

  38. Learn, but have fun doing it. Never forget where you came from, but know…you don’t have to go back. Try LIVING with NO regrets!

    College was Great. If you go to class everyday you can party as much as you want! I never missed out on a good time and still graduated in 4 years.

    Make contacts! Once you get out, it really is who you know, not what you know!

    Summer School is fun! Stay as long as you can! Study your Freshmen year! Try not to stress! Never quit! Drink with Friends! Stay Single! Enjoy the BEST Years of your Life!

  39. Your GPA is not the sum total of you or your college experience. Get involved with the newspaper, with a service club, with the academic team, or the bridge club. Just do something outside of classes. Have a diversity of friends. Do study abroad and learn about another culture. Don’t think that you know more than your professors. You don’t. And don’t assume they know everything. We don’t.

  40. Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts and ideas. Classes start on Monday. I’ll be sure to have my students check out your insightful comments.


  41. A wonderful post. Would you like to submit it to the Carnival of College Admissions? Delaney Kirk recommended it for inclusion, but I’d like your permission first. Have a look at


  42. You can get away with almost anything else as long as you follow two rules…don’t cut class, and don’t fall behind in your work. Adhere to those rules and you’ll remain in college long enough to grow out of most freshman mistakes.

  43. Wow these are some great reads. Honestly if you find your balance and don’t go overboard on solely studying or just partying all the time, college will be a great experience.

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