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Things every girl *needs* to hear before her freshman year of college

Starting your freshman year of college is just as nerve-wracking as it is exciting. Moving away from home, sharing a room with a stranger and starting new classes is all pretty overwhelming—plus, there's the added pressure of trying to make friends. These stressors are totally normal things to worry about, but the good news is that college is actually an amazing time to learn more about yourself and who you want to become over the next four years. Here are a few pieces of advice that every girl *needs* to hear before starting her freshman year of college. Remember—you've already got this!

You don't have to have it all figured out right away.

Starting college comes with a lot of pressure to figure out what you want to do with your life. You may go in with absolutely no idea of what you're interested in, but college is the time to figure that out. Don't be afraid of trial and error; not everything you try is going to work out right away, but remind yourself that it will, eventually. You might also go in with one intended major and then completely change your mind—and that's okay too! Don't be afraid of change, because it might be the best thing for you.

You will find your people, even if it takes time. 

It’s so easy to get lost in expectations based on the hype around college and what we see on social media. It might feel like everybody has a solid group of friends, but what we see on social media isn't always the truth. Not finding your friends right away can be scary and isolating, but don’t settle for anything less than the people who truly lift you up and love you unconditionally! Remember that high school friends are bound circumstantially, but once you leave a world where you’re in a forced friendship with your chemistry partner, you’ll form deep, meaningful relationships with the people who are watching you turn into the person you’re becoming—and they’ll be there every step of the way.

Join clubs and organizations that interest you...

Joining clubs on campus not only gives you real-time experience and involvement, but also the opportunity to find people with common interests. Joining a club will help you find your place on campus, so be sure to go to your campus involvement fair (most schools have them) to see if there's anything you're into. You'll automatically feel more at home when you have a consistent activity (with less pressure than class) and a place to meet people who are there for the same reasons as you are.

...but don't feel pressured to be as involved as you were in high school.

Burnout from high school is, unfortunately, a *very* real thing. If you just spent the last four years working on a college resume and joining every club possible, you might want to take your first semester to focus on y-o-u. Becoming involved on campus is an amazing way to meet new people and pursue your interests, but try to limit any unnecessary pressure you may be placing on yourself. If an activity suddenly becomes not-so fun, don't feel bad about taking a semester off. Remember—these four years are all about prioritizing yourself and your happiness!

Sometimes the fun is where you least expect it.

Here's a secret: Some of the most amazing memories you'll make while away at school are the ones you'll probably forget to post stories about. Late night runs to the dining hall for ice cream, study breaks on the quad, post-finals movie marathons—these are some of the most meaningful experiences you'll have at college. Allow yourself to enjoy every second of school, even when it isn't necessarily Insta-glam. Be authentic, surround yourself with people who make you laugh and be yourself!

Find your study space.

Not everyone feels at home studying in the library. During your first few weeks of college, try and find at least one place where you feel most productive getting homework done. Whether you prefer an empty classroom or the coziest corner of the student center, prioritize your academics and do your best to find that *one* place where you can really be on your study grind. 

Manage your time and prioritize self-care—whatever that looks like for you. 

Stay in for a night if you have to, nourish your body and prioritize your wellbeing. A major part of being confident is feeling healthy, both physically and mentally. In college, unhealthy habits are way too normalized, but how confident can you really feel if you’ve only slept three hours and you’re barely surviving on half of a granola bar and a vending machine Gatorade? When you start to treat yourself with the respect you deserve—the same respect you give to and expect from others—confidence will fall into place and come (at least a little bit) more naturally.

Wondering how to find a roommate?

Check out this GL article on how to decide if they're the right fit for you!

All GIFs via Giphy. Slider: @siennasanter/Instagram.

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by Chloe Hechter and Lena Genovese | 8/6/2021
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