How to NOT screw up your freshman year in college

Written by Charaf Mrah

Hi there! I'm a Software Engineering major currently studying in college. The purpose of this website is to share my learnings and insights with you, in the hopes of providing value and assistance to those who may need it.

Updated Jan 30, 2021

In this post I would like to share with you tips that I wish I knew before I my college freshman year. Let’s not waste time and let’s get straight into it.

Stay Healthy

Your first few weeks could be very confusing as a new student so it becomes very easy to forget about your health.

This is exactly what happened to me in my first semester as a new college student. I ended up gaining 10Kgs of weight because of the junk food I ate and the lack of exercise as I was focusing on understanding the new environment.

I thankfully got back to the healthy path, but many don’t pay attention to this until it’s too late.

You might be very confused and stressed about the new system but always remember that your health comes before anything.

I would highly recommend you to watch out for your eating habits (are you ordering a lot of junk food) and your activity habits (are you stretching and doing some exercises?).

Use your free time

In the first few weeks of college, you’ll be surprised by how much free time you have outside of the lectures.


Don’t fall for the trap! just because you have a lot of free time doesn’t mean the material or exams are easy (especially if your major is “hard”).

In college, you can go from having absolutely no assignments or exams to having 5 due next week really quickly.

When the deadlines arrive and you haven’t revised the material at all you’ll likely enter into a state of panic and end up getting stressed and forgetting about your health as well as your hobbies.

It’s always better to space out your studies than squeezing them together in a week or two (at least from my experience, as I tried both).

Don’t wait for the deadline

We all probably know about how “bad” do your homework or assignment the night of the deadline for getting good grades.

However, I personally think that you can still get good grades even with cramming all your studies in the last few moments if you pay enough attention in class.

However again, I’m more concerned about the mental toll it has. As I mentioned before when you have many tasks to do in a short period of time you can get into a state of constant stress and it might lead to other unwanted results.

Always try to balance your time throughout the semester and try and do your homework days or weeks before the deadline.

This will ensure that you’ll have enough time to revise again if something goes wrong and you’ll also have enough time for working out during the exam days for example.

The exams are harder than you think

My first opinion about college after my first three weeks was: Wow that’s easy!

But little did I know that the exams are very different from the practice problems that we do in class (in STEM at least).

Since you have a lot of free time compared to high school your mind might trick you into thinking that college is easier than high school.

I would argue that college is better than high school but the exams are much harder.

While you could pass all your exams in high school without studying at all as I did 90% of my life, in college, it’s quite different.

If you do pass with good grades in college without studying (and without cheating of course) then you should contact Nasa and drop out of college right now.

Although the exams are harder than high school, don’t worry too much about it if you’re afraid. You have plenty of free time so you’ll be ready for it if you plan your time correctly.

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