freshman year

freshman year

How to Be a Better Freshman

Freshman year is a big deal. You’re experiencing and encountering so many new things at once, and they all seem like make it or break it situations. However, you can relax knowing that while everything seems like a huge deal, in the long run, most things aren’t. By following some simple tips, you’ll be navigating your first year of college so well; people may think you’re a sophomore!


DO create some distance; DON’T be a stranger
For many incoming freshmen, this is the first time they’ve been away from home. No matter the distance, if you’re living on campus instead of at home, it’s going to be an adjustment. Establish some sense of independence while living in the dorms. Instead of calling the parents every time you can’t figure out laundry, roommate problems or homework, try working it out on your own or asking someone on your floor.

Of course, don’t ignore your family completely. Check in periodically and share how you’re doing. Try to visit at least a few times a semester. You’ll be surprised to find how much those conversations and visits mean after being away for a while.

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Meet the Class of 2016: Born after Kurt Cobain Was Long Gone

Beloit College in Wisconsin has made a habit of releasing a “Mindset List” every August, painting a picture of pop culture, politics, and technology for the incoming freshmen. Since 1998 the school has released this list, primarily as a way for faculty to be aware of their possible dated references with the students. Today, the list has turned into a fantastic catalog of the worldview of incoming freshmen for all to enjoy.

Having the understanding that this year’s freshmen have never known a world where women couldn’t fly war planes or understanding that they see the Michael Jackson family in the same way you saw the Kennedy’s allows for a major gap to be bridged for all. Some mind blowing stats for the class of 2016 include that they were born in 1994, meaning people like Kurt Cobain, Jackie O., Richard Nixon, and John Wayne Gacy had always been a part of history.

The yearly lists are fun to read and even those of us who didn’t think we were that old are left with our jaws dropped when we realize how very different our experience of the world has been compared to these young students.

A few highlights from this year’s Class of 2016 list include:

Robert De Niro is known as Greg Focker’s father-in-law in the “Meet the Parents” movies, not as a member of the Corleone mob family.

This class may only think of Bill Clinton as a senior statesman and really have no idea about him not “having sexual relations with that women.”

The class of 2016 has never known an airport where you actually carry your suitcase versus rolling it and they’ve never had an actual airline “ticket.” Read the rest of this entry »

25 Biggest Fears of the Incoming College Freshman Class

The first day of class is just days away for many college campuses. That day can be very emotional for any student. However, there may be no one more emotional than the incoming freshmen. The first day of college is more than just attending a new class, it’s entering a whole new world.

It’s been 12 years since I had my first day of classes. Many of my biggest fears came true that day. I couldn’t find a place to park, I got lost, and I was very late to my first class. It was a public speaking course. The first assignment was to give a quick speech about the person sitting next to you. My partner had very little time to interview me as I was so late. Her speech went something like, “I can only assume she’s not a very punctual person given she was so late today.” That got her a laugh and me a red face.

Looking back, I find it funny, too. But that day I was ready to cash in my chips and assume college wasn’t for me. Our emotions have a way of getting the best of us. By my final semester I had made many more mistakes, been late a million more times, and still managed to get lost on campus after all those years. Those issues among a million others seemed to happen to everyone though, and after a few years of it, the fretting stopped and it was just understood that college is a dynamic environment. Everyone was trying to find their way, it wasn’t just me who struggled from time to time.

More than a decade later, I wondered what today’s freshmen were dealing with. What fears are keeping them up at night as they prepare for their first day. I asked several members of the class of 2016 and here’s what they said were their biggest fears: Read the rest of this entry »

The College Bucket List: 50 Things to do Before You Graduate

School is back in session for many colleges and universities across the country. Freshmen go in with wide-eyed wonder and seniors just want to get it over with. Meanwhile, alumni, like myself, become a bit nostalgic. While I wouldn’t want to go back to my demanding course schedule and bi-annual struggles with financial aid, I would love to go back for even a couple of days for a few of those key collegiate experiences, and even fill in the gaps with the ones I missed.

The beauty of the college experience is that it can be incredibly unifying. We’ve all had to scrape enough quarters together to wash a pair of jeans and probably even slept on a mysterious couch to ensure a safe arrival home the next day. And every school has their own set of unique traditions, like riding the Sooner Schooner at an OU football game, jumping in Mirror Lake at Ohio State, participating in CalTech‘s ditch day, or unleashing Northwestern‘s “the scream” on the Sunday morning before finals. You should take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way – no matter how ridiculous it may seem at the time.

Whether a freshman, sophomore, or fifth-year senior, we want you to have a classic college experience, and so we’ve put together our picks for a college student bucket list. You’ve got (at least) four years to accomplish the items on here, but you’ve got your entire life to conjure up the incredible memories that each item will no doubt deliver.

1. Live in the dorms.

2. Take a nap in the “quad”.

3. Order a pizza and eat the whole thing.

4. Stay up all night cramming for an exam.

5. Become friends with one professor. Read the rest of this entry »

A Freshman Class in Iowa Holds Guinness World Record for Most Twins

I always have trouble remembering people’s names. The first day of class is always tough for me because I’m expected to learn and remember 30 new faces and names. However, if I was a member of the freshman class at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School, the situation would be a little more difficult because there are five sets of identical twins in that class. There are also 11 sets of fraternal twins, which means that there are 16 sets of twins, total.

Evidently someone who wasn’t too busy being overwhelmed by all the new names to learn thought this was a little strange and notified the Guinness World Records people. It seems that a concentration of twins this large was something worth keeping record of, and that’s exactly what the people at Guinness World Records did. After going through their records, Guinness World Records decided that this class of ninth graders in West Des Moines, Iowa had the Most Twins in the Same Academic Year at One School and crowned them record holders. Read the rest of this entry »

College Students Are Not Sleeping Well Enough To Perform Their Best

When I was in high school, I had a self-imposed bedtime and woke up at the same time every morning in order to go to my classes. As a result, I got eight hours of sleep every night and felt more energized and aware when I woke up in the mornings. My energy levels stayed high throughout the day and when it was time to go to bed at night, I fell asleep easily.

All that changed when I went to college. During my freshman year, I would stay up until 4:00 A.M. one night, wake up at noon, and then go to bed at 10:00 P.M. in order to wake up for my 8:00 A.M. class the next day. My sleep schedule was completely wacky, and as a result, my overall health suffered.

It turns out I was not alone. Many freshmen struggle with getting enough sleep as they transition into college. Also, when freshmen do sleep, they tend to think that they are getting a better quality of rest than they really are.

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StraighterLine Offers Cheap Alternatives to Freshmen Level Classes

straighterlineThe average college student graduates with $24,000 in debt. This can be attributed to the fact that the average college tuition has increased by at least 5.6 percent in the past ten years.

So, what’s the average, broke college student to do? Should you sell all of your worldly possessions so you can take Intro to Biochemistry? Heck no! How about using StraighterLine?

StraighterLine is a complete online “school” that offers a cheap alternative for introductory level classes. StraighterLine allows students to pay under $1,000 for an entire year’s worth of classes. These “101”-level classes offer the same information as traditional freshmen-level classes at many universities, but they eliminate the costs of running a college. Read the rest of this entry »

The University of Iowa Overbooks the Freshman Class

University-of-Iowa-too-many-freshmanEach year, colleges extend offers of acceptance to more students than they can accommodate, anticipating that a certain percentage will not attend. But this year, the University of Iowa underestimated the number of students who accepted. The incoming class will have 400 more students than they counted on, an increase of 10 percent over the last year’s freshman class.

The bigger class will mean a larger income from tuition for the college, in part due to an increase in foreign and out-of-state students who pay considerably more than in-state students. However, they are also facing a housing crisis and pressure to expand the most popular courses. The school has been reserving local apartment spaces and is temporarily transforming dorm lounges into rooms that will accommodate as many as eight beds.
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Coping with College Transition Stress

lost college studentEvery major change in your life is a stressor and requires adjustment, even the positive events. Transitioning from high school to college is an exciting time in your life. Whether you are going across town or across the country, there is a transition to living in a new place.

  • The adjustment will go more smoothly if you give yourself time to join your new community.
  • Give yourself a month or so before visiting home.
  • Keep in contact with people from home who will support you.
  • Don’t forget to participate in your new environment.

Some of the other ways you can embrace the new lifestyle include: Read the rest of this entry »

Mike Morelli Joins

mike morelliWe are pleased to announce a new addition to our writing team at

Most of you know Mike Morelli as the runner-up on Biggest Loser 7, losing more than 200 pounds. Many are about to know Mike as another college freshman, as he embarks on his collegiate journey at Michigan State University this fall.

Mike is an excellent student and will no doubt impress and excel as a Spartan. He will no doubt use some of the new discipline and goal-setting skills learned at the Biggest Loser ranch to keep him on track on campus, as he studies athletic training. Read the rest of this entry »


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