How to Survive the Freshman Year of College Part II

You're entering college this year? Are you ready? In this guide, part II in the How to Survive the Freshman Year series, you will learn more about tackling your first year. I am a university freshman myself and have a few tips to share. In this second part of the series, you will learn how to balance everything outside of school, including health, money and relationships. But before we start, let's recap part I.

In part 1 we covered six main tips related to academic success for university freshman:

  1. Go to class - to maximize learning
  2. Do the assignments - staying on top of things helps a lot
  3. Effective studying - study smart, not hard
  4. Be organized - allows you to work for more efficiently
  5. Have a buddy in each class - helps you out if you miss a day
  6. Get to know your prof, academic advisor and career guidance department
  7. Take interest - get excited about your school work
  8. Be positive - remember that it's not always going to be easy

The tips above give you the absolute basics to getting good grades. They usually won't do the trick if you neglect other areas of your life. As a university freshman, there's more to your life than school. You need a balanced approach to survive and thrive in your first year. Let's get started.


Don't think for one minute that you can neglect this area of your life. If school is making you do so, stop and adjust your priorities. As a university freshman, you can and must achieve a balance between the two. Excess of either - studying around the clock or partying 24/7 - can be damaging. One rule of thumb: "study hard so you can play hard". Here some tips to get you started:

  • Get involved on campus. Join student council, clubs, intramurals or whatever strikes your fancy. These will give you a sense of belonging and help you make friends. It also helps you learn and expand your horizons - say, if you join the cooking club.
  • Have some alone time. Relationships and school can wear you down, especially if you're an introvert. The solution? Take some time for yourself. This can come in many forms - exercise, a walk, watching the sunset, a diary and so on.
  • Deal with homesickness. If your going to college away from home, your probably going to be a little homesick. For the first couple of weeks, don't go home. That will only worsen the problem. Throughout university, write letters home, email or telephone to help ease the transition.
  • Keep an open mind. You're going to meet a lot of people who are different that you are. Never shun them or reject their differences. Friendships can form between anybody.
  • Be a "yes man". Say yes to most social opportunities. Example: Someone invites you to go bowling. Say yes! If you have enough self-discipline, this mindset should be possible without affecting school work.
  • Make friends early on. This is the easiest time to make new friends for a university freshman.
  • Take photos to capture your memories.
  • Drink responsibly. Don't be dangerous, know your limits.
  • Avoid drama. Contrary to popular belief, drama doesn't end in high school. It exists in freshman university, and you're best to avoid it.


Don't neglect your physical and mental health as a university freshman either. It directly affects all areas of your life - including grades.

  • Hit the gym. Exercise will help you learn and de-stress. You don't have time not to.
  • Eat healthy. Listen to your body - how do you feel after McDonalds every day? Practice good nutrition. But be moderate and avoid extremes.
  • Go outside for some fresh air
  • Sleep at least 8 hours. This will maximize your productivity during the day and give you adequate energy levels.
  • If you need professional help for any reason, get it. Don't wait.


Be smart with your money. Save lots and spend sparingly. In college you are more free financially, but you have to be responsible with that new freedom. Other than that, I only have three tips that will guarantee success if followed correctly:

  • Set up a budget. There are great resources online that will walk you through this. You want to avoid debts and have enough money for future needs and wants.
  • Follow your budget. A budget is useless if you don't follow it.
  • Save money wherever you can. For example, buy your groceries in bulk. There are endless ways to be frugal. Search them out.


Being a university freshman can be daunting and overwhelming. If you practice what you have learned in parts I and II of university freshman, I promise that the process will be significantly easier. Try it out, and let me know how you're doing in the comments. Thanks for reading!

University Freshman (24795)