Tips to survive and thrive during your freshman year in college

You might be wondering what college is going to look like, or maybe you’ve already started the semester and could use a little help moving forward in the right direction! Everyone has questions about what to expect during freshman year. Take it from a TJC sophomore, these are some of the best ways to set yourself up for success and enjoy your college time!

Don’t choose 7 a.m. classes if you won’t go to them. Starting college is part of beginning your adult life, and a huge part of “adulting” is learning how to set yourself up for success. Start off on the right foot by scheduling classes for times that you will be awake and alive.

Buy a flash drive. Learn how to use it. Guard it with your life. You will need it for every presentation, speech and group project. Pro tip: get a TJC ID lanyard with a flash drive on it.

Have go-to microwaveable semi-real food on hand. Soup or mac’n’cheese—anything that will give you a break between raw pop-tarts when the caf is closed.

Make some sort of budget. If you know ahead of time that you have $20 a week to spend on eating out, then it makes it easy to decide when to say yes and no to going out with friends.

Be proactive in your studies. College is designed to be academically rigorous, so it requires more studying than high school. You have to be intentional about staying on top of your classes.

Take advantage of the on-campus events! They are designed with college kids in mind and are usually super fun, or have free food, or both.

Make friends with the people in your dorm hall. Leave your door open or a white board note on the door to let people know when you’re just chilling and studying.

Don’t let yourself be discouraged by challenging classes. The worst thing you can do for yourself is to stop showing up to class because you “don’t understand what the professor is saying anyways.” Even if you are totally lost, show up and take notes. Getting back on track is a three-step process: 1) Visit your professor during office hours and let them know you are struggling. 2) Take advantage of free tutoring. 3) Ask the kid that sits on the front row and answers all the questions (correctly) to study for the next test with you. Bribe with food as needed. Trust me, it’s still cheaper than the time and money it takes to retake a class.

Work an on-campus job. It’s conveniently close to your classes and hours are flexible and built around your schedule. Some jobs, like working at the library, even allow you to do homework at work. Win-win.

Wait to buy the textbook until two-weeks into class when you find out whether you will read it or not. And if you do buy it ahead of time, keep your receipt and don’t you dare rip the plastic off that new textbook and scratch off the Connect code before a professor looks you in the eyes and says that you absolutely need it for this class. TJC’s library has textbooks that you can borrow from the library for two hours at a time, so you won’t be in a pinch if you wait to buy it and end up needing it, or only need it for certain reading assignments.

Work-hard, play-hard. College is tough, but it’s also really fun. Don’t less stress rob you of a great experience!


Cassi is a TJC Marketing student assistant. She's also a student in the Presidential Honors program.