Freshman Year Advice from a Rising Sophomore

As I look back on my first two semesters of college, I realize I’ve learned a lot.


Don’t forget the cheesy pictures!


Be yourself.

It sounds cliche, but I felt a lot of pressure as a freshman to fit in. I was concerned with who my friends would be, would I join a sorority, would I be forever alone? But here’s the thing; everyone feels like they need to find the perfect group of friends right away. You’re all in the same boat, so it’s okay to feel nervous! Just be yourself, and the right people will find you naturally.

Take advantage of Orientation Week.

A natural reaction to the hustle and bustle of Orientation Week is to seek some peaceful, alone time. Definitely take time for yourself, but I encourage you to look into all the awesome stuff that our campus has to offer. It will give you a closer look at how you can be involved in your interests, how you can fill your free time, and how you can explore new outlets. You’ll get lots of free food out of the deal, too!

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Here’s Evan, partaking in the free food 🙂


It’s okay to simply coexist with your roommate.

Think about it: You would need to find about 10 four-leaf clovers, wear lucky socks for a week straight, and cross your fingers for a full day to end up rooming with your future best friend. Fill out your roommate agreement with your true feelings; it’s okay to advocate for yourself! Of course, we hope that you will end up being close with your roommate. However, it isn’t the end of the world if you aren’t best friends. There are lots of ways to meet new friends on campus: clubs, sports, class, work, etc. You’ll find your niche! Next year you’ll get to pick your roommate(s) or pick a single!

Come up with a schedule early on.

I found that when I was more organized with my time, I got much more accomplished each day. It was hard in the beginning to fit everything in, because every day is slightly different with class times and club meetings. Having a planned-out schedule helped me find more time! A friend of mine planned out her entire week to the hour! She’s a superstar. You can be, too. Your first step could be to print out your weekly course schedule in the fall and fill in the gaps with club meetings and other activities. This strategy helped me find more time for studying and exercising, too. In my second semester, it helped me to fit in time for working at the School of Nursing, as well.

And remember, you deserve to be here.

During our first week of Orientation, a panel of upperclassmen shared with us some of their personal stories of hardship, success, and encouragement. One senior reminded us that no matter what anyone says, you worked hard to get where you are today. Her message will be one I always remember, and I was so fortunate to learn it within five days of being a University of Rochester student. I’m sure you’ll here from some incredible upperclassmen at this year’s Orientation, as well!

About the author

Charlotte Pillow

I am a member of the Class of 2019. I am originally from Ridgewood, NJ. I am a student in the Dual Degree in Nursing program. I am majoring in nursing, public health, and interdisciplinary dance studies, and minoring in psychology. I am the president of the College Diabetes Network and a research assistant at the School of Nursing. For the 2017 spring semester, I studied public health at the University of Oxford.

One Comment

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  • The first few weeks of college can be challenging for some students. Thanks for sharing your feelings, freshman students can definitely take some notes from your post. Also, all the best for your future!

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