The 5 S’s Returning Students Wish Freshmen Understood

It’s that time of year again. The campus bookstore is filling its shelves with Shakespeare and Macro Economics textbooks. The parking lot is loading past capacity. The maintenance staff is running around trying to get all the leaky showerheads taken care of. The professors are prepping their lesson plans. The feeling that only comes with a buzzing college campus is filling the air. And they’re coming. You know who. They’re loud and new and most likely clueless. That’s right.

The freshmen.

As a multi-year student leader, I regularly interact with new students, whether they’re freshman or not. And I’ve noticed some similarities within each set of freshly graduated teens, all of which warrant one of five S-words that I very much wish were included in every freshmen’s “Welcome To College!” folder.

But they aren’t. So, I’m doing what most highly irritated and irrationally frustrated people do when they can’t say something to someone’s face: I’m writing on the internet. For your reading pleasure, I have compiled the top five S-words that I and every returning student most likely want the freshmen to know.

If you’re going to be a college freshman this year, don’t take offense, but definitely take notes.

1. Stop Screaming

This is rude sounding, I’m very aware of that. But honestly, if I have to hear another new student run by my room screaming at three am, I will crawl out my window after them doing my best impression of Aragog the giant spider. Every returning student can attest to this. Maybe not the spider part, but definitely the noise levels. The sheer amount of screaming that happens in the freshman dorms is unbelievable, and that shit does not need to overflow to where the upperclassman live.

Returning students are very much aware that this is the chance for freshmen to experience independence and extreme freedom for the first time. But chill. Seriously, you don’t need to test your limits (or your budget) to fully experience your independence trial run.

This might just be because I’m old and graduating soon and generally less fun because of how ancient I am, but I really do wish that new students (and old students who still scream frequently, I’m calling you out on this, don’t think you’re safe from me and my electronic judgment) would interact with me at a decibel acceptable to my old lady ears. Please and thank you.

2. Shit Happens

By the time sophomore year rolls around, shit has already hit the fan too many times to count. Stuff gets fucked, we get it. So when the freshmen experience their first college issue, whatever it may be, the older students are there so help.

Seniors have essentially completed the college chart of “been there, fucking done that,” so they know all about making mistakes—whether it’s small, stupid or very big—and learning from them. Don’t let the grumpy “shut-up’s” and emotionless faces fool you; upperclassmen students can totally relate to whatever freshmen are dealing with, we just probably haven’t had any coffee yet.

So, like, shit happens dudes.

How’s my lingo? Am I reaching the youths? The few standing on my lawn didn’t seem to appreciate me calling them fam, has the slang changed?

Fuck, the progression of the English language is way too complicated to keep up with, now I know why my mom stopped after “groovy.”

3. Sleep

Sleep is also very important, not just for you, but for us (seriously, the amount of screaming is unreal—can you hear it? Because the returning students sure can).

Most freshmen seem to think that their first year is the time to test themselves in every way possible, and this includes attempting to go days without sleep. That shit is fucked; sleep is so important, friends. The average young adult is supposed to be getting at somewhere from seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Which is kind of bullshit, because how many people do you know that actually get that many? But, I digress.

Freshmen haven’t quite realized the full power and potential of college nap time. But they will, just like every other student. Given the time, freshmen are sure to learn all of these things. It would just be nice if they’d know them ahead of time, hence the article. (I totally justified my writing and you reading this article, so you’re welcome. I’m absolutely not just complaining. If anyone asks, you can say you’re doing research).

4. Stay True To You

College can be a time to reinvent yourself. And if you want to create a new image, go for it. There’s a reason high school is only four years, and that’s so that when you get sick of the person you don’t want to be you can become someone new in college.

Just be careful. You never want to push yourself to become a person you don’t recognize. Freshmen, y’all don’t need to dress up or pretend to be cooler than you are. It’s fine, we get it. I wore sweatpants twice this week. What freshmen really need to learn is that upperclassmen literally do not give a fuck. I gave all my fucks in high school so I don’t have any left, sorry.

Just like the shit happens section, students in their second or third year of college will not judge you for what you wear. Everyone goes through phases and trial runs and explorations, so it’s pretty much encouraged that you try stuff out. Just don’t lose yourself in the process.

That totally sounded like a Hallmark movie quote, I’m so sorry. I’d say feel free to stop reading, but you really should keep going. I promise I’ll stop being sappy. I was going to put a term of endearment at the end there, but then I realized I have no idea what the youths of today call each other. Is bae still valid? Is it creepy to call random internet strangers bae? Jesus, I feel old.

5. Study

I don’t care if you aced every single class in high school, college is way the fuck different, so you have to do some kind of studying or your ass will fail. Don’t test this, pass your fucking classes. Professors are literally paid to see you succeed, so go talk to them. Colleges have paid tutors, help them earn their paycheck. The library exists as more than just a building to hide the make-out hotspot. Make your librarian happy and check out the goddamn reading material.

If I seem passive aggressively passionate about this, it’s because I am. I see students throw away homework and shrug off failed exams every fucking year. It’s crazy, because college students are literally paying an arm and a leg to learn this shit, and some of them are just like “what the fuck ever.”

Do not “what the fuck ever.” Friends, this is where we make a note to study this year. Chat up the hottie in your general education history class and set up a study date. Boom, you snag a cutie and an A. Double win.

I know college can be tough, and I shouldn’t be so harsh in my generalizations. I genuinely enjoy my position as a student leader, and the freshmen are generally pretty good about picking stuff up quickly and making relatively good choices.

If only they would stop fucking screaming.

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