First Year of College
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The #1 Girls' Guide to College
What to know a secret about life in college?
Everyone—from the social butterfly in freshman orientation to the top student in Bio
The #1 Girls' Guide to College
What to know a secret about life in college?
Everyone—from the social butterfly in freshman orientation to the top student in Bio 101—feels a little unsure about the college experience. And that's completely normal! In fact, everyone could use a little help sometimes, especially in their first year. We know, because we've been there.
But don't worry...we have you covered! From the day you set foot on campus until the day you wear a cap and gown, get advice from a source you can trust: the expert team of all-star college students and recent grads behind UChic.
Campus Living: roommate relationships and settling into your new life
Academics: schedules, majors, and strategies for success
Social Life: making friends, getting involved, and finding love
Health & Safety: sex ed 101 and how to party smart
College Perks: internships, study abroad, spring break, and more!
We've got answers to your most burning questions and tons of practical tips to ensure you have an incredible college experience.
Length: 7 in
Width: 5 in
Weight: 0.00 oz
Page Count: 432 pages
COLLEGE MAY SEEM FAR off (even for you recent high school graduates with a summer ahead of you), but it’s closer than you think! No matter where you are in your preparation
COLLEGE MAY SEEM FAR off (even for you recent high school graduates with a summer ahead of you), but it’s closer than you think! No matter where you are in your preparations for the exciting transition to college, this chapter has you covered. You probably are already well aware that the transition to college is a major stress. Besides maybe summer camp, when else have you packed up your entire life’s belongings into several boxes and suitcases to head off to an unknown place to live with some random stranger? To help you find your path, this chapter is filled with insider advice on making this transition with confidence and style…and even a little bit of chutzpah!
GETTING READY FOR THE COLLEGE EXPERIENCE
From the moment I got my acceptance letter to college, I couldn’t stop thinking about my new life that was about to begin. The end of high school could not come fast enough. As excited as I was, I was also a bit anxious. This would be the first time in four years that boys would be in the same classroom with me. This would be my first time ever wearing normal clothes to class. And on top of that, thinking about the new experience of living with three girls I had never met before and being away from my family made me a bundle of nerves. I did my best to hide my anxiety behind my excitement to start a new chapter in my life.
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I cried hysterically when my mom drove away from my dorm. It was then that I realized I wouldn’t be seeing her the next day. I was being a bit dramatic, but I couldn’t repress how I felt any longer. I had this fantasy that college was going to be a perfect place, and a chance for a new beginning. I think if I had spent more time appreciating my senior year of high school, instead of building up pretend scenarios about college in my mind, I would not have freaked out as much. I learned that the most important expectation you can have about college is that you have to be flexible.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT GOING TO YOUR FIRST-CHOICE SCHOOL
Allison Davis, Barnard College
I had known from the age of twelve that I was destined to attend Brown University. This had been decided before I had even visited the campus. I knew I was going to Brown to study theater and to be a free spirit under a requirement-free curriculum. And maybe join a naked protest or two.
Six years and a seventy-dollar application fee later, my hopes were dashed. I didn’t get in.
Honestly, the rejection letter stung. A lot. You spend four-plus years slaving over SATs, GPAs, APs, extracurriculars, and enough community service to be on par with a Peace Corps member just to qualify for consideration at your dream school—the only university or college that you fervently believe matches who you are and, more importantly, who you want to become. It is disappointing to be so brusquely rejected by what was your collegiate soul mate. So even though I got accepted into and decided to attend Barnard College, which I knew was a great school, I was still feeling hung up on Brown. I wasn’t convinced I was going to have the college experience I’d always wanted.
I had always considered myself the quirky, alternative-theater girl, and I had always intended to go to school for theater—something that I had done almost my entire life—so I thought Brown would be perfect for me. I thought I wanted to be in a small town where most of your life revolved around the campus. I also wanted a campus with a strong academic history and, yes, with ivy-covered buildings. At Barnard, I have my ivy-covered buildings. I’m involved on campus and have made great friends, but campus life is not the focal point of my social activities. I’ve always been an active writer, so I decided to check out Barnard’s strong writing program. It turns out I love writing even more than I love theater. Truly, Barnard helped me discover my real passion and develop into a person I didn’t even know I could be.
If you are in this situation, don’t expect the worst or assume that you’re not going to enjoy college just because you aren’t going to your dream school. You have to keep an open mind. Take a tabula rasa approach. In high school, it is so easy to be pushed into a neat little box with a concise label. I’m sure you can hear it now: you are “the really athletic girl” or “the really brainy girl.” But maybe there is another girl inside you that you need to explore. College gives you that opportunity, no matter where you go. There will be so many new possibilities open to you to explore.
After three years at Barnard, I knew that I loved where I was, but I always wondered, “What if I had gone to Brown?” Well, I went to visit a friend of mine who attends Brown last year. The campus was as beautiful as I had remembered. Providence is a great town, and I really liked the people. But there was something missing for me this time. If I had gone to Brown, I never would have been able to take a writing class where Rachel Weiss made an appearance so we could learn the art of interviewing. I would never have been able to spend my semesters interning at the New York Times, and I would not have been able to hop on a subway and see a Tony-winning play and then come back to campus and hang out at a dorm party later in the evening. I would have missed out on so many different and wonderful opportunities.
And the funny part of this story is that my friend who goes to Brown chose it because she hadn’t gotten into Columbia University in New York City. After I had been going on and on about how much I loved going to school in the city and how much I love Barnard, she said, “If I had gone to Columbia, I would have been lost. Brown was such a better fit.”
I know it’s cheesy to remind you of the old saying that you’ll end up where you were meant to be, but it’s kind of true. Somehow, even if the school you end up going to isn’t the one you thought you wanted, it may end up being the best fit.
WHEN THINGS DON’T GO AS PLANNED
My freshman year I had a set schedule. I was a cheerleader and worked part time on top of taking a full courseload. It was perfect for my type-A personality. Even to this day, I thrive on routines. This routine turned out to be critical in helping me get used to my new life in college.
However, even with a set schedule and routine, you can’t plan for everything. Life happens and you can either go with it or fight against it. I started at Manhattan College as a business management major. I never would have expected this to happen, but the spring semester of my freshman year, I failed a math class that I needed for my major! I was devastated. I had never gotten a grade lower than a B+, let alone failed a class. I called my mom and she told me I’d have to pay my own way in order to retake the class. So I got a job on campus that summer. I worked full time and saved enough to retake the class. But guess what happened. Even though I had enough money to retake the class, my gut was telling me not to register for it. Was I scared I would fail again? Or was there an even bigger issue? Was this major not right for me?
BEING FLEXIBLE WITH EXPECTATIONS
I spent that fall semester miserable with my classes, but comfortable with my routine. I still had that uneasy feeling in my gut that I may have picked the wrong major.
A friend told me how he was minoring in communications, and that he was loving it; I was instantly intrigued. I made an appointment with the School of Arts advisor and brought up the question of switching majors. I would still have to make up the credit, but it would be a science class. And I was more interested in science than math. Even after talking with the advisor I was hesitant to change the “plan” I had made for myself during my senior year of high school. It took some time, but I realized I was a different person than I had been two years ago. In a matter of months, I had changed. A few signatures later, I was in the School of Arts, majoring in communications with a public relations concentration.
“UChic is an incredible resource written in an honest, inspirational, and informative way. It should be required reading for all college-bound girls the summer before their freshman year
“UChic is an incredible resource written in an honest, inspirational, and informative way. It should be required reading for all college-bound girls the summer before their freshman year!...Reading it will no doubt equip and reassure girls as they venture into the ‘unknown’ with more knowledge and confidence. I certainly wish I’d had this type of resource full of wisdom and practical advice when I went off to college!” - Virginia Blackwell, educational consultant, College Direction Counseling Services
“UChic is an essential resource for anyone who is invested in preparing and supporting young women to succeed on campus. It provides current, relevant information in a no-nonsense, easy-to-use format.” - Kathy Rose-Mockry, director, Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity, University of Kansas
“This is the book that every college-aged girl needs on her bookshelf, nightstand, or desk. UChic is the ultimate ‘how to’ on collegiate survival, and reading it feels like a chat with your best friend! No matter what major you are studying, what university you are at, UChic is filled with inspirational take-aways fit for you!” - Eleanor Smart, sophomore and student-athlete, UC–Berkeley
“UChic’s guidebook to college for girls is filled with valuable advice and is a must-read for any college-bound young woman. It’s also the perfect graduation gift for the high school girls in your life!” - Wendy Doyle, president & CEO, Women’s Foundation
“This UChic guide is hands down the best resource available for girls heading off to college or already settling in to their college lives. It’s filled with big sisterly advice that helps you make the right choices about everything from getting along with your roommate to picking a major. It helps make what can be an overwhelming experience more manageable, so you can create the college life you really want.” - Kimberly Palmer, senior editor at U.S.News & World Report and author of The Economy of You