The Top 10 Things I Wish I Knew My First Year

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By Allison Doucette ’18


Transitioning from high school to college can be scary but, looking back on my four years at Bentley, I realize I worried about a lot of little things that didn’t matter much in the long run. The biggest fears students have when they come to college are fitting in, making friends, and not flunking out. While it seems like these are the biggest things to overcome your freshman year, I promise you there is nothing to worry about. Here is a list of the top 10 things I wish I knew as a freshman.


  1. A syllabus in high school is nothing like a syllabus in college.

This one you’ll want to read. It’s not just a paper teachers are required to hand out the first day of class that you have to sign. Rather, it’s where your grade breakdown and assignments are all planned out. Use this and reference it frequently: Otherwise, when you show up to class not prepared for a quiz, it will be you that looks foolish because it’s been on that paper for months begging you to read it.


  1. Your student ID gets you a lot more than just a swipe into the dining hall.

What’s one huge perk about being in college that people don’t typically tell you? Businesses recognize you for the poor human that you are and offer discounts at their stores! That’s right, you don’t have to pay as much for your Spotify subscription or your winter coat from EMS. If I’ve learned one thing over my four years as a broke college student it’s how not to be ashamed in asking if someone offers a discount. Sometimes you’ll be surprised and save some money! Don’t be afraid to ask everywhere you go.


  1. Put down your phone and enjoy this life while it lasts.

I know you want to share with all your followers how cool and fun your life is but it’s more satisfying when you just put away your phone and enjoy the life you’re in. Before you know it you’ll be applying for jobs and preparing to be a real adult. With this being said, keep what you do post to things you won’t mind a future employer seeing. The whole reason we go to college is to land that dream job; you don’t want a bad Instagram picture to stand in the way of that.

  1. Take advantage of the smaller things that campus has to offer.

I know we all hate the amount of emails we get each day, but some have hidden gems and are worth reading. You’ll be surprised how many free T-shirts or food you can get when you actually read your emails. Before you know it you’ll be looking back on all the missed opportunities wishing you took advantage of the things campus had to offer, instead of blowing them off to binge watch Netflix with your friends. Go to that hockey game or that free barbecue on the greenspace. You’ll probably be surprised about how much fun you’ll have. These events will occur whether you’re there or not so you might as well make the best of your tuition dollars and collect as many giveaways as humanly possible. I have a lot of Bentley gear in my closet and I didn’t pay for much of it…


  1. Think twice about your morning routine and if you’re REALLY a morning person.

I know you’re thinking that you had to wake up at 6:00 a.m. in high school for class so you could definitely take an 8:00 a.m., but listen carefully: IT’S NOT THE SAME. If you’re not a morning person or you’re even on the brink, don’t take an 8:00 a.m. class. You’ll want to skip more than you’ll want to go because you stayed up too late the night before or it’s snowing outside and your bed is really warm. If you’re not a morning person, don’t take a morning class. Start off the school year strong and in class, not in bed.


  1. Buy that $60-plus mattress pad. It’s worth it, I promise.

You’re going to pull all-nighters. You’re going to get sick. You’re going to have a really stressful week. I’m sure with all of these going on you will want to sleep in a rock hard bed that creeks, right? Wrong. A mattress pad is a must. Buy one.


  1. Don’t procrastinate. (I’m still struggling with this one.)

The all-nighters and stressful weeks aren’t completely necessary if you plan your time really well, but most people don’t — or at least I don’t. By the time I graduate, I will have a bachelor’s degree in late-night cram sessions, brewing strong coffee, and getting eight-page papers done in a few hours. I’ve seemed to get through unscathed, but it’s not for everyone and probably isn’t the best approach. 


  1. Don’t forget about your parents.

Call them often or send a simple text. They supported you to get here and hearing from you doing well in school will make them much happier than they’re willing to let on. Tell them things going on in your life because, believe it or not, they’re actually pretty interested in that meeting you had to go to last night or the presentation you’re preparing for. Even more, it lets them know that you care enough to tell them what’s going on with you.


  1. Have a supply of cold medicine at all times.

It’s inevitable: You will get sick freshman year and feel like you have the plague. It’s better to accept this fact and prepare than to wish you had prepared sooner. You should have some sort of cold medicine on hand at all times. Emergen-C every day is a great choice. Cough drops are essential. Nothing is worse than coughing all night and keeping your roommates up, or vice versa. It just makes for an exhausting winter. Take my advice and just bring some cold medicine with you. You’ll thank me later.


  1. Get to know your professors.

Bentley has a great student-to-faculty ratio. Use this to your advantage! Your professors are there to help you and are your resource to do well here. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or just to get to know them better outside of the classroom. Besides making a big difference in your grades, it also helps in your job hunt: Your relationships will make it easy to find a faculty member willing to write you the perfect recommendation letter for that dream internship, or full-time job.


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