Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Eli's Declassified Freshman Survival Guide

Results may vary

August 4, 2022
<p>Illustration by Madison Echlin.</p>

Illustration by Madison Echlin.

Photo by Madison Echlin | The State News

As I enter my senior year of college, there are many things that I look back on and regret like late nights, taking bad classes and much more.

For incoming MSU freshmen, I have put together five crucial things that will save you from future pain and help you survive college.

Results may vary.

Do what’s best for you and your schedule

When you start putting your schedule together, many people will tell you that you shouldn’t take an 8 a.m. class or you should avoid Friday classes. 

Truthfully, all that matters is that you make a balanced schedule that fits your current life. If you’re a late riser, probably don’t schedule that early class and vice versa. For me, I’m big into getting up and getting my classes done early so I can have the rest of my day to relax or work. 

That’s the minor part of scheduling, however. The hardest part is balancing difficult and easy classes. My biggest struggle in college with mental health was when I loaded a semester full of difficult classes and that caused my social life to dwindle and my work to suffer. However, loading a semester with easy classes also can be a detriment as it lets you relax too much and it can be hard to get back into the normal routine of school when you're wasting lots of time. 

My best suggestion is to schedule a nice balance of easy and difficult classes to keep you on your toes, but not drown you.

Shower shoes are a must

Truthfully, I really don’t care if you are in the communal bathroom or the suite-style bathroom, you need shower shoes. Yes, it sounds lame but it is an absolute must with what MSU provides for housing. The number of people that have used the shower before you should be enough to make you want to have shoes.

To avoid getting something nasty on your feet or catching some kind of fungus, I recommend a pair of slides of any kind. Personally, I had a cheap pair of slides from Meijer that cost me about $10. If you want to be stylish and have some nicer Nike slides or some Gucci slides, go ahead. As long as they keep your feet fungus-free, you’ll be good.

Take advantage of your dining plan

As tempting as it is to wander over to Grand River Avenue and get some food every day, I can’t stress enough how much I miss the dining hall now and wish I still had that access. The ability to walk in at nearly any time of day and get food and not have to cook for yourself was something I did not appreciate nearly enough as a freshman. 

Not only should you go into the dining hall as much as you want, but make sure to never leave a combo unused. Even if you don’t want any instant food from one of the dining options around, go into Sparty’s and grab yourself a combo to throw in your fridge or closet when you are hungry later and everything is closed. While you should go out and eat with your friends from time to time, save that money for when you no longer have the meal plan.

Set a daily routine

While your class schedule may dictate some of this, a daily routine is crucial in staying up while at college.

I have a daily routine from Sunday through Friday to wake up no later than 9 a.m. and to be in bed by midnight to ensure I still get eight to nine hours of sleep each night. Without that eight to nine hours, I can get to be a bit of a wreck and much less productive. Nights out in East Lansing can change my sleep schedule, obviously, but if you can keep a consistent routine it will help a lot.

In addition to sleep, make sure to plan out your days ahead with your class schedule and block out time to eat meals and take time for yourself. In college, it can be so easy to neglect taking care of yourself. In addition to eating to keep you moving, I recommend having an hour every day at a minimum to do something you want to do like watching TV, playing video games or whatever it is to make you happy. 

There’s always something you can be working on or doing that you have to do, but taking care of yourself is paramount to sustained success.

Let high school go

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This is coming from the guy who’s in a long-term relationship with his high school sweetheart and is still best friends with his friends from high school, but to grow, you need to let those days be the past.

I can tell you that there is nothing worse than being around someone at a party and they say, “When I was in high school, I … .” 

Trust me, nobody cares. 

You can still have things from high school, but college is your time to evolve as a person. Avoid going home every weekend and try to stay around college so you can adjust and begin to grow.

Welcome to MSU and good luck this year.

This story is part of our 2022 mail-home print issue. Read the entire issue here.


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