10 Things I Wish I Knew My Freshman Year of College:
10 - Ask for help before you are in real trouble. This goes for all situations. If you are struggling in class, talk to a professor. If you are struggling spiritually, talk to a priest or campus minister. If you are struggling in another way, find someone to talk to. Remember that the older folks that work in and around colleges are there to help you.
9 - College is not just about getting a job. I am not saying that grades are not important. I am not saying you don't want to get a good job. I AM saying that college is about learning about the big questions - Who am I? What is life about? What plan does God have for me? etc. If you figure this out, college will be a success.
8 - You are NOT poor. You may not have as much money as your friends and you almost certainly don't have as much as your parents. This does not make you poor, so don't say you are. You are rich - you get to go to college, you eat as much as you need, you have a place to sleep, etc. Enjoy not having money and be creative with it.
7 - Sit up front. I am assuming that you are going to every class (which costs about $100 dollars per class you skip). If you sit up front in class you are bound to pay more attention to the prof and get better grades. You are also a more familiar face to the prof when you go ask for help (see #1). Sit up front in church as well.
6 - Meet new people and try new things. College is a great time to work on who you are. A great way to do this is to meet different kinds of people from different backgrounds and with different ideas. You need to stay grounded in your faith, morality, and family. But, you should also learn about the world through relationships with others.
5 - Good friends don't always make good roommates. Sometimes your best friend may not be a friend at all after living with them for a year. Choose your roommates wisely. If you want to study, don't room with a friend who has bad study habits. If you want to be responsible, don't room with a friend who is irresponsible.
4 - Don't go into debt on a credit card. Credit card companies are like vultures on college campuses. They are just waiting for you to say "yes" to the free t-shirt so they can have you ring up tons of debt and be locked into a crazy percentage rate that you carry for years and don't pay off until you are retired. Don't fall for it. Keep a budget and be smart about spending money. You don't need all the toys and latest gadgets.
3 - Shower shoes. All that needs to be said.
2 - Have fun! Balance your academics with a good (and healthy) social life. This means you have to do the following - manage your time, find friends who will make good decisions, and be smart about it all.
1 - Church shouldn't be optional. 80% of active Catholics in high school lose their faith by the time they graduate college. So, how do you expect to keep your faith if you don't get active in your parish or campus ministry in college? Do yourself a favor and get involved in the Sacramental, social, service, and faith life at your campus ministry. You won't regret it.