Freshmen Year: 6 Things I Wish I Knew

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Freshmen year is full of ups, downs, and everything in between. It’s not easy to leave your family’s home, move into a dorm with a complete stranger, start college courses, and gain a ton of responsibility all at once. Fortunately you are not alone. I’ve compiled this short list of advice I wish I knew when I was a freshman.


Don’t Go Home

Even if your family is a mere 30 minutes from home, resist the urge to drop everything and run back to the comfort of your family’s home. Not only will this make it harder for you to learn to live on your own, but it means you’ll miss out on the college experience. Stay at school and enjoy the moment, because college is going to go by fast.

Make Friends

Put down your phone or tablet, and make an effort to talk to people face to face. Although introducing yourself to someone new may seem awkward at first, you’ll get better with practice.This is one of the few times in your life where you will be surrounded by people your own age, which means it’s one of the best times to make new friends. College is the time to make life-long friends, share experiences, and connect with others.

Fresh Start

The person you were in high school doesn’t have to be the person you are today. Nobody knows who you were in high school, and nobody cares! If you used to be the shy boy/girl in your class, now is your chance to be more outgoing and outspoken. If going to the gym wasn’t your thing senior year of high school, now is the time to take advantage of the high tech Health and Wellness Center (HWC). Be your new, improved self, and make the positive changes you want to see in yourself a reality.


WOU may be located in a small town, but its central location is perfect for exploring. Just an hour west is Lincoln City, a giant outlet mall, the beach, and trails to explore. To the north is the exciting city of Portland, filled with food carts, Voodoo doughnuts, concerts, hipsters, coffee, and Powell’s Books. 20 minutes east is Salem, which offers more shopping, parks, concerts, and movie theaters. An hour to the east is Silver Falls State Park, a great spot for photographers, hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. Lastly, Corvallis is located a mere 30 minutes south, offering a friendly downtown, large farmer’s market, as well as football games for sports fans.

Local Dining + Student Discounts

Every once in a while, you’re not going to want to eat at Valsetz. Fortunately, there are lots of spots to eat out in Monmouth and Independence, including the Yeasty Beasty, Yang’s Teriyaki, Sing Fays, Rice Time, Royal Thai, Ovenbird Bakery, and the Pink House Cafe. Not only are these restaurants close, but some offer student discounts! Bring your WOU ID with you, and you just might save some cash.

Take Care of Yourself

Your parents are no longer responsible for reminding you to brush your teeth, eat a healthy salad with that slice of pizza, or to go to bed early. You are responsible for yourself and your actions are your choices. There’s nothing wrong with buying a box of pizza to share with your friends on Friday night, staying up late to play video games, or sleeping in until noon. Every once in a while, that is. Do everything in moderation, and you won’t be the one trying to work off the dreaded Freshman 15.

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