To help our incoming first-year friends, we here at Bwog dot com have collected some advice that we would impart on our own freshman selves. We hope you find this list useful/sentimental/practical/insightful/all that and a bag of chips – and if not, our store policy is final sale, no returns or exchanges. Sorry!

In General…

  • Everything will be chaotic and that’s okay! There’s no “right way” to do college. Nobody really feels like they “have it together” during their first semester here.
  • Take a nap. Take a deep breath. Take a few minutes to remember that you’re the shit and you deserve to be at this school.
  • Go for walks alone through Riverside Park when you’re sad and you’ll instantly feel better
  • Call your mom. Ask her for pictures of your dog every once in a while
  • Put your money in a savings account so you aren’t tempted to online shop at 3 AM

Clubs and Classes

  • Go to office hours!!!!!!
  • Seminars might seem ~stressful~ at first but take as many of them as you can during your short time here
  • College classes are a lot harder than in high school, so be okay with not getting the grades you did before.
  • Actually go to all those events you see ads or posters or whatever for that look cool!
  • Take the classes that you wanna take, not classes that you think you should be taking. Similarly, don’t major in something just because you think it’ll help you make more money, you’ll be miserable.
  • The best conversations you have happen when everyone involved knows they should be studying.
  • Barnard students, Snowbird is your friend.
  • Branch out and join extracurricular activities you weren’t involved with in high school.

Your Social Life

  • I found my dad’s advice for parties to be very helpful: leave when it’s not fun anymore and/or when the police come.
  • Take time to maintain friendships with people you don’t find yourself naturally spending a lot of time with, be it by grabbing coffee, getting a meal at ferris, working out together. And stay in touch with the friends you make in classes & actively reach out to plan time with them. Don’t let your “class friends” fade!!!!
  • Stop putting effort into emotionally draining friendships/relationships. Be choosy with the people you’re putting time into, even from home. I wish I would’ve put more time into talking with my parents and hanging out with people who make me feel loved.
  • Making friends with seniors is great because they’ll give you great advice and basically adopt you (but it will be super sad when they leave).
  • It’s ok to not have a definitive friend group. If you’re the kind of person who does best having friends in different groups and all over the place, that’s ok
  • If you aren’t in the mood to go out with your friends, DO NOT FORCE YOURSELF TO. You will get sick/feel like shit/wish you had stayed in.
  • It is possible to have a decent social life on this campus without touching alcohol, if that’s your prerogative. Find friends that won’t shit on you just because you don’t drink. Like finding all good friends, it may take a while/year/etc.
  • You *will* run into old hookups on campus all the time so just don’t be weird about it be chill
  • Don’t freak out if you don’t find ~your group~ during NSOP. I didn’t and I was an awkward loner for a while, sure, but then I found my people :)
  • For me at least, the best way to find friends was through club(s). Clubs are for people with similar interests, so chances are you’ll find someone(s) you’ll click with!

Being Fed and Being Well

  • Eat proper meals. Mozzarella sticks are not a meal
  • Don’t be afraid to eat by yourself in the dining halls
  • You can make amazing breakfast sandwiches out of omelettes and bread and salad and condiments in the dining halls
  • Stop eating in John Jay Dining Hall. Periodt
  • Sleep at normal human hours instead of during the afternoon and the hour of the wolf
  • If you need ANYTHING, Well Woman (for Barnard students) is your best friend. Those peer eds can help you sort your toughest shit out.
  • Go to the gym!
  • Ferris is best with friends. It’s so difficult to get a spot by yourself!
  • Be disciplined with how you handle JJ’s – it’s a wonderful place, but too much of a good thing… well, you know. I found that letting myself eat there only on Friday nights and weekends helped lower my junk food intake by a lot.

Out and About in the City!

  • Take advantage of the Columbia student discount at University Hardware that (most of the time) knocks off tax and then some
  • Drink at bars that aren’t Mel’s/1020/the heights
  • Get off campus as much as you can, we live in one of the greatest cities in the world so take advantage of it. Make the 1 train your bitch!
  • Download CityMapper
  • Sweetgreen is overpriced and overrated. Don’t fall into that trap.

Photo via Bwarchives babyyy