Yes, you’re in college now, but that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically fit in. It’s often easy for other students to recognize freshmen on sight. Avoid sticking out with these easy steps:
Get rid of the freebies:
You know, all the stuff that you get on move-in and orientation day. Don’t wear the free lanyard your resident assistant (RA) gave you around your neck — that’s the number one way to say, “Hey, I’m a freshman.” If you wear a lanyard at all, get one from the bookstore in the Art and Journalism Building or from T.I.S. in the Village. There, you can upgrade your school spirit with different T-shirts, hats and lanyards.
Don’t use a campus map:
You can avoid walking into the wrong building and classroom by downloading the Ball State Map App or using Google Maps.
Be low-key and look like you are just texting or listening to music, when you’re actually lost and have no idea where you are.
Be careful not to be too reliant on these apps beyond the first few weeks. You’re going to be here for the next four years, so it’s best to learn where everything is as soon as possible.
Be yourself, don’t try to impress anyone:
College is the time to be the person you are, not someone you’re not. So, when you are at your first party or social interaction, do you and don’t worry about anyone else. People will see you for the wonderful person you are, and if they don’t, they’re not the kind of people you want to surround yourself with anyway.
It may have been easy to churn out a paper or homework assignment in five minutes in high school, but that habit will catch up with you in college. Make sure to always provide yourself with plenty of time to finish your assignments. Not only will it keep your grades up, but consistently getting your work done ahead of time will alleviate the stress that comes with procrastinating.
Lose high school rings:
You won a state championship or had a class ring in high school? Those are cool to have, just don’t wear them. College is a new experience where people don’t boast about their high school achievements.
Keep the memorabilia you got in high school at home or locked away in your dorm room. Trust us on this one, it’ll make life a lot easier.
Don’t talk about other schools:
You didn’t choose to go anywhere else and neither did any of your friends who are listening to you tell the story about all the colleges you were accepted to.
Avoid conversations about the school you could have gone to, because you didn’t.
Don’t wear high school sports gear:
Again, high school is over. Don’t dwell on the past because those weren't the best years of your life — that’s what college is for.
High school was nice, but all of the T-shirts, shorts and sweaters you got while there? Keep a few for messy jobs or working out, but leave the rest at home. Besides, you’ll get plenty of new gear in college.
Yes, that means your varsity letter jacket needs to retire.
Update social media:
This will go a long way in helping people see you as a grown-up.
Also, be careful what you choose to post on social media and archive any previous posts that might not look good to potential employers. Professionals aren’t impressed with underage drinking or drugs on social media. Be smart.
Try to work out:
The freshman 15 is real. Eating pizza and drinking soda every day may have worked in high school, but if you don’t work out and cut those bad eating habits in college, be prepared for a rude awakening come winter break.
You can find machines and free weights in the Jo Ann Gora Student Recreation and Wellness Center, which you already pay for in on-campus fees. You might be familiar with the Recreation Center from your PFW class, but it’s a good idea to visit on a regular basis. Try to find a friend who is willing to work out with you for extra motivation to hit the gym.
Confidence is key:
All of these tips can help you fit in during college, but the biggest one? Confidence.
Believe in yourself and have faith. Nothing can stop you. If you act scared to get involved or take leadership roles, you’re not doing what college is made for.
Take advantage of the opportunities given to you and have fun.
Clayton McMahan contributed to this article.