How Not to Die: Survival After Your 1st Semester

No lie, it’s been a long time since I’ve been an undergraduate freshman, but now that I’m a graduate student in a new school and in a new state, I’m finding many parallels to then and now. To keep things interesting I will provide some sage-like advice from someone who has already graduated, in my series HOW NOT TO DIE IN COLLEGE (HOW NOT TO DIE INC).

How Not to Die In College Presents:

Survival After Your First Semester

 4 Things You Shoulda Learned Your First Semester


Whether it be from a good night partying, a bad night partying, a good exam, a bad exam, or maybe it could’ve have been as early as move-in day; you should now realize that you are in college.

My 6th grade teacher used to call us 5th graders until Christmas break came. Yeah, we were in 6th grade but we still had the mindset and work ethic of a 5th grader. It’s the same in college, when you first arrive on campus, you’re still just a High School graduate taking college courses.

^Hopefully this is no longer you 

But now that you passed your first semester and got your first take of final exams, lived in a dorm for a few months, and got lost a few times on campus you sir/madam are a college student.

2. I LOVE/HATE My Roommate.

By now you should have an opinion of your roommate; either you love them or you hate them. You better be ready to, because you have them for one more semester. Now when I say love, I don’t mean you two are buddy buddy, but you two can stand each other. You know they’re messy and that you’re clean or vice versa. And I don’t mean hate, I mean that you don’t really get along with them. To put it blunty:

If you’re going out with a group of your best friends, and you have room in the car for 1 person and you have two choices (1) your roommate or (2) that guy in your class that’s currently wearing the same shirt as you; if you choose your roommate you like them, if you choose random same shirt guy then you don’t care for your roommate.

But don’t fret about it, some two people just don’t get along. And don’t tell me you have the worst roommate until you can top my friends roommate who: (1) Was a meth head and got high in the room, (2) would often flirt with roommate while high and (3) would fight roommate for their prescription drugs. Needless to say my friend would choose “random same shirt guy” any day.

3. Who You Will be Graduating With

By now you should have a general idea of which of your friends are prepared for college and who isn’t. If your friends spent most of their time skipping class, and ended up failing exams, then don’t count on sitting next to them at graduation. I went into college with 20 good friends as part of a youth group… 7 of us graduated on time.

College is NOT for everyone.

The first semester will weed people out super fast, be prepared to see freshman dropping faster than raindrops.

4. If You Will Graduate From Here

I had a cousin who was all excited to finally leave home, and go to her dream school. She called me 3 weeks later because she hated it there. Try as they might, you can’t get the college experience from just the college tour.

^ It happens
You have to be there, wake up for that school’s classes, deal with that school’s traffic, eat that school’s food, experience that’s school’s spirit (if any) and deal with that school’s professors to truly understand if you want this school.

You will have a horrible time if you don’t like what your university is offering. Sometimes your school is not offering enough diversity or even your major, or it’s too far from home; there are many reasons why some schools don’t fit many students.

If you don’t like your school, talk to your high school friends and see how they like their schools. Then if you want, you can transfer there, at least you’ll be starting out with a friend.

Congratulations on making it past your first semester, you are now a college student, be prepared for another semester to finish off that fantastic 1st year and step one year closer to Graduation.

Leon Langford

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