Freshman year can be an amazing time if you’re prepared for it. Most students aren’t.

Do what everyone else does if you want to end up where everyone else ends up.

This applies particularly well to freshman year in college.

The biggest difference between college and high school is your own choices. You suddenly have authority over your own life. Do you want to sleep in late? That’s your choice. Do you want to score high? That’s also your choice.

There is limited hand holding from your teachers or parents.

This freedom comes with a challenge. It’s a challenge that many freshman struggle to overcome. When you’re given the freedom to make good decisions you’re also given the responsibility not to make stupid ones. 😛

The Biggest Cliche Of All

We all have problems. College is such a new experience that we’re tempted to try and chance everything at once. Long term: that’s just a recipe to get disappointed.

“In college, I’m going to fix all my social, academic, and personal problems! I’m going to be a new me!”

No… You’re not.

I know this is a little harsh but it’s true.

College allows you to change big things about yourself but changing these things isn’t a given. These fundamental problems you’re hoping to overcome are major challenges. College won’t magically make them easy to fix. Most students come to college hoping to fix problems until they realize…

College doesn’t fix problems. It usually just exacerbates them.

Do you suck at studying for class? College will make studying harder.

Are you struggling with friendships? College will just make it harder.

Do you want to change your habits? Again… college just makes it harder.

Does this suck? Maybe but it comes with an important point:

Give yourself a break!

You can change yourself but don’t expect to magically change overnight. Pick something small and start there. Take your problems one at a time. You can handle them that way.

The Freshman Fifteen

Food can be comforting when you’re stressed. Try to give yourself minimum room for comfort eating at first.

Have you ever heard that you’ll gain fifteen pounds in freshman year?

This is one of those common challenges that freshman face. This is a classic freshman cliche.

Getting the freedom to eat whenever and whatever you want is also a responsibility. You’re now more responsible than ever. If you make a mistake then you’re going to end up seeing the consequence.

Watch what you eat. There are two simple approaches to preventing this:

1. Eat the same as you did before college.

2. Eat the same things (almost) everyday and keep it healthy.

Keep your solutions simple. You have plenty of other things to worry about.

One (Or Ten) Too Many

There are games worth competing in during college. Drinking games usually end up with two losers.

Don’t try to compete in drinking games with experienced drinkers. You’ll lose and make a fool of yourself at the same time.

If you choose to drink then be an adult about it. (There is a reason people don’t think young people should drink. Do you really want to prove them right?)

You may be able to get away with more than ever but you still have to live with consequences.

Remember these 2 things:

1. You’re not competing with anyone.
2. Alcohol will just make your problem worse.

Lost And Late For Class

I could have swore the student center was around here somewhere…

The first day of freshman year should be one of the only days you consider being late unacceptable.

Yes… I know students get away with it all the time.

The only consequence is a nasty look or two.

That doesn’t mean you should let yourself be late.

Find your class before you need to go to class. Scope out the area a day or two before you start classes.

Why should you do this?

Because it’s a whole lot more fun than putting on your idiot face as you stare down at your campus map. (The seniors are laughing at you.)

Missing Inaction

Showing up is important. Even if you already know it, it could still convince the grader you know it.

Seriously… you’re paying for class in college.

Show up!

There is almost no good excuse to miss class. You don’t get a refund for missed classes.

I get it… sometimes you’ll be sick. That’s okay. Sometimes you’ll make mistakes. That’s okay. The problem comes when you start thinking skipping is acceptable.

If your class is small enough for the teacher to take attendance (or close) then you should never miss your class. Your teacher will notice. Your teacher will judge you and lower your score for it. (Not all of your grade is objective. Any subjective bits will be judged harshly.)

There are times when skipping might be acceptable.

Here is the important point though:

It’s easier to not have to choose between showing up and skipping.

Don’t debate about it for an hour. Just show up. It’s easier that way.

Are you too sick for class? Learn more here.

Are you too tired for class? Learn more here.

College Is So Hard!

The boat your sharing with other students looks precarious but as long as you’re playing your role, you’ll make it.

This is another one seniors will laugh at you for.

You’re in freshman year. If you think freshman year is hard then you’re going to have a hard time here.

This may be a real challenge for you but that’s not the typical situation. (Unless you happen to be in one of a handful of super hard majors.)

Some students show up to harder colleges than their high school prepared them for. That’s a serious challenge that everyone can respect.

Unfortunately, most students spend no time working on their class. Then they complain about hard college is.

If you’re at a college event having fun and then tell people about how tough college is, people will be amused by it (unless they’re in the same boat as you.) Why are you having fun when you’re struggling through class? Go home and figure stuff out!

I get it. Some people can have fun and still kick-butt in class. They can usually get away with that because they’re already prepared. You may have some catching up to do. Catch up!

Complaining won’t get you anywhere. If you’re really struggling then you shouldn’t have time to complain. Do stuff. Don’t whine about it.

What’s The Point Of This Article

College isn’t easier than high school.

Sure… some aspects are easier. If you’re going to a non-competitive college then it could easily end up easier academically. Academics aren’t the only challenge in college. There is also EVERYTHING ELSE.

Don’t fall for the usual freshman cliche.

Be realistic. Set reasonable standards. Learn to take on each challenge as it comes.

You can’t do everything…

But you can do this!

What challenges did you face freshman year? Do you have any advice for our readers?

Image Sources: IntelFreePressAuburnAlumniAssociationMichael JohansenThree_If_By_Bike,  George HodanIan LDVIDSHUB

Freshman Cliches Don’t Have To Be Your College Reality


This is an absolutely essential read for anyone on this blog.

I’m about 4 hours away from something big.

The story began a decade ago when I first started to share my study strategies with other students.

I had figured out the Holy Grail of academic optimization strategies – and every intermediate step to get to it. Using this strategy, I pulled a nearly 4.0 GPA while running a double course load in college – and once I started sharing it.

Students noticed.

Droves of them.

And then teachers noticed.

Most of the teachers that were looking out for their student’s best interest got what I was saying and supported the cause. Others… well… not everyone has the student’s best interest at heart.


Early on (even before Smart Student Secrets,) I started writing for average students.

I knew… I was NEVER one of the “smart kids”. I was mediocre at best. And I knew, if these strategies worked for me then they could work for just about anybody. And that’s who I wanted to connect with.

But… There was a problem…

I built an audience giving these strategies away. Sure…

And I’d get messages from them. And we’d talk. And I’d hear their stories.

I’d hear from A+ students that cut their study time by 90%.

I’d hear from B students that took their grades up to A’s.

I’d hear from teachers that were sharing my strategies with their students.

I’d hear from older students how these strategies changed their life.

I love it. I love introducing these strategies that changed my life to other people.

But there was always this… but…

What about the C students?

What about the D students?

What about the students that are currently failing?

Sure… Some would reach out.. but…

They never followed through… They’d take a small step. They’d sign up. They’d learn some killer strategies. Seeing right there how powerful they were going to be…

And then… life kicks in. They lose sight of their goals.

And it’s gone.


Student’s came to this site to improve their life. They see the possibilities. But then… they move on.

In about 4 hours, I’m going to be introducing something – an email subscriber exclusive – that can help change that.

It’s going to make more Smart Students than at any other time in this site’s history.

If you’re ready to take your academic game to the next level – if you want to see it for yourself.

Write your email in the box. Check the confirmation you want emails. Confirm your email. And see for yourself.

You are requesting contact through:


I agree to be added to this mailing list where I will receive study tips, your free gifts, and promotional offers from Aaron & Smart Student Secrets.


We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices here.


We hate spam! We protect your email with one of the biggest and most secure email platforms in the world. Your email will not be shared.

Tagged on:                 

5 thoughts on “Freshman Cliches Don’t Have To Be Your College Reality

  • February 17, 2020 at 9:14 pm

    Very excellent visual appeal on this internet site, I’d value it 10 10.

  • September 29, 2019 at 5:12 am

    Great information that you shared in this post.

  • September 27, 2019 at 10:19 pm

    I have added this write-up to my book marks

  • June 12, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    I wish someone told me this before freshman year.

    I did exactly what you’re talking about. I went in with high hopes and then just got depressed when I couldn’t change everything in my life overnight.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *