Advice for First Year Honors Students

The first few months of college are tough. From the second you emerge from your car on move-in day, you get swept up in the “hurricane of college life”, and this wind only gets stronger as the semester goes on. Living with a total stranger, college classes, those crazy people called professors, communal bathrooms, new friends, dining hall food, an unfamiliar city… Making it all the way to winter break in one piece with your spirit still intact may seem impossible right now, but you can do it!

The following is a list college hacks and good ol’ fashioned life advice compiled by our truly inspirational upperclassmen honors students.


Honors students making hats for a service project

  1. Don’t let others tell you who to be, just be who YOU WANT to be.
  2. This is YOUR life and YOUR college career, make it what you want and don’t sweat the small stuff.
  3. Find something in the community of Mankato that allows you to engage in what you love. Maybe it’s volunteering with the old folks or maybe it’s biking along the trails. Either way, you want to make this your home so find something that you can do here that allows it to feel like home.
  4. Always keep an extra pair of dry socks, a hat and gloves in your book bag during the winter months. You’ll thank me later.


    Honors students enjoying the Kiwanis Light Festival

  5. Treat yo self (AKA practice self care). College is stressful and you need to be able to relax and put yourself first. Unless that assignment is due tomorrow, if you’re on the verge of a mental breakdown, take the night off and watch your favorite show with your cat or something.
  6. Prepare your ice breaker responses. Have a go-to response for “two truths and a lie.” You’re gonna get asked those questions a lot.
  7. If you’re renting a textbook and you damage it, turn it back in to the bookstore when they’re really busy. Chances are they’ll be more concerned with moving the line along than arguing whether or not to charge you for the damage.


    Honors students enjoying a night at the theater

  8. Attend Honors events. This is a great way to get to know more Honors students and staff who can then help you get the most out of the program.
  9. Everyone is just as much of a mess as you are. You might think that some of your classmates “have it together,” but they don’t. Fake it till you make it.
  10. Stay organized. Things are just going to get crazier and busier. Find a method of organization that works for you and keep with it. You’ll be a world-class juggler in no time.


    Honors students making friends at the Fall Retreat

  11. Find the single-toilet bathrooms on campus. The peace of mind you’ll have from knowing you can poop in peace somewhere is invaluable.
  12. Trust your gut. If something feels off about a situation, leave the situation. Too many people think that whatever it is will “never happen to them,” but it can and it will if you don’t exercise precautions and make smart decisions.


    Honors students at a Cultures of Asia event

  13. Study abroad. Even if just for a couple of weeks. The price is stupid but worth it. You will learn and grow so much. Just make sure you’re not doing voluntourism.
  14. Take selfies with your friends. Document this time. You’ll be amazed by how quickly time will pass and when you look back at these memories, you’ll see how far you’ve come.
  15. Eat a vegetable. Your body will thank you.


    Honors students becoming grill masters at the Fall Retreat

  16. Find a mom friend or be the mom friend. With great power comes great responsibility.
  17. Professors will change exam dates, friends may cancel, Trafton Hall will confuse you, but living in the moment and asking for help when needed will help you make it through it all.DSC_0955

Hopefully these bits of wisdom will help to make your first year at Minnesota State University, Mankato just a little less painful, stressful, awkward, terrifying, all those things that will prevent you from truly being able to enjoy the start of your college experience!