Category: Campus Life

Title: 7 Things I Learned My Freshman Year of College

Author: By: Ashley (SOH ‘26)
Date Published: August 24, 2023

1. Finding Friends at Georgetown

My biggest worry going into my first week of college was the fact that I was entering a completely unfamiliar place full of people I didn’t know. Although I love meeting new people, I usually take time to get to know someone before feeling comfortable with them.Three girls face away looking out at an ornate room with a chandelier

Looking back at my first few weeks of college, I remember meeting people that I don’t speak to now, some people that I am acquaintances with and also others who are now my closest friends. Although I was anxious at first, being excited and open to meeting new people was all I needed to find those individuals that I felt the most myself around. There are so many amazing, interesting people at Georgetown, and anyone here can find people that they click with!

2. Overcoming the Fear of Judgment

One of the most important things I learned was that everyone only cares about themselves. This is an exaggeration and I don’t mean this in a pessimistic way, but it’s something I realized while learning not to let the fear of how others perceive me stop me from being myself around others.

I learned that although you may think others are being critical of you, people usually don’t go out of their way to be constantly judgmental of others around them and are probably just thinking about what they themselves are doing. I learned this lesson one time when I came back to my dorm after a class wishing I had added to the discussion but held back due to fear of criticism toward my position. This feeling of regret made me realize that whether in social situations or academic settings, even if it seems like your contribution may be silly, trivial or basic, it’s always better to express yourself because who else will do that if not you? 

3. Communicating With Professors

This is common advice that I myself have heard countless times, but I guess it’s said so often because of how true it is: Communicate with your teachers! They are there to help, so don’t be afraid to go to their office hours or email them. Even if you don’t have anything in the class you are struggling with or have questions about, I still think it’s great to get to know your professors.

Beyond their role as teachers, many professors at Georgetown are such accomplished, amazing individuals with so much to learn from. So remember to try to build relationships with your professors – you may gain a new role model or friend!

4. Dealing With Stress

You know everyone experiences stress — especially going to a school like Georgetown — yet stress also makes you feel so alone. Being with friends allows me to decompress for a while, but another way I alleviate my stress and create a calmer mindset is by taking walks.

During late nights at Lau, whenever I felt like I needed a breath, I would step outside and take a walk, even if that meant just walking around campus for 20 minutes. Stepping away from my desk to breathe fresh air helps clear my mind and often makes my study session more effective.

 I also try to remember that although I’m stressed, there are things in my life bigger than this paper – my family, friends and my life outside of school. I remind myself that the worst I think can happen really isn’t that bad, and that I have more chances and opportunities ahead of me that I just can’t see right now.


5. Choosing ClubsTwo girls smile at each other while sitting on swings at a Georgetown Lights Display.

I definitely encourage all incoming freshmen to join all the clubs they’re interested in, but I learned to not get caught up in the pressure of applying to certain clubs just because of their popularity. 

Definitely try out everything because college is the place for that, but make sure to join clubs you’re really interested in and want to devote your time and energy to. If not, you would be spending your valuable time not really enjoying it.


6. Prioritizing Your Health

Maybe this makes me sound too much like a parent, but even while getting good grades and planning for your future are the top priority, the number one thing that you can’t do anything without is your health! My parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and extended family members would all tell me that I have to eat well and stay healthy in order to study. 

And although I usually pushed that aside, I realized how true it was. Eating and sleeping well plus making room for exercise are so important to maintain the energy to study and keep that enthusiasm about activities I’m involved in. 

7. Take Time Carving Your Own Path

While I haven’t felt much competition at Georgetown, because many students are extremely driven, passionate and determined with a clear vision of their future, I often felt pressure and uneasiness with having zero idea of what I wanted to study. However, I learned to remember that I have time and should slow down. While exploring my different interests throughout my freshman year, I knew that I wanted to study healthcare management and policy and have recently transferred into the School of Health starting this fall semester. Remember that comparing yourself to others does so much more harm than good because everyone works on their own timeline!

Final Words

re some of the most important things I learned after a year at Georgetown, and I’m looking forward to learning more during my next three years! If you’re an incoming freshman, I hope that this blog was a fun, insightful read and gave you some advice to keep in mind before you start the year! Despite all of this, if you just be kind and come in wanting to learn and grow, everything will work out.