Five things I wish I knew as a BYU freshman

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With midterms already approaching, it is finally hitting me that my senior year of college is well underway. The highly anticipated day of graduation no longer seems so distant, and I would be 100 percent lying to you if I said I wasn’t excited out of my mind about it. Don’t get me wrong, college has been great. I have met some amazing people and learned a lot of useful things that will help me in my future plans. But as great as being a BYU student has been, there have been some rough spots along the way that probably could have been avoided if I’d known what I know now. So here is a list of a few helpful tips I learned along the way. Freshies, focus up. Read these now and thank me later.

1. Procrastination is usually not as big of a deal as people make it out to be, EXCEPT when it’s the last day of finals week.

Being a student here you have to know one thing: you are surrounded by a bunch of braniacs who typically over-prepare and study WAY more hours in the library than should even be legal. This will likely make you panic. You will think to yourself, my exam is next week, and I haven’t started studying yet … I’m doomed to fail. This is exactly what all your fellow students want you to think. I’m fairly certain it’s all a big conspiracy and everyone is placed behind thick stacks of paper and giant textbooks purely to trick you into thinking you are the world’s biggest slacker. Here is what you need to do. Take a breath, relax and do your thing. You’ve made it this far, and if procrastinating like a madman is how you did it, then chances are you will be just fine continuing to do it here.

BUT. While it’s true you need to avoid being intimidated by your proactive peers, one thing you need to make serious note of is this: waiting until the last day of finals week is just bad for the soul. Please, guys, don’t put yourselves through that. You’ve probably heard rumors about a long line at the Testing Center. Well, I am here to tell you that those horror stories are true. You may think people are being dramatic, but their description of that nightmarish line is probably an understatement. Just don’t do it.

2. BYU parking police take their job much more seriously than you would think.

This one is pretty simple, and maybe it’s something I should have assumed from day one, but I didn’t, and my wallet suffered because of it. I refuse to let that happen to you. So just take my word for it when I say, those parking lot signs everywhere are more than just a suggestion. You may think that parking for 40 minutes in a 30-minute zone will go unnoticed. FALSE. You may also think that leaving your car in the lot overnight will be just fine. FALSE. You may also think that pulling into a wide-open teacher lot right next to your class instead of eight miles away like the student parking lot is justifiable (it was completely empty, you guys). Still though, FAAALSE. I think I’ve made my point here.

3. Thoroughly prepare for class registration day. And the potential fallout that inevitably follows.

It doesn’t matter if you are a freshman or a senior — registration day is terrible. It means mapping out the classes you need, waiting until midnight so that last seat isn’t filled before you have a chance to hit the add button, trying to contact the counseling center to get that dreaded flag or add code, listening to the “hold” classical music because every other kid on campus is doing the same thing and then ending up on some wait list with nothing to do but cross your fingers and hope 90 people in front of you decide to drop the class before the semester starts.

There’s really no way around this torturous experience; it’s just one of those things in life you have to endure. Fortunately, though, I have found a few ways to make the suffering a little more bearable. First, take a yoga class or one of those breathing exercise classes that expecting mothers take. Registration is similar to labor, I imagine, so knowing how to calm down and relax during the process can’t hurt. Next, buy yourself a big, fat, caffeinated soda (I promise you won’t get kicked out of BYU for it. In fact, embrace the caffeine now, because chances are it will become your best friend over these next four years). It will keep you awake and, more importantly, keep you happy. And last, be prepared for the worst. There is a chance you won’t get the teachers, times, or even classes you want, so try to have a solid plan B in mind and stay positive. The world will keep turning, and everything will somehow work out. Hopefully.

4. Sleeping outside for sports games is not as glamorous as it sounds.

This one may be debatable, but this is my blog post, so here is my opinion: A row-1 seat is just flat not worth sleeping on the cold, hard, sometimes damp, concrete ground all night. It’s just not. You will have just as much fun watching the game from row 20, and your back, neck, butt, head (basically every part of your body) will thank you for it. Plus, you won’t have to spend the next week in the hospital recovering from frostbite and every known strain of pneumonia.

Oh, and don’t let people talk you into it by saying it’s all part of the college experience. That is how they get you every time! No one can turn down the “college experience,” but let me tell you, there is nothing collegiate about this. The way I see it, the whole reason we go to college is so we don’t have to sleep outside on the ground.

5. Cougartails are ALWAYS worth the calories.

They just are. It’s like literal heaven in your mouth, and if you aren’t consuming them every chance you get, you need to re-prioritize your life. No, seriously, you guys, this might be my most important tip of all. Eat the dang doughnut. We might be the most stone-cold-sober school in the country, but we have the meanest maple bar anyone’s ever seen, so who even needs alcohol? Am I right?

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