So the summer has come to an end and you have finally, officially started college. You've gone shopping and picked out the coolest comforter for your dorm room, stalked your roommate on social media and daydreamed about what your first week will be like. 

But college isn't what it looks like in the movies. Here are some tips on how to survive Welcome Week and put your best foot forward in your college experience.


Go to events.

beer, cake
Photo courtesy of Pace University

Welcome Week events can end up being some of the most fun you will have your first semester at college. Schools put on these events specifically for you so you can meet fellow classmates outside of the classroom and to get a chance to see what the campus environment is like.

Take advantage of free food.

cake, birthday cake
Photo courtesy of Pace University

This is college 101. When there is free food, you take advantage of it. Welcome Week is prime time for all different types of free food, whether it be pizza parties or your RA bringing cookies to the first section meeting of the year. Definitely take advantage of this before you get too tired of the cafeteria food. If you don't, you'll be in your room an hour later wishing you had grabbed that slice.

Stock up on free shirts.     

cake, birthday cake
Photo courtesy of Pace University

Just like food, free shirts are a staple of college life. Enjoy those orientation shirts and don't be afraid to wear them on campus. Not only are they a free way to show pride for your school, but they make a pretty killer gym shirt. Many schools have tie-dye events as well, which is the perfect opportunity to jazz up your free tee. Snatch these up while you can, instead of later having to drop 40 bucks at your school's bookstore to get a shirt.

Be yourself.

water, beer, fish
Photo courtesy of Pace University

This is so important. You might be scared that there is no one with the same interests as you on campus, but trust me, there is. Do you like superheroes? There will 100% be other students who like them just as much as you do. You like to dance? Then get out there and dance, someone will inevitably meet you on the dance floor. No one is going to judge you for enjoying yourself and making the most of your college experience.


Don't sit alone in the cafeteria.

coffee, tea, beer, kettle
Photo by Amelia Gilmer

This one can be hard. You're new to your school and maybe your roommate has a class and can't come to lunch with you. This is the time to put yourself out there. If you see another student sitting by themselves, ask if you can sit with them. Who knows, that person may just become your new best friend.

Don't blow all your money.     

coffee, beer, tea, wine
Photo by Amelia Gilmer

It's the first week (chill fam). You do not want to be the one who can't go to the movies with everyone else because you spent all your money on dorm decs you don't really need. Give yourself a few weeks before making that trip to the mall. The cute clothes will still be there when you go. Budgeting is super important and it's smart to start during welcome week.

Don't wear your lanyard.     

Joseph Gonzalez

You might be thinking, "um....That's what a lanyard is for?" But in college, trust me it's not. Wearing it around your neck is how upperclassman can easily spot who freshman are. They may not say it directly to your face, but they are definitely making fun of you for wearing it (it's harsh, but true). Just save yourself the few weeks of embarrassment and get used to putting your lanyard in your purse, pocket or backpack.

Don't be afraid to try new things.

Photo by Amelia Gilmer

Chances are your cafeteria is going to have food you've never heard of before. Now's the time to let your taste buds experiment and see if there's something that you've been missing out on your whole life. Most colleges have specific vegetarian stations so definitely check those out, too. You'll be surprised how good tofu actually is

In the end, your Welcome Week can be either good or bad, it all depends on how you make it. So get out there and sign up for clubs, explore your town or even just try a new show on Netflix. It'll be worth it, I promise.