College Life 101: Leaving the Nest

I love my family. They have the ability to get me to completely change my plans of being lazy and unproductive on my weekends to do “stuff”. Prime example is last weekend when I found myself thrown back into college life – surrounded by freshmen, weepy parents, and multiple trips to pick up forgotten necessities.

Yep, my little cousin was starting college. The college years seem to be ones that can truly make or break you. As someone who went the very non-traditional route – I stress the importance of going to college right out of high school, if possible. Once kids, bills, spouses, jobs, and life kicks in – adding college to the mix is definitely doable but can be much more stressful.

I’ve committed to be available for my younger cousins as they go through their ups and downs of life. They definitely keep me entertained on my toes. Many thanks to the divas below who have offered their words of wisdom for those experiencing college life for the first time.

College Life 101: Words of Advice for Your College Freshman

 Know sTweet: Words of Advice for Your College Freshman that’s heading to or sending a child to college this fall? Click the photo to tweet this article to share with them tips and suggestions from some awesome Divas and Diva Supporters.

  • Most important would be to come up with an organization system that works for them and will help keep them on track! Then my next one is to stay away from frat parties as tempting as they are! – Lena Blair, Uncreative Mommy


  • Pace yourself….you will not be able to attend everything that is happening at the college & maintain your grades. Be selective in your extracurricular activities. Find a good balance between attending class/studying/social activities. – Pamela King, Still Dating My Spouse


  • As a mother of 3 daughters who have each enjoyed the college experience, what I would offer is for the freshman teen to be a Leader and not a Follower, to set the standard and to be mindful of whom they choose to call “friend”. For the Bible tells us that Bad Association spoils Useful Habits. Happy Learning!!! – Rene’ W.


  •  This really helped me: all freshmen are probably just as nervous as you. – Laura Benedict, Ambassador for Plexus Slim


  •  First, do not leave your laundry unattended! Some people will not think twice about pulling your newly washed laundry out and throwing it on the filthy floor so that they can use the machine. Bring homework with you when you go to wash your clothes and kill two birds with one stone. Second, ALWAYS wear shower shoes! As a former resident assistant, please trust me on this one … Finally, tie your room key around your neck and never take it off! Because everyone laughs about it when they tell their friends they locked themselves out of their room when they went down the hall to take a shower. But, let’s be honest … we were all mortified when we had to walk across campus to the police station wearing only a towel. ~ Sarah



  • Find a good study partner who will help you to stay focused. Never wait to the last minute to seek out tutoring services on campus. Always communicate with your professors. Let them know if you need help. Most professors I know are approachable and are willing to help students who show interest in the subject and are eager to learn. If you must drop a class, make sure you file an official withdrawal slip with the Registrars Office. Unofficial withdrawals become “F’s” which tanks your grade point average. Make sure you connect with your academic adviser and and check in periodically during your four years so that you are taking the right classes. Plus, at the end of your studies you would have made great connections on campus with your professors and advisers that you will be able to request letters of recommendations for grad school. ~ Renee R.


  • Remain focused on your goals – why you are there in the first place, what you hope to gain from the experience, why you chose your area of study…it’s easy to get caught up in the moment, the pressures of new friends/parties/activities, so you have to have an anchor in the midst of all the emotions and excitement to keep you grounded. – Miki


  • Start looking into internships early on. Whatever experience you can get the better. It’s harder to gain experience after you’ve graduated. – Arelis, My Pocketful of Thoughts


  • Remember it’s all an experience. There will be ups and downs. Try to find a group of friends/study partners. Get to know you teachers and don’t be afraid to call home as much as you want. – Shirley


  • My biggest piece of advice is to take it slow and don’t let small things get you down. If you didn’t get the grade you wanted, talk to the professor and figure out a plan to work things out. Don’t sweat the small stuff. – Dr. Sports Guy

What words of wisdom would you give a teen starting their freshman year in college? Any key advice stick out from your college years?

63 thoughts on “College Life 101: Leaving the Nest”

  1. These are good tips on adjusting to college life, but shouldn’t some safety tips should be included? Kids are away from their parents, free, and on their own and a lot of times will think it’s all “okay”.

  2. Eating healthy seems to be hard for them. I have one in college who believes pizza fits every meal, lol. These are really great tips. I would tell them to be sure and it healthy. Fruit is often called “Brainfood” lol –

  3. My advice would be to understand your internal clock and schedule your classes accordingly. Hold yourself accountable! No more mom and dad making you go to class so if you schedule a MWF 8am class, you need to make sure you're prepared for the consequences of not going. Stacking all my classes on T, TH was probably the smartest thing I ever did but it took me until Junior year to be able to.

  4. Thanks for the tips! My boys are very young still so it will be a while before they leave the nest. It will be hard to see them go.

  5. I would agree with these things. Especially the picking of a responsible study partner. That can go a long way to getting you through classes.

  6. i went to college in defiance of my parents demands of me. i will say the worst thing that happened is that i took my homework to the laundry room and turned my back for a second to use the money changer and my text books got stolen. OH, messenger bags are all important, never leave your stuff off your person even for 30 seconds, students wont think twice about selling your books back to the bookstore. and when you cant just fork over $100 or more for new textbooks, you get kicked from class! talk about paying double for someone else s crime!

  7. These are great tips – I especially love the one about never leaving your laundry unattended!! I saw many people’s clean, wet laundry thrown on the ground because they didn’t get it out of the machine fast enough! :)

  8. These are all great tips! I do think balancing fun and homework is important, but also MAKE SURE you have fun. Try out clubs, but don’t think you have to stay if it’s not a good fit. Find a place for you and enjoy things now and then.

  9. Great tips! I would include learning how to budget in there too. With all the free stuff they throw at college kids these days for signing up for a credit card can lead to bad habits early.

  10. Great tips, my son left for his first year of college 2 weeks ago. He is on a scholarship so we stressed to him the importance of keep his grade point average high so he keeps his scholarship. Skipping classes and partying are not options.

  11. It’s so great that your cousins have someone like you to be there for them! I did not take the traditional route of going to college after high school and want to make sure I’m there to support my younger siblings if they choose to go that route!

  12. I’d add to remain focused on your goals – why you are there in the first place, what you hope to gain from the experience, why you chose your area of study…it’s easy to get caught up in the moment, the pressures of new friends/parties/activities, so you have to have an anchor in the midst of all the emotions and excitement to keep you grounded.

  13. I wish I had known most of this when I was in college! Thankfully, I did make use of a study partner which helped keep me focused and motivated.

  14. You are right on with not trying to go to every event… I was quite overwhelmed with everything there was to do my first year in college that I blew it. I am now going to school online. I appreciate the flexibility and I truly do enjoy it, but I wish I had had this advice when I went to college the first time.

  15. fortunately I have 13 years until my daughter leaves for college, but your tips are great – and I only wish I would have followed them more when I was in college!

  16. Those are all good tips. I really have nothing to add. Mine didn’t go to college. I guess study, of course and stay out of trouble. And call home even when you don’t need money!

  17. i think pacing yourself is a great tip. also, i think balancing studying with fun is important or you will either get burned out or not do well in classes if you do too much of one or the other

  18. Remember it’s all an experience. There will be ups and downs. Try to find a group of friends/study partners. Get to know you teachers and don’t be afraid to call home as much as you want. :)

  19. I remember when I started college, I was very ill prepared for it. I was not ready for all the “freedom” I suddenly got and did not realize the impact of 1 failed class next to a sea of As & Bs. It only takes 1 to drag the whole thing down. Wish I had more advice and mentors available to me then!

  20. I’m so glad that my kids are so far away from College. I don’t even want to think about them leaving the nest yet.

  21. I loved college. The laundry tip is SO TRUE. People will take your clothes out even mid-cycle.. no one has patience! Another tip: It’s important to find people you can connect to and trust. Having close friends in college really solidifies the experiences and gives you a necessary support system.

    1. Great suggestion. Communicating with your professors and showing them you are proactively working to improve and make the best out of your time in their classrooms makes a difference.

  22. I went to college and graduated a bachelor’s degree yet I still live with my parents :) that’s the good thing of living in the city, I don’t have to rent a dorm or whatsoever. It’s different here in America though.

    1. Very true!!! While it’s great to have a diverse group of friends – ensuring their goals and aspirations are positive will make a huge difference in the role they play in one’s life.

  23. I was thinking the same thing as you do, but since my son is too young and i don’t trust most of the people around except my family and very close friends, i end up not proceeding of going to school this year.

    1. I can relate but with my 7th grader I’ve realized it will be here before I know it. I’m going to enjoy my kindergartner and almost-2 year old as long as possible :)

  24. This is great advice, Michelle, and I especially love the, “All freshmen are probably just as nervous as you,” tidbit. I wish I had known that when I got my start at college!

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