Toto, We Aren’t In High School Anymore: A Freshmen Survival Guide


Words by Maryclaire Ahlgren

Photos by Sam Blaufuss

KU Soph. Sheree Buchli, pictured above, regrets not exploring campus freshman year.

Being a freshman at any college is challenging, emotional and petrifying. My first day on campus, I was not ready for what was coming: invites to the Hawk, frat parties and hours of studying pointless shit. After multiple panic attacks, breakdowns and wanting to drop out before classes even begun, I thought it was time to set out on an adventure and ask some upperclassmen how the hell to do this thing called college.

I asked seven different former freshmen four questions:

  1. Breanna Edquist; Sophomore; General Studies Major
  2. Sheree Buchli; Sophomore; Biochemistry Major
  3. Haley Tinch; Senior; Speech/Language Hearing Major
  4. Malloy Allen; Junior; Business
  5. Anna Rocque; Sophomore; Pharmacy and Business Administration Double-Major
  6. Emily Jackson; Junior; Mechanical Engineering
  7. Brittney Paeth; Sophomore; Criminal Justice Major

Their answers were inspiring, entertaining, frightening and helpful.

What is the top thing you should avoid doing as a freshman?

  • Breanna: “Dressing up for class. No one gives a shit what you wear, this isn’t high school anymore.”
  • Sheree: “Thinking you’re alone going through something. There is someone else going through the same thing.”
  • Haley: “Being the one dumbass that won’t move to the back of the bus when it starts filling up. Just move so everyone can get on the bus and go home. Also, don’t say ‘does this bus go to Daisy Hill?’ when the sign on the bus clearly says ‘skips daisy hill.’”
  • Malloy: “Stop worrying about classes; you got three years left of that shit.”
  • Anna: “Wearing your lanyard around campus, especially if you are out and about at a drinking establishment.”
  • Emily: “As a freshman, avoid thinking you have all of the answers. Ask for help when you need it. Go to office hours or talk to your professors when you aren’t understanding something.”
  • Brittney: “Trusting anyone who’s nice to you. Just because they’re nice doesn’t mean they have the best intentions. Also can you put in here that Thomas is a lying pig? Thanks.”

What is something you wished you knew freshman year?

  • Breanna: “That switching your major one or even ten times is okay; your advisor doesn’t care. They just want you to be happy.”
  • Sheree: “All the possibilities and situations I’ll go through. I’m still trying to figure it all out.”
  • Haley: “How the hell to find my way around Wescoe.”
  • Malloy: “I wish I knew that the plugs were doing 10$ a g.”
  • Anna: “Probably how to utilize the bus system. It is beyond confusing. Or know that the term adulting is real life. Adulting is something everybody talks about but you really don’t know how it works, or how to address situations on your own as an ‘adult.’”
  • Emily: “I wish I knew how to manage my time better. Freshman year was very difficult for me because I continually procrastinated and never started my homework until the day before it was due.”
  • Brittney: “I wish I knew more about greek life and how big it is on campus.”

What is your biggest regret of freshman year?

  • Breanna: “Working too much and not making enough time to go see my friends at different universities.”
  • Sherree: “Not exploring KU, Lawrence and Kansas as much as I could have.”
  • Haley: “Not signing up to do more school and volunteer activities.”
  • Malloy: ”Not bringing my passport with me.”
  • Anna: “I like to say that I really don’t have regrets, but it probably has to be boom boom room situations or the dumb mistake of consuming the rest of the drink that was left out of my eyesight and quickly finding myself in the Lawrence Memorial Hospital emergency room.”
  • Emily: “My biggest regret of freshman year was not hanging out with friends and going to football games, and instead having my boyfriend visit almost every weekend.”
  • Brittney: “Having sex with guys that meant nothing to me. Should I name them?”

What was your best memory of freshman year?

For KU soph. Anna Rocque, pictured above, joining Sigma Delta Tau was the best decision of her freshman year.

  • Breanna: “When I realized that credits add up faster than expected, making the dream of graduating a reality.”
  • Sheree: “Having fun with the band at football games and other events.”
  • Haley: “It’s cheesy, but my best memory was falling in love with the classes I was taking that led me to declare my major in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.”
  • Malloy: “Doing pranks on campus.”
  • Anna: “My best memory from freshman year has to be joining an amazing group of women who are all united by the same values creating the sorority of Sigma Delta Tau. It was most definitely a life changing event that has shaped and developed me to the woman I am today.”
  • Emily: “My best memory from freshman year was salsa parties with the girls on my floor and finally feeling like I had real friends.”
  • Brittney: “Making it to the championship game. I don’t know, we are good at some sport right?”

Well freshmen, I think we got some good advice. Educate yourself about the opportunities around you, and realize that someone else is feeling the exact same way you are. Never go into any room called the “boom boom room.” Always choose fries before guys and bros before hoes. But most importantly, do what you love and don’t change that for anyone, and never go out with Thomas because he will lie to you.