Here's what I wish I would have known my freshman year.

What I wish I would have known my freshman year of college

By Janelle Higdon

Your freshman year at a Christian college might be one of the best years of your life. Straight out of high school, you are filled with excitement to join a Christian community on campus, to grow in your faith, and to develop skills for your career.

But it is still new territory, and your freshman year may come with challenges as well.

Rather than let you face those challenges on your own, we polled our current students and recent grads to find out what they wished they would have known during their freshman year at a Christian university. 

Here's what I wish I would have known my freshman year.

College friends and communication

Samantha Silk, ’17

Social work major

I wish I would have known:

  • How important it is to make good friends in college
  • That you won’t get help unless you seek help
  • That communication is important

Here's what I wish I would have known my freshman year.

Self care and college grades

Kristen Wessels ’18

American Sign Language major
  • “I wish I had known how important self-care is. My freshman year I worked myself to exhaustion and was burnt out by the end of it. In the consecutive years, I learned that I can still take care of myself, do things I enjoy, and not sacrifice my grades in order to do it.”
  • “I also wish someone had said to me that my grades are not a reflection of my worth or value; hearing that my third year really impacted me.”

Allison Meadows ’06

Pastoral Studies major
  • “SLEEP!”
  • “Be willing to tell a couple people you trust about the hard things in your life. During your freshman year it might seem like your friends have it all together, and that you are the only one with horrible issues. Be willing to be honest and real with a couple people.”

Take your time

Jacob Stenerson, ’17

Business and finance major
  • “If you don’t graduate in 4 years, that’s fine. If it takes you 5 or even 6 to graduate, don’t stress about it. Just make sure you’re following God’s timing, buckle down and fulfill his plan for you. As long as you’re trying your best to do that, God will bless you for your patience and efforts in ways you could only dream of.”

Quick tips from other alumni

Ellen, ’16

  • I wish I would have known you could still apply for outside scholarships. I also wish I would have had a little bit better handle on how to budget because, even though I worked all year, I didn’t end up with much saved.

Chris, ’17

  • It’s ok to make mistakes. This is the time to figure out life, and the best way [to do that] is to try. When things don’t work out, move on. Don’t be so hard on yourself and stop taking life so seriously.

Rie, ’17

  • Go home for Thanksgiving.

Erica, ’13

  • The freshman 15 is a real thing. Beware.
  • Your professors are happy to help, you just have to ask.

Bethany, ’11

  • I did not need a car on campus freshman year.

Josh, ’09

  • Syllabus is life. Obey your syllabus.
  • Sign up for classes on time so that you get the courses you want.


  • Aside from just going to classes, take full advantage of all the opportunities you can while in college. You will have more opportunity to do things for free or at reduced cost while you’re in college, rather than later when you have financial needs of a family, house, etc.

Want to learn more about being a freshman at North Central University?

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