Coming to College: What I Wish I Knew

Anxiety rushed over me as I realized the start of college was only one short week away. To put it very lightly, I was a mess. I was flooded with a constant flow of questions and emotions—what do I wear? Will people like me? Will classes be hard? Will life ever be the same? Ohhhh the drama. I wished there was a manual to prepare and guide me through this extremely daunting time… and while there is not, I set out a few tips and insights about SMU, as I imagine there may be a few incoming freshmen who are now in the place I was once in.

Dressing up for class is a myth

I feel like this is a common rumor I hear about SMU. Maybe because it’s a pretty fashionable place in general, but rare is the day you will see girls in heels walking to class. You can wear whatever you want! Jeans, workout clothes, a dress, last night’s clothes lol, ANYTHING. You do you!

Boulevarding is no joke

Speaking of clothes… boulevards, on the other hand, have an unspoken dress code. We do dress up for these occasions. I was CLUELESS about this “high-end tailgating” that goes on, and the California girl I am showed up to the first boulevard in jean shorts, a tank top, and tennis shoes. While you can absolutely dress down like I did (if that’s your vibe) most girls will be wearing semi-casual dresses or rompers. The first boulevard is typically a “white out” so pull out your fav white sundress and you’re ready to go. Keep in mind it is Texas in August so it’s HOT, and I mean HOT! Put on something breezy and stay hydrated!!

One of my first boulevards

One of my first boulevards


This is probably the biggest tip you can take away. Kindness is always “in.” No one knows you and this is your chance to start fresh. Compliment someone, go out of your way to introduce yourself to your neighbor, offer to help a classmate study, who knows you may even make a friend. Leave your ego at the door! Don’t gossip or spread rumors– not only is that extremely unattractive, but I can’t think of a worse way to spend your time. This goes for your new roommate too. You may not be the perfect match, but communicating, in the kindest way possible, your concerns is crucial to making your living situation the best it can be. You will never regret being nice to someone!

Work Hard Play Hard

Prioritize your time!! It’s no secret SMU is a “party school” if you want it to be. But in order to let loose, you have to be organized and get your work done. Plan ahead of time. For instances, if you know you have a paper due Friday but there’s a great party you want to go to Thursday, get it done, PROOFREAD, and turned in by Thursday before you go out!

My freshman roomie & me in our dorm

My freshman roomie & me in our dorm

Take care of yourself

It’s super easy to get caught up in late night eating, forgetting where the gym is, and not getting enough z’s, but I promise taking care of yourself will make all the difference in your happiness and health. Balancing school and a social life while being away from home for the first time can be stressful. Completely letting go of everything your mom taught you is not the answer!! Have fun and eat late every once in a while, its a must to be lazy and watch Netflix too, but everything in moderation!

Be You!!

Cheesy, I know, but so true and important. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Although you start college with a clean slate, that doesn’t mean you should leave your personality, character, and morals at the door. That’s what makes you, you and there’s only one of you! Try not to worry about what others think of you, everyone will love you if you’re being your genuine self.

Ali Mikles

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