Freshman’s To Do List

"Mom can I have money, please?" Photo by Chelsey Frey

Welcome to Robert Morris University! Are you nervous about your first year here at RMU? As a freshman, I know I sure was. Never had I been away from home for more than a few weeks and completely on my own.

Over the course of the past four years, I’ve learned a few things that I’d like to share with you to ensure you make the most of your time on campus.


10.  Call your parents

A text message at 1 a.m. does not count as “talking to your parents.” It’s hard for parents to let us go off to college.  They miss us and just want to hear our voices.  Make sure you let them know your schedule too, so they know when you are busy. Keep in mind they lose track of these things, so keeping your phone on silent is always a good idea.


9.  Set roommate rules

Your roommate can become one of your best friends or one of your worst enemies. Make sure that you sit down together and talk about times that you like to study, your sleep habits, friends coming to the room, and other things you may have in common.  Keep in mind that the tiny room is also theirs. If you start having problems talk to them over a pizza. Talking is always better than not talking. Nothing can get accomplished without communication, and above all, be respectful to your roommate.


8.  Don’t immediately buy all of your books

Professors are very honest. They always mention whether or not you will use your book or any additional texts. I have found that ordering every book on the list is not the best idea.

However, there are some classes that you will need the book, especially those within your major. You may find a better alternative like ordering from websites such as Amazon or Chegg. Buy used books, and sell them back at the end of the semester. Chegg also gives you the option to rent books by semester. Another option is to share with friends. Split the cost and share the book as long as you get equal study time.


7.  Create a routine

If you schedule right, then your productivity will increase. Routines allow you to stay on task with laundry, gym time, and studying.  Students who have and keep routines are typically more successful in their studies.

If you wait to do laundry until you are out of underwear, you will quickly become more stressed.


6.  Don’t sleep the year away

Sleeping your year away can happen very easily. The late nights cause us to want to sleep all day long. Don’t miss classes just because you want to catch your beauty rest.

If you aren’t a morning person, set up your schedule so that you can catch that much-needed rest and still make it to class on time. If you can’t avoid those early classes, try rearranging your sleep habits. Unfortunately, your future employers won’t let you show up late just because you had to press the snooze button one more time.


5.  Keep in contact with old friends

Facebook and Skype are great ways to keep in contact, but snail mail is a great way to keep in touch with friends from home. Skype dates fall through and you can write a letter any time and not have to worry about the other person’s schedule conflicting with your own. Soon, you will find that mail is a commodity while you are at school.

My circle of high school friends sent out letters consistently for our first two years at school. We would write letters to each other, and everyone had a great time doing it. We even got creative and drew pictures or sent articles from magazines we enjoyed reading. A few of us still write back and forth, and my one friend even sent me a box of cookies last year.

Photo by Chelsey Frey


4.  Set a budget

The amount of money you spend can quickly drain your graduation and summer job cash by winter break without really realizing it. Try to stay away from shopping every week. Plenty of free activities are around Pittsburgh that you can enjoy with friends. You would be surprised how fun it is to explore new areas on a day off or a weekend.


3.  Get involved on campus

Everyone and anyone will tell you to get involved on campus, and doing so could be the key to making new friends or improving skills you may lack. Don’t join every group you see, but make sure to check out clubs that peak your interest.  Many clubs are academic as well as fun. There are also service-based clubs that not only benefit you, but the community as well. If sports peak your interest, plenty of intramural clubs exist that you can check out, too. Aside from certain societies, the majority of clubs welcome all majors.


2.  Go grocery shopping now and then

Don’t let the cheeseburger and fries become your everyday staple. Go across the street and grab some simple things to have in your room.

Sometimes you just don’t want to go outside in the winter just to get chicken fingers. Keep some soup, frozen dinners, breakfast items or items you just can’t find in RoMo’s that you simply enjoy.


1.  Have Fun

You are in college! You should have fun so join a club, play an intramural sport, cheer on your Colonials, and have a successful and enjoyable first year here at RMU!