Dear incoming freshmen


Katharine Luzzatto ’25 is a prospective government major from Suffolk, Virginia. When she’s not writing for the Flat Hat, she serves as social chair for the William and Mary Cleftomaniacs. 

The views expressed in the article are the author’s own.

Dear incoming freshmen,

The transition from high school to college is going to be full of new experiences. It is probably going to be hard to move away from home to a new place with new people, so allow me to impart upon you ten pieces of advice that I learned through my own incredibly tumultuous freshman experience.

  1. Communicate with your roommate. Whether you know each other or they’ve been randomly assigned, communicate boundaries and expectations with each other. Maybe your roommate is uncomfortable with substances in the room, perhaps you’re uncomfortable with them having sex 6 feet away from you. You and your roommate will not be on the same page unless you talk about what you expect from each other.
  2. If you’re living in Green and Gold Village, invest in a fan or some great headphones because those walls are paper thin. Also, please play music if you’re getting freaky with someone. Absolutely no one wants to hear someone getting pounded into your twin xl mattress. 
  3. Try to find an extracurricular that you’re interested in. I met some of my best friends in the first week of freshman year through my extracurriculars. Most students that I know are in at least one extracurricular, and sure, some look good on a resume, but it’s also a great way to meet people on campus and to get some socialization outside of class and outside of trying to use your fake I.D. to get into bars.
  4. If you don’t know campus that well, make sure you know where your classes are the day before they start. Just go with your roommate or a friend, walk through campus, and try to learn your way around a little bit. It’s much better to do that than walk into your 100-person lecture 10 minutes late because you couldn’t find the room.
  5. The food truck on Sadler Terrace has the best food on campus, but it isn’t year-round. They usually have pretty okay vegetarian substitutions that aren’t just the tofu and undercooked rice you find at The Caf. Marketplace and The Caf are tied for second, I usually don’t even bother with Sadler.
  6. Be prepared to not have a perfect GPA. Look, I get it, some people can keep a 4.0 in college, but not everyone, and certainly not me. Living on your own is hard, and so is managing your own time, and that’s going to affect your grades. Be prepared for a C on your first assignment.
  7. Don’t smoke in your room. We can all smell it in the halls, and by we, I mean specifically your RA. Some RAs don’t care, but some really do. Just go outside. 
  8. Talk to your professors. I know they seem scary, but they’re (with a few exceptions) all incredibly nice and care about their student’s well-being. If you’re having trouble in class, it never hurts to ask them what you can do to better prepare. Most of them truly just want their students to learn something and don’t want you to fail. Talk to the people in your classes too. Having someone’s number in your class is going to be helpful when you inevitably miss a lecture and need the notes.
  9. Go and see the animals in Colonial Williamsburg. It’s a fun first-week activity and gives you a little bit of the lay of the land around you. Just be aware that there is horse shit everywhere on those cobblestone roads. 
  10. Let me reiterate that college is a hard transition, so please utilize the mental health services offered if you think you might need them. It’s free, just call and set up an appointment. I promise it won’t be as scary as you think. You can set up a triage appointment or an urgent one if needed. You can call the counseling center at any time if you’re having a mental health crisis and they will advise you on what your next steps should be. You also don’t have to be in crisis to seek counseling: it can be incredibly helpful if you’re struggling with the stress of classes or just feeling overwhelmed and homesick.


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