Entertaining and thoughtful advice for incoming college freshman at Washington State University

advice for incoming college freshman at Washington State University



There is a saying at WSU, ‘ Cougs help Cougs’ and how better to initiate you into the Washington State University Cougar Family than to share advice for incoming college freshman on how to adjust to college life by WSU alumni who have already been there.

Here are 50+ pieces of advice for incoming college freshman for making the most of your time at WSU:

1.        “Go Cougs” is an appropriate greeting for any/all occasions, try it out the next time someone is wearing Coug gear outside of Pullman.

2.       Learn the fight song ASAP because you will be singing it often.

3.       Don’t make your mom ask for the first day of school picture, you know she wants it.

4.      Say yes when invited somewhere, even if it’s just to join floor mates to the dining hall for dinner because these may become your best lifelong friends.

5.       Figure out where the different resources on campus are and where your classes are. Knowing where everything was helped greatly and allowed me to get any help I needed.

6.       Give yourself several weeks before deciding if you like Pullman. It can be overwhelming and feels so isolated. Two weeks later almost everyone loves it.

7.       Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone! Find your niche, there are so many clubs, and organizations on campus so you are bound to find the right one for you. It might be nerve-wracking at first but once you find your people, they help make Pullman home.

8.       Call your mom!

9.       Do your class reading or assignment after every class. Don’t try to cram it all into your brain the night before the test.

10.    Be Genuine

11.      Be open to the unexpected. You never know where it will take you!

12.     Try out as a walk on athlete and you might find you are great at a sport. Rowing offers a novice class and boat opportunity.

13.     You’re doing better than you think.

14.    Always be kind, everyone is going through something

15.     Don’t be worried about changing your major because this is only the start of your career

16.    The alumni are rooting for you!

17.    Don’t “wait to bring winter clothes at thanksgiving break” because you will freeze.

18.    Take time to watch at least one sunrise and see the beauty of the pink and blue.

19.    If possible, don’t drive to or from WSU by yourself. We’ve had too many tragedies and don’t want any more.

20.   One of the best things you’ll take away from WSU is friendships that will last a lifetime. Make the effort to find them and nourish them.

21.     Explore parts of campus where you wouldn’t normally go and you will find there are a lot of cool spots.

22.    Embrace the simplicity that is Pullman. You will never have that calmness in another place.

23.    Remember, it’s possible your uncle/brother/aunt exaggerated about how much they could drink in one night.

24.   Make a daily schedule so you can balance your work and fun.

25.    Take a PE class. You’d be amazed how a couple of hours of activity in a sport you like or would like to try can help to relieve the stress of your freshman year.

26.   Be yourself, but be open to learning who you are; be friendly (even if yourself isn’t normally, time to be an adult and meet different people. You are here for school, don’t forget that. Study, do your coursework, be punctual. Practice good habits, and make them habitual, this will serve you for your entire college career and beyond. Go to seminars and other activities, even if you think they don’t pertain to your focus.

27.   Don’t drink and drive, they will get you, and you shouldn’t anyway.

28.   Stop by Ferdinand’s and treat yourself to some yummy cheese or ice cream!

29.   It’s ok to feel happy, sad, lonely, etc. we have all felt that way. So know that you are not alone! 

30.   Study in the library because there are far fewer distractions!!

31.     Find a solid faith community; they can be your extended family.  Resonate, Hills Church, Real Life, CRU, Young Life College, Intervarsity and E Free are just some of the amazing groups.

32.    Take the advice of your advisor because they know more than you do at this point.

33.    If you don’t ski, learn in college because Schweitzer Mountain is better than anything on the “wet side”.

34.   Don’t speed through Colfax or you will likely join the thousands who have already been ticketed…

35.    Find an activity outside of your planned major. I was a member of the marching band my entire time at WSU. These non major activities were a lifesaver and a great place to meet lifelong friends.

36.   Read the syllabus and keep it in your notebook to keep track of what’s coming due. In class, get there before the bell, sit toward the front, take notes, and ask questions. Take advantage of the prof’s office hours to go over an assignment or for questions about a test. Always make friends with someone in the class. Give study groups a try. The TA (teacher’s assistant) is often a good resource–they have office hours too, and usually get chosen for their position because they know their stuff.

37.   Take a class you like every semester….I took badminton and jazz dance. It helps relieve all the stress you will be under to have a class that is just for fun.

38.   Go to games!! Volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball. Great seats and great Cougs!

39.   Figure out how much each class costs based on tuition and number of classes. Figuring out the costs helped me go to class at 8:00am.

40.  Set clear boundaries with your roommate so you can have the best year.

41.    It’s normal to feel homesick so call home as needed and give it time.

42.   Buy a big bag of candy you hate and put it on your desk for others. By doing this, others will come to eat it and introduce themselves to you.

43.   Get a blanket and a fan because weather in Pullman is unpredictable.

44.  Take naps. As a result of better sleep, you may have better grades

45.   The Jewitt observatory is one of the best places to watch shooting stars so grab a friend and a blanket for an August and September show!

46.  Make your bed each morning because sets you up for a successful day.

47.  Be grateful for those who helped you get to college because this is not an opportunity everyone gets.

48.  An all-nighter may feel necessary at times but the work you do will be so slow and terrible – you should just get some sleep and knock it out with a fresh mind.

49.  Go when invited as much as possible and try something new! A piano class, dance class, a church, an odd sport class you weren’t aware of, join an intramural team, pursue an interest outside of your major.

50.   Take in the events provided on campus, in your dorm, through the CUB, through your major, check out the fine arts museum, nuthouse comedy and any travelling shows.

Bonus advice for incoming college freshman:

51.     Ask for help at the library, because it is much easier than wasting a day trying to find that book.

52.    Get familiar with all the campus resources: tutors, study sessions, writing labs, counselors, advisors, clubs, career counseling, medical services, crisis lines, fitness options, entertainment, church, police… find the free stuff. Explore!

53.    Don’t be ashamed to use tutors, counselors or crisis line. Life is hard and adjusting to big college campus is hard too. We all need positive support so use what is available.

54.   Eat your vegetables! I cannot emphasize that enough! So many people get sick due to terrible food habits

55.    Don’t share straws because sharing straws shares germs.

56.   Hydrate before drinking in order to have a more pleasant morning.

57.   Stay out of the steam tunnels. Or just don’t tell anyone you went in since your not supposed to be there…

58.   Hang out with international students so you can have friends all over the world.

In Conclusion, WSU is an incredible experience that you are blessed to be a part of.  As a WSU alumni and photographer, I look forward to meeting you in a few years for a graduation photo session I am excited to hear the funny and joyous stories of your journey, what you enjoyed most, what helped you through the hard work and your advice for incoming college freshman on how to adjust to college life at WSU. 

Go Cougs!


5 Excellent College Churches in Pullman, WA

Featured Categories





College grads