Etiquette for College Freshmen

Make sure your first year of college is not only a blast, but also handled properly … and yes, they aren't exclusive of one another.

Richie Frieman
6-minute read
Episode #353

Now, let’s be honest, if you love playing basketball and happen to run into someone wearing a Stephen Curry jersey, chances are you have something in common. And if you meet someone of the same faith, again, it’s most likely you’ll have a connection. This I get … however, you can’t assume that this same pattern will always hold true for everyone. Maybe that shy kid in your economics class, you sit next to every day, but didn’t want to talk to, just happens to be best free-throw shooter his high school had ever seen? But you never asked because his exterior didn’t match what you are used to. Or, even though someone in your class is an atheist, and doesn’t believe what you do, doesn’t mean they’re the devil. Different beliefs? Sure. But cruel or unfriendly? Not true. In fact, it’s flat out rude to put someone in any “category” without ever speaking to them.

Freshmen, the earlier you can ditch the notion that the surface of a person is how you judge them, the sooner you’ll be able to truly embrace all the college has to offer. This is a practice you’ll need not only in college but also in your professional life. Because you may feel you’re on your own now, but just WAIT until you graduate. Oh, boy!

Tip #3: Don't Forget About Your “Home Friends”

I went to a state school, where I would run into friends from high school—my age or older—and neighboring high schools, too, on a daily basis. Not tons, but enough to make seeing a familiar face seem like the norm. Not all were my closest friends, mind you, but still friendly nonetheless. Of those friends who attended college with me, some started to distance themselves from their “home friends” after first semester. We went from being around each other (by choice) 24/7 to now only becoming mere acquaintances because some of them believed "high school friends aren't cool anymore." And even though this was odd, it happens a lot. For whatever reason, there is this silly notion that being friends with your high school friends means you can't adjust to college life. Now, I’m not saying you can’t have new friends—I had tons of new friends—but it’s improper to simply brush people off because something newer and fancier has entered your life.

Whenever I hop on Facebook and see certain friends who were very important to me in high school, but now are simply just another face on my wall, it’s sad and it bothers me that they decided their home friends weren’t good enough any more. Granted, I graduated college 15 years ago, so I do not need their approval today … but I honestly wished they wouldn’t have moved on so fast. I mean, had I known they would have ditched their home friends, for college friends, I wouldn’t have invested so much energy in making a connection so long ago. So, Freshmen, when you get to college, meet as many people as you possibly can. You can never have too many friends, but don’t feel that you have to do some house cleaning with your old life just because you’re in a new setting. College is the time to open your eyes and hearts to a new world. But you don't necessarily have to forget where you came from.

As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.

Do you have any recent graduates in your circle, or perhaps someone who is looking to start a new career, check out my new book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career for great tips and advice on job success. It's available now!

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