A Mother’s Advice to her College Freshman Daughter

A Mother’s Advice to her College Freshman Daughter

advice college freshman

Instead of a scattered bunch of verbal advice, our daughter asked for me to share what wisdom I wanted to convey regarding helpful hints for her college success concisely and in writing. This request made our last few days together much more fun, because I wasn’t harping on her about things, just to cover the bases, since I knew I’d have a more thoughtful opportunity to get my motherly points across. What ended up coming out you can see below, and follows a bit of the “don’t forget to breathe” approach. (Even though some of these action items are obvious, I was unsure what might need reinforcing.) Feel free to forward this list to some freshman you know and love:

Trust yourself.

Trust your intuition.

Make good choices.

Remember you are wonderful.

Be authentic.

Have an attitude of gratitude.

Go to class, every class, every time, no excuses.

See professors in their office hours and get to know them as people.

Ask questions. Get help.

Do your homework when it is assigned, not when it is due. Do your best work.

Try to get your schoolwork done during weekdays. Be interested and truly learn.

When writing papers, start early and spend the majority of your effort on multiple revisions. Read it aloud and revise. Revise grammar, punctation, and spelling. Fix fragments and rambling sentences. Tighten or expand content. Improve flow and organization. Strengthen word choice with a thesaurus. You know what you mean but does the reader? Have someone else you value read it and respond to their comments.

Get enough quiet alone time. Also get enough social time. Find the balance between these two that best feeds your soul and helps you thrive.

Regularly go to bed early enough so mornings can be a special time. Also, being regular about when you get up is not always easy but helps.

Don’t ever skip meals, especially breakfast. Have something in your room on weekends when they don’t offer breakfast.

Brush your teeth everyday and wear your retainer. Remember to shower and flush the toilet. Keep your room tidy and wear clean clothes.

Find a routine that works for you and stick with it; structure a schedule and follow it.

Identify habits and attributes that will bless you and consciously cultivate them.

Be mindful of the salient points of our “sex & drugs” conversation; be careful not to get bollixed up in that minefield.

Join some clubs or activities outside of class. Get involved.

Play the piano. Find some creative time with art or beads.

Get outside in nature.

Cultivate your relationship with the Creator of the Universe.

Remember your parents love you and always like to hear from you.

Be considerate of others.

Be with people that bring out the best in you.

Have fun! BE HAPPY!

If you are ever having any trouble, you’ve probably gotten away from one of these important points. Review them and start fresh.

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I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. Beverly Lyle 9 years ago

    Hi Polly,

    These are really helpful and I would especially like to forward them to one of the Navajo girls who is now in college but, with your updated Blog, don’t see how to forward.

    What a glorious 2 month road trip we have all had. Much gratitude for your lovely, interesting, poignant and FUN sharing.
    Bev Lyle

    • Author
      Polly Castor 9 years ago

      Hi Bev, forwarding is easy. Below the blog entry, between the “tags” and “about Polly Castor” is a line that says “Share this article.” All the way to the right in that line is an envelope icon, and when you click on that an email pops up with the blog link in it. Glad you enjoyed being “along”on the trip! xxx

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