How to survive freshman year at Harding


The start of the school year is quickly approaching, and knowing practical things to survive college is a must. We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks from Harding students, Harding alumni offered advice, too.

Invest in a quality rain jacket and rain boots.

The rain seems to fall the hardest when you’re walking to and from classes. An umbrella might seem like a good idea, but when the wind picks up and puddles reach your ankles, you’ll think otherwise.

Be prepared in case you get sick.

You’re staying up late, drinking lots of soda in the cafeteria, and taking advantage of the unlimited French fries. You might get sick adjusting to a new living environment. Sophomore Matthew Swann can attest.

“Be prepared to get sick the first several weeks if the dorm life is really new to you and not an environment you’re used to. It happened to me last year, and it was bad — allergies, coughing, sneezing and runny, itchy nose!” -Swann

Make a checklist of things to help you through your sickness — Emergen-C, Gatorade, crackers and Alka-Seltzer tabs. If you can’t manage your sickness with those go-to items, Student Health Services is free to students and is a frequented and appreciated place by many.

Scott White offered advice if you find yourself needing a prescription filled.

“Figure out a pharmacy and file insurance information before you need a prescription. It is no fun to deal with the paperwork when you are sick. Some pharmacies offer delivery.” – White (’92)

Budget your DCB and use your meal plan.

It’s going to be tempting to eat Chick-fil-A for lunch every day. You’ll definitely want to start every morning off with a bagel and coffee from Einstein’s, but learn to budget your DCB. Your end-of-semester self will thank you.

The average amount of DCB for a freshman is $250. With 16 weeks in the semester, that’s around $15 a week. That’s a Chick-fil-A sandwich and waffle fries for lunch and a couple of bagels and cups of coffees for breakfast. Depending on your love for chicken biscuits, that’s also a chicken biscuit every morning after chapel.

To hold yourself accountable, have friends who you meet up with for lunch and dinner everyday. Go to the cafeteria together, and make sure you’re keeping your DCB in check. Even better, mark a day in the week — for instance, DCB Tuesday — and get Chick-fil-A or Panda Express with your friends.

Also, don’t forget to use your cafeteria swipes. You pay for those; don’t let them go to waste.

Don’t spend too much on your dorm decorations, and don’t over pack.

Pinterest packing lists and decoration ideas are great, but remember that everything you carry up to your dorm room at the beginning of the year has to come back down — and then some.

Throughout the year, you’ll accumulate a lot of stuff, and you’ll wonder how it all got there. It happens to everyone — don’t worry. Start with a small amount of things so as the year progresses you’ll have space available to put stuff.

Some of those packing lists are too extensive. Unless you’re running a business from your dorm room, you’re not going to need that Vera Bradley desk organizing set. Go without it. You’ll save money and space. Check out this Harding packing list:

Use the GAC gym, and don’t buy a gym membership off campus.

Off-campus gym memberships are expensive! The average gym membership cost is $40 a month. That’s $40 you could spend on a day trip to Memphis or on a concert ticket.

With the expansion of the Ganus Athletic Complex, there is no need to go off-campus for your daily workout. Stay on campus, and save yourself $40.

Don’t forget about the little things.

Check out of the dorm, and check in with your parents.

“Checkout if you are going home for the weekend. Call your parents once a week. And love every minute.” -Susan Leibovich, Harding parent

“Call or write home at least once a week. Your parents want to know the little silly everyday things that are going on.” -Deanna Brooks (’66)

“Find friends that match your ambition and academic goals. Find friends that love the Lord and want to make him known.” -Charles Pappas (’97)

Don’t forget to have fun.

So many people say their years at Harding are the best of their lives, and that’s so true. Have fun, and enjoy your time at Harding.

Kaleb Turner, public relations intern

  1. College Business’s avatar

    Hey Hannah,

    Great info about surviving freshman year. Over-packing happens to just about every college freshman. I don’t think I wore half the things I brought that year. It’s much easier to bring less and have your family ship more clothes to you if you need them.

    Thanks for the post,



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