The Realistic College Summer Diet
College Life |  Source: L. Smith, Shutterstock

The Realistic College Summer Diet

For the fresher you.

When I returned from nine months of eating pasta, pizza, gelato and cannolis on the daily, I wound up donating nearly all my shorts and pants, because they wouldn't fit over my butt.

Shocker. 'Freshman fifteen?' More like 'Florence fifty.'

While I was away, I wasn't happy with my appearance (who ever really is?), but I was not going to sacrifice the tantalizing European cuisine. I told myself I would enjoy the food while I could and return to a healthy exercise and eating plan when States-bound.

I researched diets on Pinterest and wrote out strict workout schedules to help me drop some of the weight I inevitably gained. VS Model Bod, here I come was my mentality.

I've been home for just over a month now, and I have miraculously lost 15 pounds within that short time frame. However, it didn't happen the way I anticipated it to. I didn't pay any attention to the diets or workout routines I picked.

Instead, I found my own diet: trying not to eat anything that comes out of a plastic bag in addition to exercising when I can.

I'd call this diet "The Realistic College Summer Diet."

Eating food that doesn't come out of a plastic bag (a habit I picked up in Italy due to their presence of munchies at the smaller grocery stores) is not as hard as one might think. It involves indulging in lots of fresh fruits and vegetables which replaces Cheezits, Lays and Goldfish. Avoiding preservatives has become a priority, and the results have me feeling much better about myself and my diet.

I also haven't been eating as much red meat. I gravitate more towards fish, chicken, pork, beans and nuts to get my protein fix. In addition, I stray away from the sodas and juices, sticking mainly to water, tea and coffee.

As for the exercise, it really comes down to timing.

I work eight hours per day five days a week. Sometimes I don't have the energy at the end of the day to work out, and sometimes the weather just doesn't cooperate. If you miss a day, don't stress out. Yes, you should always try to find time to exercise throughout the day, but obsessing over a tight workout schedule isn't going to make you any more fit.

Most people have their own views on how to be a healthy eater or maintaining a 'balanced diet.' Some work better for others. But if you're looking to try a new style of eating this summer, try this one. It's very easy to follow, and you don't have to think much about it.

Your local farmers' market will be your new go-to. It's nearly impossible to stay away from some sweets, so don't be too hard on yourself. An ice cream cone, a Sex on the Beach or a chocolate bar once in awhile isn't going to kill you.

Try eating as fresh as you can and keeping a positive attitude. You'd be surprised how far it'll get you.

Here are some food ideas to get you started:

Salads: there's a plethora of combinations with vegetables, cheeses, protein, dressings, etc.
Snacks: carrots, dried fruit, nuts, celery with peanut butter, baked apples with cinnamon.
Yogurt parfaits: fresh fruit, granola, Greek yogurt, honey.
Toast: avocado on toasted bread from the farmers' market with a sunny side egg on top? A layer of peanut butter topped with sliced bananas and raisins on toast? Hellz yes!
Smoothies: what's in your green machine?
Dinners: roasted vegetables with garlic, rice or couscous and grilled salmon.

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College Life |  Source: L. Smith, Shutterstock

5 Healthy Munchies Stoners Will Love

...or anyone, really.

Summer is all about finding the perfect way to relax, right? Right. If you're like me, then you like to spend your days sitting outside with a freshly rolled J, playing some classic rock and soaking up the glorious sun. Sounds perfect, doesn't it? Almost.

There's a lot of pressure surrounding summer and maintaining that "Instagram perfect" bod, which can be difficult if you're constantly craving a sweet or salty snack to satisfy that Mary Jane-induced craving.

Instead of bingeing out on that processed gunk, try these easy and inexpensive snacks to satisfy every stoner's hunger pains without ruining your diet:

1. If you're in the mood for something salty...
Pop a bag of popcorn and settle in to watch any summer stoner classic, including Pineapple Express or Half Baked. You can also put some popcorn in a Ziploc baggie and take it on the go if you're feeling adventurous.

Try Quinn butter and sea salt popcorn. It's GMO free and only 80 calories per serving! Count me in.

Sold at Target or find a store near you at their website.

2. If you're in the mood for something sweet...
Make your own fruity popsicle! There's no better way to beat the heat (and satisfy that cotton mouth) like a little fresh and frozen goodness. Making your own popsicles is easy, cost-effective and you can cut down on artificial sugars so you can be munching guilt-free under the sun!

If you don't have a popsicle mold, don't totally stress out. Stoners are notorious for creating the dopest makeshift tools when necessary. Grab some paper cups and Popsicle sticks and you're ready to get started!

Try this recipe for some awesome, and easy, strawberry pops.

3. If you're in the mood to bake while baked...
Who doesn't love to bake 'n cake? Smoking while baking is like rewarding yourself for being awesome. By the time you're sufficiently high, your treat is usually freshly made and ready to be munched. The problem, however, is regulating just how much you devour.

Try this recipe for a single serving of baked gooey goodness (and get this--it's only 100 calories! Um, yes please).

4. If you're in the mood for savory...
Ahhh yes, that perfect pre-dinner smoke sesh gets you totally stoked for food. But, if you don't plan ahead, you could end up snacking on every random thing in your fridge. Try this easy nachos-in-a-mug dish that will leave your taste buds completely satisfied, because who doesn't love a little marijuana-induced cheese and chip action?

Try this recipe, with or without meat, to make your taste buds celebrate (plus, everything is cuter in a mug).

5. If you just want something random, because let's face it, you're high right now...
Dark chocolate covered potato chips. Yep, you heard that right. This twist on the classic chocolate-covered pretzel will satisfy both your sweet AND salty cravings all at the same time. Plus, it's easy to take on the go, so you can share with friends during a sunset smoke sesh.

Here's my own recipe adapted from various others.

What you'll need:

1 bar Alter Eco Dark Blackout Organic Chocolate (Or desired dark chocolate)

1 bag of Lay's Oven-baked Potato Crisps

Medium sized bowl (microwaveable)

Baking sheet with parchment paper

  • If it's just for you, melt half of the chocolate bar in a medium-sized bowl (if you're sharing, melt the whole thing).
  • Once melted, dip half of the chip into the melted chocolate and place on the baking sheet
  • Repeat this with 10 chips for single serving or as many as desired for a group.
  • Let the chips sit until they are dry, or, if you're really eager, throw them in the fridge to speed up the process.

Now, you can get stoned and snack without a guilty conscience. Get blazed and eat your heart out buds!

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College Life |  Source: L. Smith, Shutterstock

3 Fitness IG Accounts That ACTUALLY Teach You About Fitness

#fitspo #fitness #fitchicks #instafit #bootygains

The "fitness" industry has taken Instagram by storm... and has unfortunately become swamped with athletes posting pictures of their butts, displaying a conveniently placed supplement product in the background and repeatedly telling you to use their 15 percent discount code when buying said supplement.

Because that's obviously related to a picture of their butt. #fitness

With the rise of one sport, bodybuilding, there are also millions of competitors out there documenting extreme lifestyles, diets and competition preps on their accounts. Their extremely lean bodies are built for the stage, and their lifestyles are great for bodybuilding competitions, but are NOT maintainable for everyday life.

Filtering out the fitspos can be tough, but there are certain athletes, coaches and experts with accounts that are dedicated to actually providing you with beneficial, science-backed information that you, a normal college human, will legitimately be able to implement into your lifestyle. Here are three great ones.

1. Sohee Lee, BA, CSCS, CSN (@soheefit)
Sohee Lee's page is dedicated to providing you fitness content for lifelong results. She posts a TON of informational content, workouts (that aren't batsh*t crazy), maintainable diet information, exercise tutorials... this chick also backs everything up with science and recently spoke at the International Society of Sports Nutrition conference.

She's legit. And she's dedicated to helping you.

?How to Feel Good in Your Skin? Many of us have spent far too long feeling uncomfortable in our bodies and picking ourselves apart. ? Here are 6 ways to feel good in your skin: o ?Wear clothes that fit you NOW. Don't squeeze yourself into jeans and tops that are too small for you. Don't be afraid to go up a size or two and wear outfits that flatter your physique - and flaunt it! o ?Focus on what your body can do. Celebrate that you can walk up several flights of stairs or carry all the groceries into your home without extra help. Need help? No thanks, I've got this! ? o ?Stop comparing yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy - we all know this! Keep your eyes on yourself and focus on making improvements over time. o ?Stop apologizing for the way you look. No one is perfect. What are you sorry for? Embrace your flaws; they make you unique. o ?Spend time around supportive people. You should be with people who lift you up, not break you down. Surround yourself with those who believe in you. o ?Repeat daily self-affirmations. You give power to your thoughts, and you tend to believe what you tell yourself. "I am strong, kind, and intelligent." "I can do anything I set my mind to." o There are enough insecurities and negative self-talk in this world. Fewer put-downs; more love. ? #feelgoodinyourskin #loveyourself #eatliftthrive

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?Grams of Protein, Carbs, and Fats in 100 Calories of Different Foods? Arranged in order from most protein to least protein per 100 calories, here's a sampling of different foods and their macros. ?A quick glance at the chart will give you a pretty good idea of what the predominant macronutrient is for each item. ? o If you're looking for excellent sources of protein, the foods on the left side ? of the graph are examples that fit the bill. ?Those on the right side should by no means be avoided, but keep in mind that they also contain a decent amount of carbs and fats. Note in particular how much fat peanut butter has relative to protein (I bring this up because some people mistakenly believe that peanut butter is packed with protein). ? o All of the above foods have their place in a well-rounded, nutrient-dense diet... but not all are great sources of protein! ?? #protein #eatliftthrive

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Tried out a new gym today with @bradschoenfeldphd @bretcontreras1 @team_gorman @leslie_teamgorman. We were blown away by the facility. Gotta love that! Full body pull day for me. Stuck to higher reps of everything and tried out some machines as well. Stiff-legged deadlift 100lbs x 10, 100lbs x 10 Tall-kneeling 1-arm cable pull-in 30lbs x 15ea, 30lbs x 15ea DB back extension 45lbs x 15, 45lbs x 15 Machine mid row 45lbs x 15, 45lbs x 15? Glute kickback machine 50lbs x 15 EZ bar pause hip thrust 70lbs x 20 Band pull-apart 30, 30 The row machine was... fun! And felt surprisingly smooth ?Wasn't crazy about the glute machine; felt it in my quads too much - but was good to try anyway. Next week, I'll bump up to 3 working sets of exercises. Trying out a higher volume block this time and really enjoying it so far. ? #eatliftthrive

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2. Jordan Syatt (@syattfitness)
Syatt is a world record-holding powerlifter and wildly successful coach, and his bio informs us that he's a 27th-Degree Black Belt in Chugging Coffee. This guy provides a TON of comical infographics about everything from food information and maintainable fitness strategies to goal setting and strength.

He's also a Harry Potter fan... and completely hilarious. He's incredibly knowledgeable and responds to any and all questions that his 138K followers have. Check this dude out.

?HOW TO DO FITNESS RIGHT? - ?The scale is a fickle, prickly, devilishly manipulative little goblin. If you aren't careful it can control your emotions over seemingly insignificant things (like random numbers it spits in your face that could mean anything from you've gotta poop to you ate a bunch of salt). - ?The thing is...it doesn't have to control your emotions. It shouldn't. It's a stupid, stinky, hairy little goblin that doesn't know the difference between a toad and an owl and has no business dictating how you feel. - ?Doesn't matter if the scale goes up or down or left or right or smacks you in the face. The scale is a scale and the numbers it spits out should be used as a tool - not a definitive marker of progress. - ?See, I think people run into trouble when they associate their weight with how well they're doing. When they look at the numbers as a ? or ? depending on what direction they moved from the day prior. Logically you know you shouldn't think like this. But emotions aren't logical and it's easy to let them get the best of us. - ?Listen. I know it's easier said than done but I want you to actively and consciously try to disassociate your emotions from the scale. I'm not saying to toss it out altogether (though, you can if you want to). But what I am saying is to keep the numbers on the scale separate from your emotions regardless of whether they go up or down. Acknowledge them for what they are - numbers - and move on to focus on other, more important, markers of progress. - ?How you look in the mirror. How your clothes fit. And, especially, how you feel. Because that's the most important of all. You can be the lightest you've ever been but feel like poop. And, let's be honest, what's the point of that. - ?Focus on you. How you feel. How you perform. What makes you happy and healthy and how to do it consistently over and over again. Because once you can do that...you already won. - #health #healthyfood #healthyeating #fitness #fitspo #fitfam #fitspiration #iifym #ifitfitsyourmacros #flexibledieting #weightloss #weightlossfood #weightlossmotivation #fatlossmotivation #fatloss #mindset #nutritioncoach #alwaysoptimal #syattfitness

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?ACTIVATE YOUR GLUTES? - ?Most problems in this world can be solved by a cup coffee and/or a great tush. So I figure, I can't give everyone a hot a mug o'joe but I might ass well (see what I did there) toss some ideas out on how to build a hell of a tush. - ?Glute bridges and hip thrusts are great, but they don't hit your "side butt" very well which can keep your butt from getting as strong and defined as you might want. That's why I like these, Advanced Side Lying Clams. Because they force your butt to work in the "frontal plane" which lights the hell outa your glute medius (aka side butt) and hits your butt in a way most lifters neglect entirely. - ?You can do these anytime you want (warm-up, superset, cool down, rest day, etc). I prefer to do them as part of my warmup (2-3 sets of 5-8 per leg is plenty) and on rest days as well. Either way, several sets of 5-12 per leg is more than enough to strengthen the hell outa your bum while getting it more defined. Just remember, quality over quantity. I'd rather you do fewer reps with perfect form than more reps with "eh? form. Always. - ??I hope this helps and, as always, max any questions let know. - #butt #buttworkout #leg #legs #legday #lowerbody #lower #workout #workouttime #lifting #liftheavy #girlswholift #strengthcoach #fitness #fitfam #fitspo #fitspiratiom #fitness#alwaysoptimal #syattfitness

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3. Carter Good/Envision Being Thin (@cartergood)
If you want valuable fitness information, this guy's page is a goldmine. He posts infographics about any and everything related to sustainable fitness. Calorie comparisons. How to measure intake. How to spot fitness scams. How to track your progress. Just. Follow. Him.

Here's an excellent post by my good pal, @syattfitness. # Jordan and I have very similar views on fat loss nutrition--whole foods & patience are key. His description of the original post is spot on too... # FROM JORDAN: "When it comes to fat loss there is NOTHING you can buy -- no pill or powder or potion or doodad -- that will accelerate your fat loss more than the 4 things outlined in this post.?-??It's not sexy or fun or exciting or marketable because it's nice to *hope* there's a little known, powerful pill in the back corner of GNC that's going to burn the extra fat off your body once and for all...but, unfortunately, it doesn't exist.?-??Keeping in mind, if it did exist I would be all over it. If I could pay $99 for a bottle of fat burning pills you better believe I would. And as much as the supplement companies want us to believe there is a quicker, faster, easier way...there isn't. And the sooner we embrace that the sooner we can stop wasting money, time, and hope on useless supplements and start making real progress.?-??Fruits & Veggies >> I don't need to explain myself here. These are obviously important for fat loss and anyone who says otherwise (let's check comments section) is an ignoramus.?-??Fresh Protein >> A few posts back I explained the top 3 reasons why protein is king for fat loss. It keeps you full, helps build muscle, and has the highest thermic effect of all macronutrients. Go check that post for a detailed explanation.?-??Coffee >> because there's never a bad time for coffee. And it can, actually, blunt hunger and has a thermogenic effect.?-??Patience >> the most important of all...because you will NOT reach your goals in a week, month, or probably even a year. It takes a hell of a long time (and a metric ? ton of effort) to get where you want to be. So prepare for the long haul and get ready to enjoy the journey...because if you're just looking for the quick fix you're setting yourself up for failure." # Know someone who would benefit from this? Tag 'em Below! ??? # . . . #envisionbeingthin #weightloss #weightlossfood #weightlosstips #weightlosshelp #weightwatchers #weightlosscoach #weightlosscommunity #weightlosssupport

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Here's a template I use with myself and clients for crafting quick, easy, healthy & filling weight loss meals! ?? - I'm all for having flexibility with diet ???, but I ALSO value simplicity... - As you probably know, losing weight is all about calorie balance consistently being in a calorie deficit ??... - Heck, you could follow a diet consisting of chocolate cupcakes & Mountain Dew, and STILL lose weight if you take in few enough calories! - But just because you CAN do that, doesn't mean that you SHOULD ?... - You see, there are other pieces to the diet puzzle--such as food quality, macronutrient ratios, micronutrient density, fiber content, fullness factor, and enjoyment--which all play an important role in a successful fat loss nutrition plan. - That's why I like to keep things simple 80-90% of the time and use this meal template. The only things I change are the specific foods I use for Carbs, Protein, & Veggies ? - When I'm using this template, I know without a doubt I'm getting plenty of protein, fiber, and micronutrients--all of which keep me full, happy, and satisfied ?? - Start using this meal template and I guarantee you'll have a much easier time dropping fat ? & creating weight loss friendly meals ? - Know someone who would benefit from this post? Tag 'em below! ??? - . . . #envisionbeingthin #weightloss #weightlossfood #weightlosstips #weightlosshelp #weightwatchers #weightlosscoach #weightlosscommunity #weightlosssupport #weightlossinspiration #dietmotivation #weightlossjourney #diet #dieting #dietfood #dietplan #ifitfitsyourmacros #iifym #flexiblediet #flexibledieting #calories #caloriecounting #healthydiet #fit #fitspo #fitfood #fitnessfood #fatloss #losingweight #healthyhabits

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Honorable mentions: Alan Aragon (@thealanaragon), The Prehab Guys (@theprehabguys), Dr. Jacob Harden (@dr.jacob.harden), William Grazione (@wgrazifpapro)

This is not a comprehensive list, and there are a ton of people out there who dedicate their lives to delivering real fitness content. Don't be intimidated by the millions upon millions of flawless-looking athletes repping six different fitness brands. Just learn the real stuff, and find a lifestyle that works for you and your college life.

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Your Summer Italian "Aperitivo" Guide

Let's enjoy it all summer long.

Italians love food. Their motto in life consists of two things: "Piano, piano" (a 'slow' pace of life) and "Mangia, mangia!" (Eat, Eat!). One of my favorite aspects of Italian culture is "aperitivo".

Aperitivo is a genius combination of the two - pre-dinner drinks and finger foods to inspire a classic Italian meal. Often served with vino rosso, aperitivo is great for time surrounded by friends and family, and it usually takes place at Italian restaurants or wine bars between 6-8 PM. (Keep in mind that Italians tend to eat dinner later than most Americans do.)

Should you feel motivated to take up a foreign tradition, here's a college student guide to serving aperitivo the right way.

Cocktails
Aperitivo typically involves a cocktail (or two). The most popular aperitivo drink in Italy is called an Aperol spritz. If you like orange flavor, you will LOVE this drink. If not, give it a try with an open mind.

Liquor stores should sell Aperol (you can't miss it, because it's bright orange), so help yourself to a generous bottle. Tap into your bartending skills by adding Aperol (two shots worth) into a wine glass and topping it off with prosecco and soda water. If you want to get real fancy, add some green olives on a toothpick or some orange slices to garnish.

If you're not feeling the Aperol spritz, go for some other classic cocktails like a mojito, Pimm's cup, or Bellini. It would be considered a disgrace by many Italians to drink cheap, American beer during aperitivo, so I recommend upping the sophistication a notch.

Potato Chips
Potato chips (or patatine) are commonly enjoyed with cocktails at places that serve aperitivo. At one of my favorite library cafes, I could order an Aperol spritz and a bowl of potato chips for five euros.

The drink and crunchy, salty snack was enough to hold me over while I finished a paper before dinner. I didn't necessarily associate potato chips with Italian food culture, but I learned that Italians do cherish their chips (along with their French fries). If you're on a low budget, you can call it a day with a drink and crisps.

Finger Food
If you want to go all out, prepare a nice spread of finger foods to accompany your drinks and chips. You don't need to spend a lot of money, and you can make the food look very aesthetically pleasing (we're talking Insta worthy). Here are some ideas of Italian and American finger foods to get you thinking:

  • Carrots & celery with hummus/ranch
  • A cheese plate with cheeses and salami/prosciutto
  • Mozzarella sticks with marinara
  • Bruschetta (toasted bread topped with fresh tomatoes and herbs)
  • Caprese salad skewers (toothpicks holding cherry tomatoes, basil leaves, and mozzarella balls drizzled with olive oil and balsamic)
  • Mini pizza bites

Aperitivo is an excellent way to socialize this summer with good food, drinks, and company. We Americans should learn more about the Italian culture of drinking casually/socially instead of drinking to get wasted so we can brag to our friends about our wild college nights.

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Five Good Reasons to Quit Your Low Carb Diet

You'll be miserable, trust me.

There's a lot of buzz about carbohydrates these days. Back in the 2000's, people hated the word "fat" and every food in the grocery store was labeled "non-fat" or "low-fat". Now, people have turned their attention to the carb.

You see a lot of low carb diets, no carb diets, and some diets that allow you to cycle your carb throughout the week. There's a lot of studies on the subject, and I've done my fair share of research. Personally, I went low carb for three months and I went bat shit crazy. Here are seven reasons to keep carbs in your diet.

1. Low carb means high fat.
First of all, a low carb diet basically means lots of protein, and fats to help sustain you. Without carbs, your body has no energy source so it takes from your fat stores and uses that as energy. This is called ketosis. Doesn't it sound wonderful?

The problem you run into is that basically everything has carbs in it. Things that don't have carbs are either very high fat or highly processed (aka disgusting and terrible for your insides). Foods that are high in fat are naturally higher in calories as well. Yes, you get to eat tons of cheese on a low carb diet, but you can't eat your weight in dairy products and meat while expecting to slim down.

2. Low carb foods may be giving you acne.
If you don't know anything about the animal product industry then you won't know that the animals are given hormones to grow bigger, and fatter. When you eat a lot of meat, or dairy products you're also getting a side of IGF-1. This is a hormone that causes inflammation in humans and leads to a number of problems but one of the most common is bad skin.

3. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies cause ISSUES.
Low carb diets lack micronutrients. These are vital to your health and without them shit can go wrong. Without certain vitamins we are more susceptible to diseases like cancer, dementia, and osteoporosis.

Foods that are high in micros are veggies and fruits. Two things that usually don't pair well with a low carb diet. Vegetables and fruit are also the best way to get fiber, and antioxidants.

4. Being "high protein" can be a bad thing.
One pro to being low carb is the crazy amount of protein you'll get each day. Protein is extremely important for growth in your body even your hair and nails need protein to grow. The downside is if you're getting too much, it can lead to calcium deficiencies. You also should watch where your protein is coming from. Processed meat is high in protein but it's also among the list of level one carcinogens alongside tobacco, asbestos, and arsenic. Yum.

5. Low carb life is not sustainable.
You might have lost a couple pounds on your low carb diet, but think about how hectic your life is and think about how hard it will be to keep up with low carb for life. As I noted before, low carb messes with your hormones. You might get mood swings. You'll definitely be irritable due to the lack of carbs. You'll be disappointed when you don't lose any weight. Being on a low carb diet sucks. As soon as you ditch it, you'll be happier and healthier.

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College Life | 

A Letter to My Freshman Self

Don't spend all your money on food. Seriously.

Now that I've been in college for about three years, looking back there's more than a few things that I wish I would have been told as a freshmen to make the most out of my college experience.

Syllabuses are important. Back in high school, a syllabus was as disposable as last week's lunch that you found in your locker. College is a different story. The syllabus holds all the most important info such as test dates, due dates, and attendance policies that you will need to know for the entire semester. Your professor isn't going to remind you over and over again like your teachers did in high school.

YOU HAVE TO STUDY. This may seem like a given but you'd be surprised. Freshmen have just spent the previous year with senioritis, and studying for tests was unheard of. High school was also a lot easier so it was possible to not study and still do well, but college will bite you in the ass with that attitude.

Join a club/activity. This is not only good for your resume but a great way to make friends when just starting out at a new school. If you don't get along with anyone in your dorm, an extracurricular is the perfect way to meet new people.

Don't spend all your money on food. You have a meal plan, make use of it! If you keep going out to eat, even weekly breakfast trips to IHOP, it adds up and you'll end up going broke.

Branch out. Maybe you go to college with multiple friends from high school. There's nothing wrong with remaining friends or even good friends with them, but don't let this hold you back from meeting other people.

Don't freak out about not knowing your major. Plenty of people go into college undecided, and there's nothing wrong with that. It may seem like there's a lot of pressure to decide now, but after a semester or two of classes you'll figure it out! You can start freaking out if you still don't know when you're a junior.

Party with caution. College is fun, and you're meant to be partying. But five nights a week might be a little overboard. If this doesn't effect your grades then by all means party on, but I know plenty of people whose GPAs were shit as freshmen for this exact reason.