Whether you think so or not, almost everyone coming into a prestigious college (like the one I’m sure you’re going to) will have a very big ego come freshman year. After all, everyone just spent the summer riding on the high of their own accomplishments.

At big-name schools especially, everyone loves to remember the reasons why they got in (but not so much what they will do with the opportunity). This ego will put people off, since the things you brag about are the things your fellow college students can do in their sleep.

Freshman year is an even playing field. Even if you used to be the best high school debater in your state or won the county science fair, you all ended up in the same place, as equals. So don’t let your ego take over. Here are some tips to calm down, get your head back down to earth, and make the most out of your college experience.

RelatedLetting Go of High School Glory

Be a Listener

Even if you feel like you had a better high school GPA than the people around you, or you did more extracurriculars, or really anything that you think might make you better, you cannot deny that the people around you are different.

Rather than trying to dominate conversations or prove yourself, try to approach life from a new angle and see why they are so passionate and determined. Why are they here? Maybe if you listen, you’ll find out.

Compliment Others

Even if you think that their experience was insignificant, a compliment won’t hurt. After all, people generally aren’t fueled by compliments (those who are need to learn how to take constructive feedback) and it’s a great way to acknowledge others.

Related: 7 Ways to Raise Your Social Status

Talk About the Present and Future, Not the Past

Going into freshman year, most people are 18, plus or minus a year. Assuming the average person lives to be somewhere between 70 and 80, a college freshmen is barely hitting quarter-life. With so much left to go, there’s no point in talking about the past.

Even the most successful and famous people don’t have careers that short. If you think you’re the best, try to improve yourself so you can be the best for the longest time. Starring ceaselessly into the past never helped anyone (except Nick Carraway I suppose).

The Dropout Method

This idea is very simple. Just ask yourself, “Can I drop out for this?” whenever you want to brag. If the idea/project/accomplishment isn’t going to bag you millions of dollars instantly and you don’t feel comfortable dropping out of school to pursue it, then it’s nothing to brag about.

Ask Questions

A conversation doesn’t have to be all talk. After all, if there was only talk, then people are purely expressing their opinions, which usually leads to either an abrupt end due to a general lack of interest or drives the conversation to the point of controversy.

Take a step back and ask questions. Topical questions are good, the “why?” questions are better. Just be sure to not appear threatening or condescending when asking questions. Authentic curiosity is the best way to kill a big ego.


About the Author: Quinn Winters is a student at Case Western in Cleveland OH. He is a startup enthusiast and nerd at heart. When not doing marketing for InstaEDU, a company that provides online English tutoring to high school and college students, he can be found promoting mentorship or reading Supreme Court cases. He has a thing called a Twitter in case you wanted to follow.


Image: Merrimack College