So, you’re about to enter your freshman year of college, and yes, everything is about to change. As intimidating as it may be, or rather, as intimidating as it is… welcome! You’re in the right place. Having just finished my freshman year, I’ve compiled a list of some tips and tricks that are guaranteed to help you hack your first year in your new home.
1. Be open to everyone.
Everyone you meet during your first few days is in exactly the same position you are! Everyone is looking to make friends, and numerous other students looking to mark down contenders will most likely approach you.
2. Get really good at reciting, “I’m ____________, I live in _____________, and I’m interested in ____________.”
This is your first-week-as-a-freshman conversation starter.
3. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
Don’t hesitate to shoot a text to one of your orientation buddies, for example, to make lunch plans. You may feel awkward, but both of you will probably be grateful for the company. This is a great way to build a stronger bond, too!
4. Don’t be afraid to brave dining spots alone.
You’re in college now; independence is a newfound treasure! Though intimidating, it is completely acceptable to go to the caf alone. In opposition to any preconceived notions high school may have placed in your brain, no one will be looking at you and whispering “what a loser”. In fact, you’ll find yourself surrounded by other diners who are also content with their own company.
5. Get ahead of the “Sunday Scaries”.
When Sunday rolls around, you’ll probably find yourself stressing about the busy week ahead of you. This will be the case even moreso if you leave the bulk of your work until the last minute. Start assignments as soon as they are assigned, even if you only do a little bit each day. Fight your procrastination before it starts. You’ll thank yourself when that due date rolls around.
Yes, you’ll be busy. Whether it is your academic life or your social life keeping your schedule packed (hint: a healthy mix of both, pls), don’t forget to take time for yourself and give your body the rest it needs! Sleep is essential to staying healthy, happy, and motivated, and if you aren’t getting those 6-8 hours every night… well, let’s just say your dining dollars (and heart rate) will certainly take the hit when you constantly find yourself with coffee in hand.
7. Fight Your FOMO.
College is full of fun, social opportunities, and yes, you will be tempted to join in on the fun. Every. Single. Time. Just remember where your priorities fall, and make sure you are keeping them where they should be. Keep in mind that you have a whole year full of fun weekends with your friends, and you really don’t need to go to every single party, concert, or whatever other plans may arise. The world will not end if you skip out on tonight’s party to finish your 25%-of-your-grade paper, and it also won’t end if you decline that brunch invite because you’re feeling under the weather. Life goes on.
Unlike high school, a good amount of college professors will not include grades for homework. What does this mean, exactly? Your grade rests on your exams, quizzes, and papers. Unlike high school again, college exams require hard work. You cannot roll up to your test without having studied and expect an A. You can’t just “wing it”. Study. No, seriously. Study. Your GPA will thank you for your cooperation.
9. When you need help, ask for it.
Whether you are struggling in a class or dealing with something personal, do not hesitate to get help. In terms of academics, professors love to see students take the initiative and reach out in order to achieve their desired grade.
This shows motivation and dedication to your studies. On another note, if you are going through something personal, don’t suffer in silence. Confide in someone you trust, whether it is a friend or trusted adult. There are services on campus specifically for this reason, and they are more than happy to help you in whatever way you need it. Explore your school’s resources and look into speaking with someone who can provide comfort and advice.
10. Have fun.
College can be stressful, emotionally taxing at times, and exhausting, but it is also one of the most exciting and fun experiences you’ll encounter. Make the most of your next four years. Freshman year will fly by and make you realize just how important it is to live in the moment.
Enjoy the ride :)