When I was an incoming freshman last year, I had so many questions. "Where am I supposed to go?" "Where is the best place to make new friends?" "How do I get involved?" "What if I want to change my major later on?" etc. I've been in your shoes before and I for sure know what it feels like! It is totally normal to feel a little bit anxious or worried when entering college — it's common, but I strongly encourage you to focus on the many opportunities and possibilities that Bowling Green State University has to offer!
Here are 20 tips and words of advice for all incoming freshman for the 2019-20 school year.
1. Join a club or start a new one
It's always great to join something that you are interested in. If you were involved in sports, music, the arts, etc., in high school, it's definitely enjoyable to be able to continue your love for those things in college. Also, I recommend joining or starting a club to voice your beliefs — whether it be political or religious, someone will be eager to join.
2. Get out of your comfort zone
Don't be afraid to sit at any of the tables in the union near people you don't know, or sit next to someone new in each class. You never know who you can meet!
3. Make new friends
Whether you're a little bit shy, or the most outgoing individual, it's always great to meet new people and make new friends. Many of the people you will meet in college are bound to be lifelong friends as well!
4. Sit in the front of the classroom
I definitely recommend sitting in the front of the classroom for many reasons. First, you become more engaged with your peers, along with the class material. Secondly, I believe that the professors appreciate those who sit up front because they can see that those particular students are actively engaged and don't want to miss any material. By sitting in the back, students tend to miss something about the material either because they couldn't hear their professor that well, or possibly not being able to see everything on the board. They might not be as engaged either.
5. Avoid the junk food!!!
I WILL SAY, there is a lot of junk food at your fingertips here on campus!! Yes, totally pig out on Panda Express and Marco's when you want to of course, but It definitely feels great to frequently get something healthy, because you'll feel a lot better and more energetic.
6. Work on your time management skills
Being a college student involves taking a lot of time out of the day to get your work done. Especially if you are involved in extracurriculars or have a job. Each major has their different workloads, but I would certainly suggest that working on your time management skills as early as freshman year, will have its benefits! Think about what you would like to do that is fun that day or during the evening, and get all of your work done and out of the way. School is the number 1 priority and it's your job and responsibility to do the best that you can!
7. Get help when you need it
Don't hesitate to ask questions about things you are having trouble with. Always feel free to raise your hand in class, schedule an appointment with your professor during their office hours, ask a friend, or meet up with a tutor in the Jerome Library's Learning Commons that is offered on campus. If you feel as if you are struggling with the subject material, even just at the beginning of a new topic, as time goes on, more material will be added on. As a result, all of the information builds upon the previous content. Your professors and tutors are always welcoming and willing to help their students, especially when they are putting forth the effort to better their understanding.
8. Find a study space that works for you
It is so important to figure out what kind of learning environment is best for your success. Particularly, think about if a noisy kind of place helps you focus or if you really need to be in your dorm room in silence so that it's a little bit easier to comprehend the material. Sometimes noisy environments can really gear your thoughts in another direction, so my advice is to try a quiet environment so it's easier to hear yourself think. Although this works better for me, it's all about personal preference. I also suggest trying to discover the different kinds of study techniques that work best for you. This could include either handwriting notes and highlighting/color coding the material, typing the notes, making index cards, not taking notes at all, etc. Stick to what is most beneficial to you and what adds to your academic success.
9. Get in the habit of a daily routine
When sticking to a daily routine, I believe that this also helps with time management skills. You are used to what you need to do and get done at certain times while knowing where you need to be at what time. You will certainly find that having a routine is much less stressful than having a schedule that is all over the place.
10. Keep in contact with your advisor
It is necessary that you have a close relationship with your advisor. They will assist you in all of your class scheduling, and any questions that you may have in regards to your major, or if you enter as an undeclared major, the steps that you need to take to try and figure out what you might be interested in. Always feel free to send them an e-mail, walk in during their office hours, or during their walk-in hours. They are there to help!
11. Don't feel bad about entering as an undeclared major
Don't be afraid or worried if you are unsure about what you are interested in, or what you would like to do for your dream job. College definitely opens your eyes to the many possibilities for the future, and I guarantee you that you will find your place.
12. Take summer classes if needed
If you feel too overwhelmed, don't feel bad about narrowing down your schedule. There are always opportunities to complete classes during the summer. This is always a great way to also get ahead of the game if you don't want to be taking any kind of common core class during the school year after your freshman year.
13. Be an out-of-the-box thinker
Being in college definitely requires you to be a creative thinker. Try not to think so concrete! Consider other people's ideas and opinions.
14. If you're feeling stressed, take advantage of the rec on campus
The schoolwork can add up very quickly and it can be very easy to become overwhelmed. Take a break, and work out to clear your mind.
15. It is easy to fall behind, avoid procrastinating
I always suggest getting the most of your schoolwork done earlier in the week. I feel that this is a good strategy so then by the time the weekend arrives, you don't feel like you procrastinated all week and are cramming to get it done on the weekend.
16. Don't skip class
Although it can seem tempting, I highly discourage it. Of course, there will be times where you might wake up late one morning and you will think to yourself, "I'm not going to make it anyway, so I'm not gonna go." If you do this, I can assure you that you'll miss very key and critical class material that was discussed that day, and you can possibly feel behind the next time you walk into that class. I encourage you as an incoming freshman especially, to always attend and participate, as college is much different from high school, and there are many differences that you will have to adjust to.
17. Treat each day as a new opportunity, with many open doors
Think of each day as a way to form an even better understanding of the curriculum you are learning. Each day has so many possibilities and opportunities.
18. Figure out your sleep schedule
Take it from me. I am without a doubt a night owl, and no matter what I do, I just cannot force myself to go to bed early. Although this is unhealthy, I am somehow able to function, whereas others need to go to bed four hours earlier than I do. It all depends on what you feel works best for you.
On the other hand, it does feel very nice on rare occasions when I can get more sleep. I advise you to choose whatever kind of schedule works for you and stick to it, so you are able to focus on your schoolwork each day.
19. Don't give in to peer pressure
It has always been said that in general, if you don't feel comfortable doing something, then DON'T. Follow your gut!!!
20. Stand up for yourself
There are times in college where you are going to need to fight for what is right. I believe that it is very critical to stand up for your beliefs and values, as others WILL disagree and try to verbally attack you. There's no harm in voicing if you feel as if something isn't right.
BGSU is so excited to welcome you on campus. Congrats on becoming a Falcon, and enjoy this new and exciting journey!