Going away to college is kind of stressful. This was the first time in my life I was away from my parents for more than a week, away from my friends for more than a week, and away from my hometown for more than a week.
Now that I am finishing up my first year in college, I wanted to share some things that I have learned while away from home for the first time.
1. The first people you meet matter
The first day of Welcome Week here at Butler University, I remember walking into the room and being the first one there. I was extremely nervous that the experience would be awful and I would be friendless, but the two girls that sat next to me are still my closest friends to this day. I'll never forget that first day, bonding over Panic! at the Disco and Fall Out Boy. Without them, my first week would have been so lonely, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and meet new people.
2. Study way more than you did in high school
I know personally, I never needed to study much in high school, but college is totally different. Professors don’t make you show up to class or give you many resources to study. I was incredibly worried about my first sociology test last semester, but I studied for days and it paid off. You are paying to be here, so take advantage of the opportunity and work hard. Your first year GPA will thank you for it later.
3. Bring rainboots
This might sound stupid, but in high school, you likely never had to walk around a campus like you do now. I've learned from experience that wearing white converse in the rain is never a good look, so invest in some rainboots. They will last for a long time and save your feet in the ever changing weather.
4. Take classes that you actually want to take
I know this seems obvious, but so many of my friends feel stuck in majors they don’t like or classes with a hard teacher. Ask around and figure out what classes are good and which teachers are the best. Even if your classes are at inconvenient times, it is always better to take an 8 a.m. with a good teacher rather than a later class with the hardest teacher on campus. My schedule is all over the place, with extremely awkward gaps, but I've had so many amazing professors that I never would have had if I got to sleep in.
5. Along with classes, learn how to schedule them
In high school, we had guidance counselors to schedule everything for us and a basic guarantee of getting every class we wanted. Having to schedule my own classes was a huge wake-up call and has been super stressful. So many classes fill up, so I've learned that it is important to have lots of backup plans and to be prepared to not get what you want. Scheduling gets easier the older you get, so don’t fret too much with getting all of you required classes in your first year.
6. Don’t be afraid to take a break
Especially during a big test or during finals week, it can be easy to get so sucked into your work that you forget to have fun. Take a study break and watch a movie with your friends, or go off campus and get dinner at your favorite restaurant. Finding a balance is something I knew would take time. In high school, I never really needed to study much, so in college, I was unsure of how to find the perfect balance between having a social life and the grades I wanted. Thankfully, with time, I was able to figure it out have have a fantastic first year away at college.