8 Pieces of Advice for Incoming Freshmen
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8 Pieces of Advice for Incoming Freshmen

Buckle up for the next stage of your life

8 Pieces of Advice for Incoming Freshmen
NBC News

There are a lot of things I wish I'd known before I went to college.

That being said, most of those things I'd wished I had known were things I needed to learn on my own. Someone telling me wouldn't have had the same effect on me than if I had learned it the hard way. With my brother going into his freshmen year of college, I've been forced to reflect on my first year. I've been thinking back and trying to come up with tips and tricks I could give him to make the transition go smoother. As I began reflecting, I realized that my advice doesn't just work for my brother; it goes for every incoming freshman.

The Best/Hardest Years of Your Life.

If you ask any adult who went to college, some will say that those were some of the best years of their life. While I'm only just over halfway through my experience, I can confirm that these have been some of the best and some of the worst years of my life. I've met so many amazing people that will be in my life from this point on and I've also had moments of pure panic. My point is to embrace the great moments and push through the terrible ones. There is another day tomorrow and things will get better (or stay great). My advice is to just always be looking for the special moments you will never forget and be ready for something to go wrong. Live, through the hard and good times.

Get Involved.

College is so vastly different from high school, but one thing is for sure, there's plenty to keep you busy. When I thought of college as I grew up, I always thought it was class and parties. And while this is true for some people in some places, it isn't the case for more people than you would think. I go to a small private school, so most students on our campus are involved in tons of things, like sports, music, theatre, and Greek life. You name it, people are doing it. That being said, there are so many things you can get involved in. College is the place to find your niche and thrive. I encourage you to find a club or something you like to do and do it. Use these first years of freedom to figure out what you want to do and what you like to do. College campuses are the perfect place to figure that out, so use this opportunity to do just that.

Learn When to Back Off.

This kind of counters my previous piece of advice, but is necessary. While in high school, I did anything and everything. When I went away to college, I tried to do the same thing. I'd done it for years before, why couldn't I do it now? The answer was I couldn't. I bit off way more than I could chew and found myself struggling to keep track of everything. I couldn't give my all to certain activities because I was focusing on something else. Everything I was involved in was suffering. So I had to learn how to say no and when I hit my boundaries. I learned where my limits were and that it was perfectly okay to back off. I wasn't letting anyone down, I was helping myself and those around me. If you remember nothing from this article, remember this. It is okay to say no and to step back.

Friends and Connections Will Happen.

I think this is one of the biggest fears of incoming freshmen, I know it was one of mine. Before going to school, I had four really close friends I did everything with. I was terrified to go to school alone. What if I didn't make any friends? What if I was alone? I'm naturally a pretty quiet and awkward person, so I was terrified I wouldn't be able to make any friends. But I didn't have to worry. Once I got over my nervousness to talk, the whole world was mine. I didn't have to worry about making friends because they just happened. I didn't have to seek out friends; we just ended up together and became friends. And from those friends came other connections. What I'm trying to say is that unless you actively try to cut yourself off from literally everyone, you will make friends. Don't worry about it. It will happen and it will change your life.

Focus on Your Studies.

This seems like a no-brainer but is important to remember. College is meant to be a stepping stone from your youth to adulthood. Everyone around you is going through the same thing you are and you'll figure out how to navigate everything. But you are there to prepare yourself for the rest of your life, which is kind of daunting when months before you had to ask permission to go to the bathroom. Do all the fun things college has to offer and take advantage of opportunities when they come up, but remember why you're really there. You want to do well and learn while doing all the fun things that come with it. Just remember to do your homework/projects/papers/whatever it is you have to do, you'll be glad you did.

Get to Know Your Professors.

Because I go to a smaller school, it's easier for me to make connections with faculty, but it's important no matter where you go. These are the professors who will write you letters of recommendation when it comes time for grad school applications. These are the professionals in your field that you'll want to know and have as an endless stream of advice givers. They are teaching because they want to help; take advantage of that. Go to office hours. They are there for a reason. Need help on homework or a topic? Office hours. Want to pick their brain about jobs and what they do? Office hours. Want to develop a relationship that might help you get a job someday? Office hours. My advice is to get to know those teaching you; they know what they are doing and want to help. You won't be sorry you sought out advice/help/anything else.

Ask Questions.

Do not be afraid to ask questions. Whether it's in class, or in meetings, or any other situation where you are wondering if you should ask. Most of the time, others are wondering the same thing, they're just too afraid to ask. So don't be afraid and ask. If you don't understand something, raise your hand. If you don't think something is right, raise your hand. If you want to know more, ask. Do not be afraid to be wrong or look stupid. Just do it. You won't regret it. Ask upperclassmen if you need advice or have a question. Ask professors or faculty members or your RA or anyone, just don't be afraid.

Take Time to Discover Who You Really Are.

I know that when I went away to school, I became who I was always meant to be. It sounds cliche, but it's 100% true. Because I went through K-12 in the same building, it meant that all the kids I went to kindergarten with I graduated with. This means that whoever I was growing up was what everyone saw when they looked at me. I had a reputation long before I knew what that word meant. I started to break through that mold my last two years of high school, but I wasn't quite there yet. Once I went away to school, I could finally be me. I went away to college without knowing anyone who was already there and knowing no one who was going with me. I was free to just be me. Use these years in college to get away and find out who you are. Form your own opinions, make decisions, meet new people, and let your voice be heard. Figure out what you want in life, not what you're expected to do. Break molds. Destroy boundaries. Be you.

All of this advice comes from someone who wished she had had someone to tell her these things before she went to school. I am a first generation-college student who is the oldest of my siblings, so I didn't really have anyone to ask for advice from. I had to figure it out as I went. Which, don't get me wrong, I'm glad I did because I wouldn't have had as much to say as I do now. By having to figure it out on my own, I discovered so much about myself and mean every piece of advice I give from the bottom of my heart. I'm not here to hurt your chances, I'm here to help you. To give you advice to better prepare you. So if you chose to ignore my advice, fine, so be it. It's advice, you don't have to listen to it, but you will learn these things eventually. If you do decide to take my advice to heart. know that you still will have to figure out what they mean on your own. But you have this advice as a warning and a guide as you navigate your first year of college.

You are about to start a new stage of your life, so take advantage of every moment and opportunity. Enjoy your time in school and make memories and friends that will last a lifetime.

I wish you the best of luck. You got this.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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