There are so many articles that tell incoming freshman the "How To's" of surviving your freshman year of college. Preparing for a new home and lifestyle is a huge change, and it's good that we have people writing about to get through it and adapt.
Although these articles are great, I'm going to save you the time and tell you a key piece of advice that nobody told me: You need to join a club.
My freshman year I wasn't involved in anything (literally, truly, nothing). I went to my classes and then went right back to my dorm and did homework. And I repeated that process every day until the semester ended.
It was horrible.
I didn't want to join anything because I didn't see the need for doing so. And when I did go to a club meeting, I was bombarded with information that ended up stressing me out. How was I supposed to do club activities and schoolwork all at the same time without feeling like I was drowning in stress?
Whatever you do, don't let this happen to you. It may seem like a lot, but it's easier than you think. If you join a club that has a mission that you're passionate about, it won't even feel like work. It'll be a fun way to take your mind off of your studies and it will connect you to people who enjoy the same things that you do.
Joining a club is a great way to meet new people and I met some of my best friends through the clubs I'm involved in (believe it or not, you don't have to join a sorority or fraternity and pay hundreds of dollars to meet people--don't be fooled). And it's also a great way to begin learning and developing leadership skills. This may not seem important now, but believe me, when you sit down to write your resume, it's going to be important.
Clubs are also important to join for networking experiences and professional development that will ultimately end up developing you as a person and advance your skills in the given area. Whatever you learn in a club. like leadership or communication, will benefit you for a future career and shape you to be a better person.
But maybe these type of clubs aren't your thing. That's okay. There are a lot of clubs that you can join for fun, for instance, my school has an Adventure Club and even a Dungeons and Dragons club. Or maybe you are passionate about a sorority chapter's mission and want to join it, and that's also a great alternative.
The overarching point is that you're getting out of your dorm room and meeting new people.I hear people all the time say "I'm just not a club person." If the idea of going out and doing something new scares you, that's okay. But you can't let it hold you back and try new things.
When my sophomore year rolled around and I forced myself to go to a club meeting for the first time, I was an anxious mess. I didn't know anybody and I felt like I didn't fit in, but I soon found my place within that group dynamic and I am so happy I decided to stick it out.
If it weren't for my clubs and the people I met in it, my college experience would have been totally different and I wouldn't be the person I am today. Don't make the same mistake I did freshman year. The first thing you should do when you step onto campus this fall is sign up for a club--trust me, you won't regret it.