When you think of the term "college," many conclusions can come to mind. College can be your first sip of freedom to you or your time to be a legacy in your brother's fraternity or sister's sorority. It can be the time where you find out where you belong, or where you don't belong. It can be time you show everyone how intelligent you truly are. When I think of college, I think of all of these conclusions. College is the time that you find your identity and what you value. After finishing my first year at The University of Kentucky, I already found out so much about myself while still accomplishing the goals I set at the beginning of the year for myself, socially and academically. I valued my goals.

1. Treat your classes as your job

College is going to be distinct compared to any other school you have been to. It is not high school, middle school, or elementary. In most colleges, including the University of Kentucky, you are in charge of your own schedule. You pick your classes, those times that you take the classes each day, and the time you have between classes. When choosing the courses, keep in mind that these classes should be prioritized. Many students believe that if the class lecture is optional, then that means you don't have class — wrong. I would be lying if I said I did not skip a few lectures or slept in during a class. However, I would be lying if I said I did not regret it. What the professors say during lectures matters in the future almost always. One thing that helped me fight the urge to not skip class was to force myself to sit in front of the lectures when given the chance to chose my own seat. When doing this, the professors remember your face and know if you are not there or not. It also encourages me to not daydream during the lecture and to actually listen to what the professor is saying.

2. The social life is the college life

Yes, academics orbits around the idea of college. With that being said, you might want to know how to talk to people when you are in college. In every class I have been enrolled in my freshman year, I had to talk to the students around me as well as to the professors. From small group projects to public speaking, socializing helped me adapt to how to approach people more naturally. A good thing to remember is that everyone is in the same boat as you. You, along with all the other students around you, are on their own. Your parents do not share a dorm with you, meaning that everyone has the same fear as you to spread their wings on campus. By being the one that is more outgoing leads to others opening up and feeling a little less afraid to talk to everyone.

A good place to start is right in your classrooms. You and your classmates all have at least one thing in common: you are all in the same class, learning the same material. Talk to some of your classmates and ask if they want to study for the next exam with you. It is that small step that can lead to more similarities between you and your classmates than just having the same class together.

3. Take a breather

So, you get a poor grade on one of your midterms or papers for one of your classes. Instead of obsessing over the grade and beating yourself up, take the time to breathe and realize that college is not all that simple. This is a time where you can be with friends and express how you're feeling and gain some feedback from them. It can be a time where you sit down and ease your mind and focus on something that calms yourself.

Look up fun things to do around town or on campus. Many colleges, such as UK, have conventions that are free for students with numerous fun and relaxing things to do, such as playing with service dogs or having a free scoop or two of ice cream. Going to events that will help your mind relax will lead you to gather your thoughts and become more motivated and encouraged.

4. Be YOU

Your college campus is a community of people that holds all different types of personalities. College is not high school. This should no longer be the time where you strive to be the most popular in the halls or the one that is in the shadows of others. This is your time to shine and to show your colors. Can you imagine college as a place where everyone was the same? It would be so lifeless. Wear whatever makes you feel like yourself. Simply, be yourself.