To College Freshmen At The End Of Their First Semester
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To College Freshmen At The End Of Their First Semester

One down, what seems like a million to go.

To College Freshmen At The End Of Their First Semester
The Cengage Learning Blog

Given that I'm one semester away from graduating college, I've been all kinds of retrospective and sentimental lately. There's so much I still want to do here, but not nearly enough time to do it. I've reached the point where I have to be at peace with what I've done and accept whatever else is left to do. As much as I hate to acknowledge it sometimes, my college experience is seriously close to being over. It makes me think back to how I felt after finishing my very first semester of college, now that I'm coming up on my very last.

The main things I felt when I came home for Christmas break my freshman year were exhaustion, relief, and...a little disappointment. My first semester had gone so fast. I was very excited to go home and sleep in for a whole month and see my family, but I was sad to leave my new friends, leave the independence, and leave the weird, anything-goes-on-a-Friday-night environment. College was unpredictable and exciting--something my life had really never been before it.

Finishing my first semester of college made me realize that I shouldn't take anything for granted. (And, spoiler alert, being very close to graduation really makes you realize you should never take anything for granted.) So, if you're a freshman who's gearing up for the home stretch to Christmas break, here is my advice to you.

Know that the stress is a natural part of the experience and that it won't last forever. Don't let it overwhelm you by thinking it does. Do your best to find balance in your day-to-day life, but remember it won't look the same for everyone. Sometimes you need to procrastinate on homework to grab pizza with your friends while your roommate pulls an 11-hour bender in the library. Sometimes, you'll be the one knee-deep in a 10-page essay at 1:30 AM while they got to go to bed early. No day is the same in college; take that as a blessing, not a curse, and a crash course in real life.

Reach out to your professors. They're not just there to talk at you nonstop during 50-minute lectures or give you a grade on a paper that you think was too harsh. Your professors have valuable insight and life experience. Build relationships with them. Not only can it make your academic experience smoother, but it can help you down the road, too. So stop into their office hours in the next couple of weeks. Touch base with them about final papers, projects, and exams. Ask them for their advice on time and stress management; you'll be surprised what you can learn out of the classroom from them.

Finally, don't take everything to heart. If this semester didn't go exactly the way you wanted it to, just close it up and look forward. Maintain your momentum, enjoy the holidays, and take a deep breath. You've got many, many more semesters here. Make the most out of them.

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