Dear College Freshmen,
As I sit here writing this I have two thoughts going through my mind: 1) how is the summer already over? and 2) how am I already a college junior? It seems like yesterday when I was in your shoes, frantically packing for the unknown and feeling nervous and excited all at once. Even though I am now two years farther down the road, I still remember what it feels like to be new to college, and how confusing it can be navigating the waters on your first week. As a seasoned college student, I’d like to give you a few tips to make your first week, and your whole year, a success.
My first piece of advice is to go to as many activities for new students as you can, and actually talk to someone while you’re there. Colleges usually have all sorts of fun events scheduled to help their new students. These events are great to attend because it gives you an opportunity to begin finding your way around campus and to meet some new people. There are always faculty members, staff, and both new and returning students at hand to talk to. And you shouldn’t hesitate to talk to someone; even just asking what his or her name is and where he or she is from could make you a new friend.
Secondly, I can’t stress enough the importance of going to the activity fair and getting involved on campus. Colleges always have activity fairs where new students can get information on various student groups that you have the opportunity to get involved in. It is by far the best way to find out what is available to you to do. My suggestion is to give your name to lots of groups, even if it only sounds mildly interesting, and then go to the first meeting. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to go back. Just make sure you’re involved with something during the year; you will meet more people and have something to put on your resume later on.
Third, you will find that your first week will be so much less stressful if you take the time to familiarize yourself with your schedule before your first day of class. I like to sit down and write out my schedule in a way that’s easy for me to understand. This way, I can be determining when my classes are and where I need to go to get to them. You can even walk to all of the buildings ahead of time so you know where they are and how long you will need to get there. I can guarantee that you will have much more confidence your first week if you know you’re not going to get lost.
Another thing you should definitely do is establish good habits early on. Get to class early and sit in the front seat, even if you hate it. Pay attention in class, take good notes, and introduce yourself to the professor so he or she knows who you are. Do your homework right away, start studying for tests as long in advance as possible, and don’t get into the habit of procrastinating; it will only get worse as the year goes on. Above all, ask questions and when you need help, get it as soon as you possibly can. College is difficult and it moves fast; you don’t want to be the person who doesn’t work hard the first half of the semester and then finds he can’t catch up at the end. Establish good habits and get the best grades you can at the beginning, and you will love yourself all the more come finals.
Finally, don’t forget to have fun! It’s true that college is stressful and busy and you have to work hard, but it’s also super fun. Go to the football games, check out that big event you hear everyone talking about, hang out with your friends, and enjoy this unique time in your life, because it’ll be over before you know it.
A College Junior