How can I survive my first year of college?

4 Dos And Don'ts For Adjusting To College Life​

Listen up.

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College is terrifying, at least if you're like me. In all honesty, I probably cried three times between my house and my dorm room. I was scared of moving away from my family, having to create a new routine, and making friends. Additionally, I was scared about all the rumors; freshman fifteen, the partying, everything. My nerves were shot. However, as I settled into my new schedule at school, I discovered that college should not be a nerve-wracking, but rather exciting time.

So, as my first year at university winds down, I decided to share some advice based on my personal experiences as well as some tips based upon what I wish I had done differently.

1. DO join clubs

I was lucky enough to know a decent amount of people from my home town so getting to know people was not my first concern. However, joining clubs early is super important because it helps you build new connections with people who have similar interests. I remember hearing that joining three clubs should be your goal during your first semester at university. Join one that is related to your major (or academics if you're unsure of your major), one that is related to community service and volunteering, and one for personal interest and for fun.

This will not only aid in building relationships, but it will help you professionally further down the road.

2. DON'T seclude yourself

I spent a lot of time in my dorm room first semester, just because that was where all my things from home are. However, I remember about a week in, I forced myself out of my comfort zone so that I could meet new people and not spend all day napping. I know it might be tempting to sleep after all of your classes, but make sure to spend some time outside your room.

3. DO utilize your resources

The gym, the library, the counseling center, and the tutoring center are all resources your tuition pays for. USE THEM!

4. DON'T go home in the first month

I realize that this may not be an issue for people going to school far away from home, but this was especially hard for me. I am extremely close to my family and moving away from them stressed me out. However, doing this helped me to gain independence and be more confident with on my own.

5. DO call your family every now and then

If you're anything like me, you'll call your family on a pretty much daily basis. However, if you're like others, you'll have a lot on your plate and you may forget to call. Check in with your family. They love you and want to hear from you.

6. DON'T overwhelm yourself

College is serious and classes should be your top priority as you are a full time student. However, this is the time where you have the most freedom and the least responsibility. Additionally, grades are not worth sacrificing your mental health over.

7. DO try to find balance

You know yourself and what your brain can handle. Make sure you have balance in your life and that you are taking care of yourself.

8. DON'T be afraid to fail

Failing doesn't have to mean literally failing classes. You might not perform as well as you are used to in classes or you might not get a leadership position in a club that you really wanted. Don't let occurrences like these discourage you. Let them encourage you to do better and serve as a point for growth.

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Stop Discourging Future Teachers

One day, you'll be thankful for us.
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“What do you want to be when you grow up?" It seems like this is the question we heard from the time we were able to talk. Our answers started out as whatever movie or action figure was popular that year. I personally was going to be Cinderella and shoot spider webs out of my wrists at the same time. The next phase was spent choosing something that we read about in a book or saw in movies. We were aspiring to be actors, skydivers, and astronauts.

After we realized NASA may not necessarily be interested in every eager 10-year-old, we went through the unknown stage. This chapter of life can last a year or for some, forever. I personally did not have a long “unknown" stage. I knew I was going to be a teacher, more specifically I knew I wanted to do elementary or special education. I come from a family of educators, so it was no surprise that at all the Thanksgiving and Christmas functions I had actually figured it out. The excitement of knowing what to do with the rest of my life quickly grew and then began to dwindle just as fast.

“Why?"

"Well, looks like you'll be broke all your life."

“That's a lot of paperwork."

“If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't choose this."

These are just a few replies I have received. The unfortunate part is that many of those responses were from teachers themselves. I get it, you want to warn and prepare us for the road we are about to go down. I understand the stress it can take because I have been around it. The countless hours of grading, preparing, shopping for the classroom, etc. all takes time. I can understand how it would get tiresome and seem redundant. The feeling a teacher has when the principal schedules yet another faculty meeting to talk an hour on what could've been stated in an email… the frustration they experience when a few students seem uncontrollable… the days they feel inadequate and unseen… the sadness they feel when they realize the student with no supplies comes from a broken home… I think it is safe to say that most teachers are some of the toughest, most compassionate and hardworking people in this world.

Someone has to be brave enough to sacrifice their time with their families to spend time with yours. They have to be willing to provide for the kids that go without and have a passion to spread knowledge to those who will one day be leading this country. This is the reason I encourage others to stop telling us not to go for it.

Stop saying we won't make money because we know. Stop saying we will regret it, because if we are making a difference, then we won't. Stop telling us we are wasting our time, when one day we will be touching hearts.

Tell us to be great, and then wish us good luck. Tell us that our passion to help and guide kids will not go unnoticed. Tell us that we are bold for trying, but do not tell us to change our minds.

Teachers light the path for doctors, police officers, firefighters, politicians, nurses, etc. Teachers are pillars of society. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we seek to change a life or two, so encourage us or sit back and watch us go for it anyways.

Cover Image Credit: Kathryn Huffman

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14 Honest College Things The Class Of 2023 Needs To Know ~Before~ Fall Semester

Sit down, be humble.

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To The Class of 2023,

Before you start your college career, please know:

1. Nobody...and I mean nobody gives a shit about your AP Calculus scores.

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" I got a 5 in Calc AB AND BC, a 5 in AP Literature, awh but I only got a 4 in AP Chem"

2. THE SAME GOES FOR YOUR SAT/ACT SCORES + nobody will know what you're talking about because they changed the test like 10 times since.

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3. College 8 AMs are not the same as your 0 period orchestra class in 12th grade.

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4. You're going to get rejected from a lot of clubs and that does not make you a failure.

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5. If you do get into your clubs, make sure not to overwhelm or overcommit yourself.

visual representation of what it looks like when you join too many clubs

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6. It's OK to realize that you don't want to be pre-med or you want to change majors.

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7. There will ALWAYS ALWAYS be someone who's doing better than you at something but that doesn't mean you're behind.

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8. "I'm a freshman but sophomore standin-" No, you don't have to clarify that, you'll sound like an asshole.

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9. You may get your first ever B-, C+ or even D OR EVEN A W in your life. College is meant to teach you how to cope with failure.

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10. Go beyond your comfort zone. Join a theatre club if you're afraid of public speaking. Join an animal rescue club if you're afraid of animals. College is learning more about yourself.

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11. Scholarships do exist. APPLY APPLY APPLY.

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12. Don't try to brag about all the stuff you did in high school, you'll just sound like a weenie hut jr. scout

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13. Understand and be sensitive to the fact that everybody around you has a different experience and story of getting to university.

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14. You're going to be exposed to people with different opinions and views, don't fight them. Instead, try to explain your perspective and listen to their reasoning as well.

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