If there’s one thing rising college freshman are sick of talking about, it’s college.
For these students, every conversation leading up to decision day has sounded like this:
Do you know where you’re applying?
What’d you get on your ACT?
Have you picked a major?
And every conversation after decision day has sounded something like this:
Do you have a roommate yet?
Are you going to join a frat?
When do you move in?
As a rising college freshman, it seems like college talk is the only kind of conversation you can have. And while you're probably sick of hearing everyone’s advice on how to tackle the next four years, take it in. Listening to advice shapes the way we live, so here’s my take on how to approach your freshman year of college, from someone who just went through it.
1. Branch out
You may have the advantage of entering college already knowing a classmate or two. That’s great, and it’s not uncommon to go to the same college as someone else in your graduating high school class. Befriending that person is definitely a good idea, since it'll be a nice crutch to lean on in the few first weeks of school, and it can help you feel a bit more at home. However, you shouldn’t cling to those you already know because you’ll limit yourself. College is about leaving your comfort zone, so son’t hide behind that person you already know. Put yourself out there and make yourself known.
2. Stop asking “Should I …?”
Asking for approval doesn't help anyone. If you want to do something, just do it. Don’t ask your friends if you should take that art class that caught your eye or if you should run for class president; just do it. Asking your friends for approval to move forward with something you want to do negatively affects you in two ways. Firstly, it delays the process of whatever you want to do. And secondly, it shows insecurity. Sign up for that club and take up that internship opportunity when you want to and because you want to; not because someone else said you should.
3. Live and let live
For many rising freshman, college will be the first time in your life that you’ll be exposed to a true variety of people. And it’s important to remember the innate complexity of every individual you meet. College is far different than the comfortable hometown high school you came from, and you won’t be surrounded by people who you know everything about. Remember to keep an open-mind. Everyone is in the same boat freshman year, so let people live and do their own thing. Being judgmental takes too much energy anyway.
4. Fall in love
By this, I don’t mean search high and low to find a significant other. You’ll most likely experience a great deal of disappointment if you spend your freshman year looking for a boyfriend or girlfriend. Open your mind to the fact that love doesn’t only exist in relationships. Fall in love with a book. Fall in love with a new song. Fall in love with a class that you’re taking or an awesome paper that you just wrote. Fall in love with your major. Fall in love with anything around you that makes you glow but most importantly, fall in love with yourself.
5. Take advantage
One thing every college has in common is that they are all resource hubs. Never again will you have such convenient access to so many people who want to help you succeed. So take advantage of this. Spend time at places like career services and the financial aid office. Additionally, your professors most likely worked in whatever field they are teaching about, so get to know them and build your own network. Your professors have connections and they want you to use them. Meet with alumni when you get the chance, and listen to how they got to where they are. Tuition is high these days, and you’re literally paying thousands of dollars for all these services. So use them and then use them again.
As you get ready to pack away your life as you know it, and move on to the most anticipated four years of your life, remember to take it all in. There’s no other time in your life quite like college. Enjoy it. Savor it. Love it.