9 Resolutions For College Freshmen
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Student Life

9 Resolutions I Wish I'd Made Before Freshman Year

6. Ask for help if you need it.

9 Resolutions I Wish I'd Made Before Freshman Year

If we made resolutions for new years of school—or new phases of life—like we do for New Year's, I could recommend a few to freshmen. Here are nine resolutions to live by in your first year of college.

1. Try something new.

Challenge yourself to try out as many clubs and organizations as possible. Keep in mind that most of them aren't expecting an ironclad commitment because you show up at an interest meeting, so it doesn't hurt to experiment.

Furthermore, sign up for classes outside your official area of study. Most students have more than enough time to complete their degree requirements in four years; give yourself the freedom to find your passions for a while instead of checking off major requirements immediately.

2. Take advantage of the opportunities you get just for being a college student.

Once you have a college email, you can get a lot of discounts, both from local businesses and from major companies like Spotify and Chick-Fil-A. Familiarize yourself with the possibilities, and then take advantage of them.

Even more importantly, your specific college will have opportunities for personal and professional development. Keep an eye on the research being done by professors, who often take on student assistants. Use your career center for help with resumes and interviews, and look into the alumni network for jobs, internships, and mentoring. Your tuition is often paying for more than you realize.

3. Find your balance.

College can be a shock to the system, if your system is accustomed to structure enforced by adults or schools. Suddenly, you can do virtually whatever you want, whenever you want. And college is busy even if you're good at time management—there's so much to do and try and turn in.

Faced with needs for school, socialization, and sleep, most of us sacrifice at least one. But with a little work, it's possible to juggle them all.

4. Maintain a connection with home. 

Whether your contact with the outside world happens by texts, phone calls, emails, or smoke signals, talk to your family and old friends as often as possible. Those relationships don't have to fade with time and distance if you're committed to maintaining them. And it is a commitment: It takes conscious effort to pause a busy day and pick up the phone.

But it's worth it. Those relationships will still be there, established and dependable, after your Welcome Week friends are strangers again.

5. Expect to be a little lost.

As much as upperclassmen enjoy mocking "typical freshman" behaviors, they know that part of being a first-year is not knowing how anything works. And it can be a really uncomfortable learning curve. Sometimes you can't even do the most fundamental parts of your day correctly. (For example: During my first semester, I was snapped at by security guards more than once for using the wrong doors.)

It isn't really avoidable. But it is normal. It is happening to every other freshman at every other college. Plus, the rest of us are only pretending to know what we're doing anyway.

6. Ask for help if you need it.

Whether you're struggling to find a building, pass a class, or improve your mental health, there's no shame in getting help.

Most colleges have some sort of orientation program during which you'll be exposed to upperclassmen; if not, you'll probably meet a few in clubs and classes. They've already been where you are, so they're a good resource for getting your questions answered.

Take note of when your professors hold office hours and come with questions. Professors dedicate time specifically to hold these one-on-one sessions, so you're never imposing on them. If you'd rather get peer help, check to see if your college has student tutors who have taken and passed the class in question and can give you guidance.

Finally, prioritize your mental health. Your school may offer counseling for students. If not, it can certainly point you to resources online and in the community. Asking for help is never easy, but it's always better than trying to shoulder the burden alone.

7. Help other people if you can.

However little you know, there's someone else who knows less. However much you're struggling to keep up, there's someone else who's further behind. You don't have to be an expert for your help to mean something.

8. Remember you're not the only one.

College can be disappointing, especially when you go in expecting the Hollywood version—exciting parties and lifelong best friends—and reality doesn't match up. It's easy to assume everyone else is living the movie version while you struggle.

What if you're the only one having trouble making friends? What if you're the only one struggling to keep up with your classes? What if you're the only one who feels homesick?

You're not the only one. You're never the only one.

9. Have fun.

Enjoy the little moments if you can't enjoy the big ones. Make your own fun if you aren't finding any. Celebrate any and all victories, no matter how small. Take every chance. Try every path.

Have as much fun as you can while you're still here.

That one's good life advice, too.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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