Surviving Your First Semester In College Isn't Easy, But It's Doable, Here's How

Surviving Your First Semester In College Isn't Easy, But It's Doable, Here's How

A list of things I did (and some I didn't, but probably should have).

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Starting your first semester in college may seem like a daunting task, but it's not impossible! Here is a list of 10 things to do to make a smooth transition and get through your first semester.

1. Get organized

Staying on top of tasks may have been easy in high school, but managing your time in college can be a challenge. Being unorganized can work against you, especially when assignments start piling up and midterms/finals season approaches. I know it can be difficult, especially with this newfound freedom, but you'll thank yourself later by keeping a planner and to-do list.

2. Go to office hours

Office hours are the number one thing incoming freshman dread, but they're not as bad as they sound. Office hours can be extremely helpful, especially if you're in a large lecture hall class. It's a great resource to not only get to know the content better but your professor, as well. Don't be afraid to take advantage of this one-on-one time because it can help you excel in the class and beyond.

3. Make friends

No one can ever replace your friends back home, but being in college is the perfect opportunity to meet new people and expand your social circle. It doesn't take much to start a friendship. Keep in touch with the people you meet at orientation so you have someone to hang out with when the semester starts, or try to strike up a conversation with the person that you always sit next to in class. Forming new friendships in college makes the experience so much better.

4. Join clubs

Going to your school's involvement fair is one of the first big college events you'll attend. Join as many clubs as you can! You don't need to commit to each one, so don't be afraid to sign up. Anything you find interesting and would like to know more about, write your email down on that list. It's a great way to get involved on campus and find your hidden passion.

5. Study!

It's boring and hard to do, but it must be done. Just attending your lectures isn't enough, you need to put in that extra effort to get a good grade. Figure out what studying style works best for you, whether it's making flashcards, having a study group, or rewriting notes. Set a schedule and stick to it; designate days to study for each class and for how long. And no matter what, please don't cram — just don't do it.

6. Take breaks

All work and no play isn't the way to go. While you are at college to get an education, having fun and taking time for yourself is equally as important. Go to a sports game, go see a movie, or go to a party. Do something you enjoy that will break up your normal routine of classes and studying.

7. Self-care

Your physical and mental health is the most important thing. While I don't advise skipping classes, if you need to take a day off, do it. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and eating right. Working out may not be your thing, but a little bit of exercise a day is good. Cry if you need to and talk to someone (whether its a friend or a campus resource). Take a bath, light those scented candles, drink some tea, and throw on a face mask, because you deserve it.

8. Coffee (and lots of it!)

This is a given. Sometimes you need a little caffeine to get through a long day. Or if you're an addict like me, you need it to get through any day, period. Just make sure you don't drink too much!

9. Call home

Although I'm a commuter, I was barely home, so I called and texted my family often because I missed them. If you're dorming and from out of state, being homesick could hit you harder. Try and talk to your family and friends from back home once in a while because you'll always need that support group, and it's nice to get updates on what you've missed and what's changed.

10. Be you!

Lastly, don't forget to be yourself. Allow your new circumstances to change you for the better and not for the worse. Good luck, have fun, and be happy!

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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No, A Colored Student Did Not 'Steal Your Spot,' They Worked Hard To Get Here

I keep hearing this ignorant question of, "How come illegal immigrants can get scholarships, but I can't?"

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Real talk, this whole "they're stealing our resources!" thing has to stop.

It ranges from welfare to acceptance letters into prestigious universities. People (and by people, I'm referring to those who identify as white) have made the assumption that they are having their opportunities stolen by people of color. That's ridiculous.

I love my university. I love the people at my university. However, when I sit in a classroom and look around at my colleagues, the majority of them are white. Of course, there are some classes that are filled with more people of color, but for the most part, they're predominantly white. So, let's say that out of a classroom of 30 students, only 7 identify as people of color.

In what world can somebody make the argument that those 7 students are stealing the spot of a white student? I don't think people realize how hard those 7 students had to work just to be in the same spot as their white counterparts.

Let me use my experience: I am a Latina woman who is attending university on a full-ride scholarship. I don't always tell people about this, because I don't feel like being asked, "wow, what did you do to get that?!" A lot. I keep hearing this ignorant question of, "How come illegal immigrants can get scholarships, but I can't?"

First off, those "illegal immigrants" you're bashing, don't even qualify for financial aid. They don't qualify for most scholarships, actually. Second, have you considered that maybe, that "illegal immigrant" worked hard in and outside of school to earn their scholarship? I received my full-ride scholarship on the basis of my GPA, but also because I am a lower-class woman of color and was selected because I am disproportionately affected by poverty and access to a quality education.

So, this scholarship was literally created because there is an understanding that minorities don't have the same access to education as our white counterparts. It's not a handout though, I had to work hard to get the money that I have now. When white students get scholarships, it's not a handout but when you're Latina like me, apparently it is.

This way of viewing minorities and their education is damaging, and further discourages these people from receiving a quality education. We didn't steal anybody's spot, we had to work to get where we are, twice as hard as our white colleagues that are not discriminated against on a daily basis.

Instead of tearing down students of color because you didn't get a scholarship, why not criticize the American education system instead? It's not our fault tuition is $40k a year, and we have no reason to apologize for existing in a space that is predominantly white.

To students of color: you worked hard to get where you are, and I am proud of you. To white students: I'm proud of you too. We all worked hard to get to where we are now, let's lift each other up, not put each other down.

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