Surviving Your First Semester
Politics and Activism

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