College is a scary yet exciting experience. As graduating students leave their comforting high schools and enter the unknown, they come to realize that college will hold many wishes and worries. At Saint Martin's University, a small Catholic college in Lacey, Washington, I found myself nervous yet thrilled for my high school to college transition. However, as a current orientation leader at this same university, I have picked up on some important advice or tips that all incoming freshman should think about.
1. Please do not be afraid to branch out and meet new people.
The purpose of most college orientations is to meet new people and register for classes. I cannot stress enough that it is crucial to break out of your shell and meet new people. Everyone is nervous and worried about making new friends, but that's normal. You might meet some of your best friends in college, so keep an open mind about this!
2. Don't be afraid to actually enjoy your "icebreakers."
As dorky or embarrassing as it may seem, "icebreakers" are meant to help new students introduce themselves in an open and friendly environment. Even though it can be challenging to put yourself out there (especially if you're naturally introverted), try to enjoy these silly games, it makes the whole experience easier for you and your orientation leader. "Icebreakers" are fun, not weird!
3. Get involved. Get involved. Get involved.
Join clubs, intramural sports, debate teams, study groups, athletics, etc. The more you do in college gives you the most opportunities to make memories and friends. Yes, your education should come first, but when you find yourself having a few extra hours to relax, considering joining a club or another extracurricular activity.
4. Classes are expensive -- don't skip them.
Tuition is higher than ever, and even if you (the student) are not paying for your classes directly, someone is, so please don't skip class. You are literally paying to go to college, so go to class.
5. Take advantage of your resources.
Counseling centers, the registrar's office, admissions office, financial aid center, public safety, and more offer students the resources and information they need to be successful. These offices are there to help you if and when you need it, so do not hesitate to go on in!
6. College is all about balance, and balance takes time to discover.
Many incoming students question how they are going to balance classes, homework, sports, clubs, friends, sleep, relaxation time, etc. It is best to understand that no one finds this balance easy, so work your way through it, make a schedule and prioritize it in a way so you can have fun while still getting eight hours of sleep.
7. Don't forget about your family.
From personal experience, sometimes you just need to sit down and talk to your parents about what's going on in your new life. Friends and family want to hear about these new experiences and challenges, and talking to them about your worries can be relieving and rejuvenating.