Congrats, you got into college! But don't get too excited because the first year of college is pretty tough for everybody. Here are some tips/things you need to know that will make your four years (or more) just a bit easier.
1. It is totally OK to be undecided about your major or career choice
The truth is, most students change their majors at least once throughout their college career. With the help of different classes exposing you to the variety of subjects and careers, you will slowly discover what is right for you and what you are truly passionate about. So don't stress if you're super confused with what you want to do because it takes time to discover yourself and your interests. Plus, you are definitely not alone!
2. Do what you want, not what others expect of you
My parents convinced me I should be a doctor my whole life so when I chose Biology on a pre-med track as my major, no one was surprised. During my junior and senior year of high school, I developed a passion for U.S. History and government and I realized I had an interest in law. It took me an entire year of suffering through biology and chemistry lectures in college to confirm that science was definitely not my subject and that I should pursue what I really want, not what my parents want.
3. It is important to voice what bothers you
This is not just something you need to know for college, this is something that will help you for the rest of your life. In college (especially if you dorm) you will meet all types of people, some of which may not be the kindest and will take advantage of you. If a person does something that does not seem right to you or treats you in any demeaning way, you have to learn how to confront them. Allowing those little things to slide will open the gateway to more inappropriate and rude behavior with greater consequences for you!
4. Establish who your true friends are from early on
Throughout your four years of college, you will meet people who you will eventually become really close with. It is so important to know who is your true friend and who is just using you or is not truly there for you. My first year of college I was blessed to meet a few amazing people that I can call my best friends. Of course, there were people who I thought I could become close with, but it turned out they were just using me or they weren't loyal enough. I knew to distance myself from them within my first year because with fake friends comes negativity and unnecessary drama, which no one needs in their life, especially in college.
5. Keep a fixed schedule and learn to discipline yourself
Maybe procrastination worked in high school, but college does live up to its reputation in terms of academics. I cannot fully stress the importance of having a proper schedule and disciplining yourself. You need to be able to tell yourself when you should start studying for that midterm (no, two days before is not the answer.) You need to restrain yourself from going out to that super fun party a week before your final. You need to keep a journal with all those assignments and keep a note on your desk reminding you to eat in the midst of all that studying or go to the gym. All those skipped meals and cramming may have gotten you through high school, but it will definitely hold you back in college!
6. Sleep is extremely important
Yes, you need that full seven hours of sleep to be functioning with your best energy and attitude the next day. One or two all-nighters before a test might be alright, but any more than that is unhealthy and might not even get you that grade you wanted! However, getting ten hours of sleep then taking a couple naps between your classes is also unhealthy. You need to have a fixed sleep and wake-up time that your body gets used to in order to stay healthy and be able to pay attention to all those lectures!
7. You will have mental breakdowns... and it's totally normal
It happens to the best of us, especially freshman year of college. All those assignments, presentations, exams, and club meetings will overwhelm you and you might need to just scream into a pillow for five minutes. But you are not the only one; college can be tough and hard to handle, so don't be afraid to talk to someone about any issues you're having and maybe grab the nearest pillow and relieve some of that stress.
8. Taking breaks and having fun is necessary, too!
Despite everything I just mentioned, it is also essential to give yourself a mental break and let loose sometimes. The transition from high school to college is different for everybody, but usually, it's tough and overwhelming. So it's very important to cut yourself some slack and have a movie night with friends, read a book, or even just lay on the grass and close your eyes for a while. Also, when you're studying for major exams, it's necessary to take a short break every hour because there is such a thing as studying too much and trust me, your brain will thank you for it.