As a Freshman, you are brand new to the whole ball game called college. From academics and financial aid to internships, athletics, and everything in between, college can be the most influential adult years of your life. You start out fresh from the batch of high school graduates who decided to continue the journey through 8 AM classes, 10-page papers, all-nighters, and the medieval torture of midterms and finals. You start to learn that college is similar to high school, except you make up for the lack of in-class time by studying in bed at 2 AM, doing more homework, typing more papers, and adapting to an increased need for self-discipline and a dedicated responsibility.
Since you are adapting to your new surroundings, joining clubs, participating in student government, or performing an outstanding extracurricular to make friends and get a taste for the college life, more than likely you may not be working a job. If you are, it is usually a part-time on-campus position that is flexible with your class schedule. Keep in mind, your freshman year is the time you should enjoy college the most. Most of your classes will be required cores at the 100-level, giving you enough free time to partake in having a life...yes, a life outside of a book and a laptop screen. And with that life, please try your best to avoid that "Freshamn-15," which is nearly impossible because at one point almost every college student tries out the party life at least once in their college career.
As a Sophomore, you start to learn who you true friends are. You may have found where you belong. You are now situated into the game and are comfortable enough to point a freshman in the right direction. Like someone close to me once said, "Like in High School, your first two years of college you spend finding yourself; your last two years are spent creating yourself." At this stage, you can confide in your social group and any professors you may have gotten close enough to ask for advice. You become more aware that this isn't really a game anymore but rather a fight for life as you pass through the ever-challenging papers, exams, midterms, and finals. Your major seems more real than ever, as you begin to truly ponder for the answer to the question: "What do I want to be when I grow up?" Don't be afraid if you aren't sure, as you would be surprised to find out just how many people have no idea what they are doing with their lives; this happens to the best of us.
As a Junior, like me, you start to panic realizing you are half-way through college and this is where the going starts to get tough. The answer you were looking for starts to become a lot more clear as you continue your way through level 58948 of college papers, exams, midterms, and finals. You will begin to look for jobs, internships, student government positions, and anything to boost your resume and potentially your post-graduate applications if you have not already. You remember from freshman year that your professor told you to start thinking about your senior thesis. With school, work, extracurriculars, and your social life, you may start to feel as though you are slowly walking on a tight line holding a stack of textbooks as high as the empire state building while juggling eggs preventing them from cracking. Coffee is like water by this point and becomes necessary to survival.
One of the biggest struggles in college is balance! It is fun to have fun like you did in Freshman year. However, there comes a time when you need to grow up and take the fight more seriously. Since it is a fight for your life, there is a desperate chance you may win or lose. Try your best and prioritize. Prepare for the worst and expect nothing less than the best. With school, work, and social life eating up all your time like a pesky bug that freeloads in an NYC apartment, figure out which one is more important to you. This is the point where you will have to make sacrifices simply because there are only 24 hours in a day. My advice is this: by now, you should know how much time it takes for you to complete the challenge of the good ole papers, exams, midterms, and finals hell. Carve out how much time and when you plan to take care of this responsibility, as it should be number one on your list. Work comes next, whether it is a part-time job on/off-campus, an internship, a student government position, volunteering, or all at once. Lastly, so you do not go insane and you remember that you are only a young college student trying to be happy, healthy, and enjoy life while you embark upon your career, never forget that your friends and family always love you no matter what, your professors will always be happy to guide you on your journey and that you are the only one who can make all this happen. So just keep trying your best always and never give up. Your best is good enough!