This is dedicated to you, Class of 2022! From a college freshman—almost sophomore— to you, rising freshies, here's some advice for the start of your college experience.
1. It’s okay to not feel ready
I spent a lot of time worried about being on my own for the first time. How am I supposed to make adult decisions without my mom? I luckily stayed close to home, so I can go home whenever I need, but I found I don’t really need to. It was a very eye-opening and freeing feeling the first few weeks as I quickly became used to the concept that I can do anything on my own. I can rely on myself.
2. It’s okay to not know anyone, you will make friends
I was quite a shy person before college! Sometimes I still am! Being in a new place and knowing hardly anyone scared me. But, of course, I picked up some new friends and some social skills immediately. Turns out all you have to do is say “Hey!” Most people will do the rest for you.
3. Make a journal AND an agenda
This was a life changer for me. In high school, I never kept track of my work as far as planners go. Even with fewer classes, deadlines come as fast as they go. It’s absolutely necessary to keep working to-do list every week, this way you don’t leave anything out and you give yourself enough time to have everything done *on time*. Journals are also incredible for your well-being. Simply writing down what happened over the course of the day can be helpful. Of course, it's also a place to document your feelings which is super therapeutic.
4. Become involved
This is where I should take my own advice. I’ve noticed from people around me how important it is to be a part of something larger. It’s also a great way to make friends and connections. In the coming years, this is definitely something I’m going to do.
5. Talk to your neighbors
And most importantly, be friends with them. You want to be able to have that mutual respect for each other so there’s no 3 a.m. dance party happening next door with because they have some regard for your 8 a.m. the next morning. Plus, you will probably need something occasionally throughout your dorm living, so make a connection in case you spilled your Cheerios all over the floor and need a broom or something.
6. Dedicate your time to your work
This goes along with the agenda, not to mention good old responsibility. In high school, it was easy to procrastinate and still make a decent grade. Hell, I still manage to do that in college. However, with fewer classes comes a lot more free time. You have to be able to make the decision to declare certain times Study Time. That makes it easier for you in the long run and leaves you more time to do what you really want to do without having to think about that 7-page paper you left until the last minute.
7. You don’t have to go to parties
Parties are fun! I guess! If you’re into that kind of thing! By all means, I am not telling you not to go to parties. But, in such a party-centric culture, it can feel like you’re missing out on something if you don’t go out every weekend. That is totally not the case. As long as you’re doing what makes you happy, you aren’t truly missing out on anything. On the other hand, it is possible to party too much! I can't count how many freshmen I know who had to leave after their flunking their first semester due to partying. You just have to be mindful and find a balance.