Starting any new chapter in your life can be daunting, but first semester of college takes it to a whole new level. If you’re anything like me, as an incoming freshman you probably have at least a million questions and concerns! As you tackle the many tasks ahead of you, keep these pearls of wisdom in mind.
1. You Have 4 Years
Four years does go by quickly, but at the same time slowly. Think back to high school; by the end you felt like you’d been there for ages and couldn’t wait to get out, right? College will feel the same way in that once you graduate, it will feel like it’s flashed by, but while you’re there, you’ll have four long years to accomplish everything you want to do. Knowing this, you shouldn’t overwhelm yourself. Don’t spread yourself too thin trying to do everything Freshman year. Instead, add a little bit to your schedule each semester so you give yourself time to adjust.
2. No One is an Expert
Don’t be scared of venturing out of your comfort zone simply because you think you’re not good enough. Newsflash: You’re 18, no one is good enough! There may be a few geniuses here and there, but generally, college is a safe space to try new things, gracefully fail at a lot of things, and succeed in a few.
3. It’s the Best Time to Make Friends
You’ve probably had a pretty consistent friend group for the past four years, maybe even longer. And now you have to start from scratch! So make a goal for the first month, quarter, or semester (depending on how much of a social butterfly you are) to meet someone new every day! Some will be nothing more than a friendly face in the hallway, others will become your best friends for life! But you’ll never know if you don’t say hi.
4. Help is There, You Just Need to Ask
Your school has so many resources available to you around every corner! Advisors, RA’s, TA’s, professors, and more! Even though they go by different names and fill different niches, ultimately they share one thing in common: they want to help you! Never hesitate to ask the most appropriate source for help and your first year will go much more smoothly.
5. You’re Not a Full Adult Yet
On campus help isn’t the only help available to you. Even though you’ve moved out, you’re not a true “adult” yet. So don’t worry, you can still rely on your parents and other trusted adults when you need to. Anyone you need is just a phone call away!
6. Keep Your Priorities Straight
A skill you do need to develop as a half-adult is prioritizing. When you were younger and under the control of adults, this was usually done for you. But now the ball is in your court. You need to get your priorities straight! But… what exactly should your priorities be? As a basic outline, health is number one, so sleep, stay active, and talk about your problems to ensure you’re mentally and physically healthy. Grades come in second, and partying, even though it’s a fun and important part of college life, comes in last.
7. Life is Longer than You Think
Believe it or not, 22 isn’t old! You have your whole life ahead of you once you graduate. You don’t need to have it all figured out yet, so if that’s a source of stress for you, you can take a deep breath and forget about it! No matter what, you’ll end up changing your mind about something, whether it’s your major, your job, your plans for grad school, or anything else. Accept this and enjoy the moment!
I hope that you’re as excited for freshman year of college as I was! It’s going to have some rough patches, but overall, if you keep this advice in mind throughout the year, freshman year should be a really great journey for you! What other things should freshmen keep in mind their first semester of college?