By William Johnson
I loved the first year of college. It had it’s ups and down, but I enjoyed the ride. However, there are some things I wish I knew when I started and some mistakes I wish I hadn’t made. College should be a fun and eye opening experience for everyone involved. It comes with so much freedom that it takes awhile to get adjusted to not having to ask before going out. I don’t know how many times I almost said, “I’ll have to ask my mom”, when somebody asked me to hang out. There are some things to be remembered with this new freedom, however. Here are a few tips to help you survive freshman year.
1. Go to Class!
The most commonly used phrases by subject 101 professors on the first day of class is, “The reason most students fail my class is because attendance”. No, this doesn’t mean that every teacher has a strict attendance policy.In fact, most instructors could care less if you come to class, and that’s where students miss out. Go to every class if you can. There will be days when you just can’t make it. On those days, make sure to get a copy of the notes. You’ll have classes that you don’t have to go to every session, but don’t abuse them. Remember why you’re at college to begin with.
I can’t stress this enough. Studying is the most important thing you can do while at school, besides going to class. Studying doesn’t have to be boring, either. Make study groups with classmates and friends. Set goals for your study times. When I had study groups this year, we made sure to take a 5-15 minute break every hour. Study groups are great for people who can’t stare at a book for hours at a time. In this setting, students can talk about each subject until it’s understood by everybody. That being said, pick your study group partners wisely. Wasting hours of time is just as bad as not studying. Actually, it’s the same thing.
3. Eat smart/ Get out and do something!
Studies show that students either lose or gain fifteen pounds within the first year of college. Now that parents aren’t around to tell you how to eat or when to eat, managing a healthy schedule can be difficult. This is where the fabled “Freshman Fifteen” comes in. Most universities also have a dining hall of some sort. Often times, this is an open buffet sort of establishment. All-you-can-eat does not mean you should eat all you can eat. Try to keep a regular eating schedule that works for you. also, try to get out and get some exercise. Walk around campus, and explore the city or town. Most likely, your college or university has a fitness center open for student use. Use it. You’ll find that there is a lot of free time when you first get to college. Use some of that time to stay fit.
4.Respect your Roommate!
Roommates can be the best (and worst) part of your college experience. The first thing you should do is sit down and have a conversation about boundaries. Some people like to sing and listen to music obnoxiously loud in the shower, while others may yell in their sleep. Discuss these things before getting settled in. Roommate agreements are a good way to establish house rules. Set times for visitors to come over, and rules for those who spend the night. If your roommate is completely unbearable, talk to your Resident Assistant for help on how to solve the situation. If everything falls in your favor, your roommate can end up being your best friend.
5.Get involved/meet people!
Make an effort to have at least one friend in every class you have. A major part of college is meeting people and networking. Join a student organization, or hang out around campus. College is stepping stone to a better job and living completely on your own. A good thing about it is that you get to start over from high school. Use it to find yourself and grow out of your shell. Or if you don’t have one, make great friends and help them come out of theirs. As freshmen, you’re all in this boat together. Organize trips to the grocery store or movies with that one friend who has a car. Pull study groups together from your friends in class and out of class. Besides, you can’t get invited to that party you want to go to, or talk the guy/girl you saw in History if you don’t have any friends.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
As mentioned earlier, college is a stepping stone. This means it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for help during this trial period of your life. Whether it be from your new friends, or a call back home to your parents, learning to ask for help is key to surviving through the first year. Remember that your parents are there to help you when you need it. There’s no shame in calling Mom and Dad. If you don’t have a car during your freshman year for a number of reasons, asking a friend for a ride is something you’ll end up doing at least once or twice. Going to a professor’s office hours if you don’t fully grasp a concept or definition is encouraged. Even if you want to just talk about your grade or how the class is going, professors will encourage you to stop by.
This list isn’t definitive or limited to. It’s a guide to make the transition to college easier. If you have any questions, or comments, feel free to email me or leave a comment below. Think I left something out or was too vague? Leave it below and I’ll answer your question.