Nothing is more terrifying than being immersed in a new environment and feeling unsure of what you’re doing. Most teenagers spend their entire lives in one town, seeing the same people every day, and knowing their surroundings like the back of their hand. As you move through life though, you’ll probably move out of your small town and the first year of college can seem overwhelming before it has even begun. There is nothing to worry about once you learn how to hack your freshman year. Whether you are beginning your college journey in the fall or are currently in your first year, here are the best fifteen tips to make freshman life a little easier.
Show Up to Class
It is incredibly easy to fall into the trap of not going to your 8am lecture because the professor does not count attendance in the grade scale. Even if professors do not keep physical track of your attendance, they do notice who doesn’t show up to class often. While it may start out as just an credit hour a week, it will surely turn into missing an entire day’s worth of classes as you have already given yourself an excuse.
Get to Know Your Professors and Courses
As mentioned before, professors take a mental note of which students are actively participating and engaged in their course. If your professor has office hours, it doesn’t hurt to introduce yourself and ask any questions you may have about the syllabus. In the long run, the professor will view you as someone who takes their course seriously, which will make it much easier to seek them out if you need additional help.
Get to Know People Who Live in Your Residence Hall
College dorms are equivalent to high school hallways. It will make your living situation ten times more enjoyable by getting to know those around you. Everyone is in the same boat, which makes freshman year a great time to reach out and make new relationships. Be sure to introduce yourself to your roommate upon arrival (if you haven’t met) and take the time to get to know one another. It could likely turn into a friendship for life.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
College is the time to experiment and discover new passions. Do not limit yourself just because you want to play it safe. Becoming a member of a sorority or fraternity such as Alpha Phi, Kappa Alpha Order, and Delta Gamma, can provide opportunities that you may not ever have otherwise. You can put these groups on your resume and there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a fellow member in sorority apparel walking around campus. There is a plethora of sports and activities to join on any campus that it will probably be difficult choosing from if your interests are a little more niche.
Discover Somewhere You Can Study
College courses are much more difficult than your average high school class. Unlike high school, a bunch of information is thrown at you in a short amount of time. And yes, you are supposed to retain it. Finding a place that is ideal for your studying needs will take away the wasted time spent procrastinating in random locations. Be sure to come up with a backup location if your first choice becomes crowded at certain times, or is not available 24/7.
Prioritize Assignments and Deadlines
Don’t be the student who tells professors that they didn’t know the assignment was due. Be prepared by reading the syllabus weekly and making sure school work is completed well in advance. Once you are on top of your work, continue to stay ahead by planning when you should begin on future assignments.
Healthy Body/Healthy Mind
While the freshman 15 may not be scientifically accurate or guaranteed, you are not helping yourself by eating solely ramen noodles and packaged foods. Try to go a more health-conscious route when choosing meals and snacks as that only improves your brain power. Even if you cannot get to the gym, continue to walk daily to keep your heart rate up and your body will thank.
Accept Help from Your Parents
Let your parents help you while moving into your dorm. If they want to send you a cheesy care package while you are away, let them. As much as you may feel homesick in the months to come, it’s going to be tough for your parents to let you go at first. Call them and let them know you miss them every so often.
Not All Relationships are Forever
As the newness of everything dulls down, you may find yourself rarely speaking to half the people you met in the first two weeks. This is totally okay. It’s likely within that time you will find friends who share similar interests and not even remember the name of the girl you occasionally spoke to in your hall. You may end up losing touch with someone you considered your best friend during your first semester. Worst of all, breakups may happen. Be sure to give yourself time to heal from those wounds.
Stay in Touch with Friends Back Home
Just because you don’t see your hometown friends often, does not mean you should ignore or forget about them. Since most of these friends are likely going through a similar experience at a different college, it may be helpful to seek their advice on anything going on in your life as they are outside of the direct situation. Most importantly, be there for them when they need you as well and follow through with plans made to spend time together once you are back home.
The first year of college is a completely different experience than what most people have gone through at that point in their life. That doesn’t mean it has to be unnecessarily stressful. Hold on to these tips to make freshman life a little easier so that you can follow through with the goals you set out to accomplish.
Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.