The thought of going to college can bring up the mixed emotions of excitement and intimidation. University life teaches you not only about what you want to do but about who you are as well. You are about to embark on a journey that will create some of the best memories of your life. While college is as great as they say it is, there are a few things that you should and shouldn’t do to make your first year go as smoothly as possible.
1.If you have a free first week before classes don’t just stay in your dorm room
One of the many fears that arise when you enter your first year of college is that you won’t make any friends. Not to worry, you will definitely make friends, however, you can speed up the process by actually leaving your dorm room during that “free week.” It can be so tempting to become a hermit within the confines of your newly decorated dorm room, and watch Real Housewives all day without the pressures of school or socializing. However, I urge you to go outside. Look at the plan of events that your college is holding during the free week and go to as many as possible. Not only will you get to know your campus better before school starts, but you might also meet one of your best friends for life during the game night that’s in the quad next to your dorm.
2. Grades are important but so is your mental health
I’m not going to sugarcoat this. Finals week is no joke. You may hear screaming and crying in the distance as you walk to your 11 am. Just try to remember that it’s okay to take breaks for your mental health. Meditation can be a quick and easy break between hours of studying (see,https://collegecandy.com/2018/05/29/how-to-meditate-without-getting-bored/). Take some moments to stretch and try breaking up your study time into small increments. Try not to compare yourself to other people when it comes to studying habits either. What works for someone else may be too strenuous or laid back for your taste. Overall, make sure that you check in with yourself to prevent becoming burned out.
3. Keep up with a planner
Some colleges will give you an agenda book and you’ll feel the nostalgia of high school. However, many will not. College can feel like a whirlwind sometimes. It’s important to create a planner to not only stay on top of your work but your social life as well. A great tip is to write down all of the dates for your tests and quizzes as soon as possible. A planner will help you to prioritize attending your new friend Chase’s birthday party on Friday instead of your friend Sally’s movie night on Saturday because you have two essays due on Monday.
4. You will hear this 1000 times but try to get involved!
Getting involved in activities on campus will not only benefit your #careergoals but it will also introduce you to new people and new perspectives. One of the amazing ways to make new friends is by joining clubs and organizations that you are interested in. Within these clubs, you will find other people that are as fantastic as you and are passionate about the same things as you. Do you like hiking? There’s a club for that. Poetry slams? They’ve got a club for that too. Contemporary art club? A club for that! With all of these new clubs? Boom! New friends! Make sure not to overwhelm yourself with the number of organizations that you join, and rather join a comfortable amount that you feel you may be able to make a real impact in. Getting involved will not only look great on your resume for your future career but will also broaden your social avenues, as well as enlighten you on the things that you really care about.
5.Re-evaluate your long distance relationship
Okay okay, I get it you’re in love! However, do you find yourself ogling all of your hot new peers around you and wishing that you weren’t in a relationship? Is your girlfriend or boyfriend getting mad at you whenever you tell them that you’re going to your friend’s party on Friday after a long week of classes? This is not to say that a long distance relationship won’t work. There are many that do. However, evaluate whether a long distance relationship is holding you back or still allowing you to be your best self. If you feel trapped or held back from opportunities due to a relationship, then it might be time to step back and look at your priorities.
6. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.
There will be many instances throughout college in which you are forced to focus on the grand scheme of things. Really picture your future self. Are you willing to work 9-5 hours doing something that you hate? I urge you to devote time to discovering something that you are passionate about. In that regard, there can also be a lot of pressure to find your passion and it’s okay to not have one yet. Just make sure that you are figuring yourself out rather than comparing what you are doing to what someone else is. If you know that you hate math and science and everyone around you says that they’re majoring in bio, that does not mean that you need to suddenly re-evaluate your personality and priorities. Try following that secret interest in politics. Maybe take a look at urban planning since you love to play The Sims so much. Don’t let anyone else tell you that you should be majoring in such and such when the rest of your life is going to impact you and not them. The cheesy saying “follow your heart” can be strongly applied here.
7.LOOK AT RATE MY PROFESSOR BEFORE CHOOSING A CLASS
I cannot stress this enough. Your favorite subject can go from mind-blowingly amazing to dreadfully boring and tedious in a matter of seconds depending on your professor. Think about whether or not you are willing to crawl out of bed at 8am and listen to someone talk for an hour about everything but what’s going to be on the test on Friday. Yes, this happens. Pay close attention to the comments on the website Rate My Professor.com. The students that use the website don’t want you to make the same mistakes that they did. Also, feel free to leave a comment as to whether your professor was great or absolutely horrible. People will listen.
8. Take advantage of as many resources as you can
There will definitely be moments when you stare in awe at what your college has to offer. Who knew that they would have free rentable Nikon cameras in the library? Colleges are an oasis of opportunity. Not only do they have technological resources, but think of your human resources as well. Your history professor wrote a book about dinosaur bones and you’re studying archaeology? Your friend’s professor is a world-renowned translator and you’re studying computational linguistics? Don’t be afraid to ask a professor to discuss the topic that they are probably passionate about after class. There are so many resources that your university has to offer that can aid you in your journey to your dream career.
Overall try not to overwhelm yourself. Stay true to who you are and follow your curiosities. Sometimes you’re going to be pushed out of your comfort zone, and in those moments you will be revealed pieces of who you really are. College is going to be amazing, don’t worry! Keep in mind these eight tips as you wander into the rest of your life, and remember to check Rate My Professor.com.