- Don’t feel alone… You along with probably 25-30% of the students around you are experiencing the exact same thing you are… A new environment, not understanding where buildings are located… Trust me, you are not alone!
- Choosing a major is not life or death! Don’t feel like you have to join the masses in a big field, find what interests you! Do your research and understand what exactly your university offers.
- Keep your friends close! They really do become your second family.
- You might wake up and want to sleep but go to class. Seriously, going to class every day really matters when it comes down to work and exams, unless you’re truly sick.
- Do not procrastinate! I know, it’s easier said than done, but the joy of getting a syllabus at the beginning of the semester is that you can see exactly when your assignments are due, and you can begin working on them as soon as possible.
- Tutoring works best when you start early. Do not wait until the week before your exam or major assignment to try to understand a concept that was covered early in the class.
- When a professor posts office hours or says contact me any time, do it! By showing that you care to understand their course material adds to your performance in their class.
- If your campus has a bus system, LEARN IT! I promise, at one point or another, you will use it.
- Homesickness is real, like really real… and it’s normal! Call your momma 🙂
- Don’t doubt the decision you made for your college education. You will at some point, but I promise, if you ride it out, you will see in the end it was all worth it.
- The people you meet will mostly be acquaintances. When you meet your “real friends” you will know it. Those you get along well with and “click with” will end up being your best friends for life!
- 8ams are not for everyone. If it is the only time the course is offered, you just have to deal with an early wake-up call, but then again there are those rare morning people out there… (like me who prefers to have all their classes in the morning)
- Exercise is key! It is extremely important to your overall well-being, mentally and physically.
- Take LOTS of pictures!
- Sometimes all you really need is to be alone.
- Take your courses seriously, but remember that grades are not everything.
- NETWORK! Having those professors and older students to help you out over the next four years is so important to ensuring your success! (especially when it comes time for recommendations for grad school!!)
- Roommate agreements and choosing your roommate can really impact your first year… make sure you are with someone you can handle living with and that your habits are similar. Oh, and don’t be afraid to switch rooms if it’s not working out.
- Don’t rush into anything. Your first year is about finding who you are and where you fit in.
- Take the time to understand what it means when you take out student loans, and seek out scholarships if you can! This really matters after you graduate and realize how much debt you’re actually in.
Finally, take in every moment of every year at your university – it goes by SO quickly! There are so many things you can learn just from talking with upperclassmen. If you know someone at the university or you meet someone in your first week, ask them to sit down for a meal or even coffee and ask them about their experiences. We love to help out in any way that we can!
[A special thank you to fellow classmates and friends for their contributions to this post! Everyone has a different college experience and I wanted to make sure everyone who reads this can relate!]