Before I made the journey to SUNY Binghamton to begin my career as a college student, I had all these images in my mind as to what the college experience would be like. I had built up this image of college for so long, that once I got there, everything I thought I knew was completely out the window. Freshman year at SUNY Binghamton is one of the biggest adjustments I have ever had to make in my life, being away from home for extended periods of time, and basically living separate lives away from all the people I know and love. From my experience as a freshman, here are the ten things I believe will help you adjust to your freshman year at SUNY Binghamton.
I know that personally, one of the biggest stressors during my freshman year at SUNY Binghamton was not knowing where anything was. The campus seemed big and confusing, and I could easily lose myself in one of the buildings. But I noticed that as time went on, and I started to become familiar with my surroundings, I was a lot more comfortable. From this I recommend exploring. Walk around and try to become familiar with the buildings on campus. A few days before classes, go and search for where your classrooms are going to be; this saves you from experiencing a lot of stress the day you start classes. Overall, just get to know your new home away from home.
2. Take fun classes.
There are always going to be those hard, annoying classes you need to take to fulfill requirements. But I suggest that each semester, you try to take at least one class that seems really interesting and fun to you. Having classes that you actually want to go to improves your general happiness immensely. And freshman year, usually you have the room in your schedule to be able to do that. Try to find something you really want to take, and if it fills up before you can register for it, wait to see if people drop it, or wait to take it in the future. It’ll help your mind to enjoy what you are doing, and maybe even help your GPA a bit.
3. Find a distraction.
Freshman year, you need to learn how to study, hands down. College is like a full time job that requires you to be at your best at all times. But at the same time, you need to learn to relax and have fun when you have time for it. Small distractions that take your mind away from stress are great to keep you at your best.
You can go for a hike or a run, or take a yoga class. Maybe watch Netflix with your friends, go bowling, or even just read a really good book. I found that just taking breaks from work by walking around and talking to different people always made my mood go up right away. Little bits of distraction are good to keep you sane when the work is piling up and you need to clear your head.
4. Don’t procrastinate.
I found that not procrastinating was one of the hardest things to do in college. Considering you have so much “free” time on your hands (time you should be using to actually study) it’s hard to not get caught up in doing nothing. Then all this work just comes at you at once, and you never thought it was possible to be so behind in work.
I find that setting up a schedule for doing work is always incredibly helpful, because you can visually see how much time you have to do an assignment, and then you can figure out what is a realistic amount of time for you to get something in. Start things early and just get them done; you’ll be thankful to have things done when your friends want to go hang out, or you get unexpectedly sick. Really, just do it.
5. Keep your room clean.
I am notorious for having a messy room. I can be super organized, but then one thing leads to another and everything in my room is just thrown everywhere, leaving me to feel chaotic and stressed. Having a messy room always made things way more difficult than they needed to be, and I found that when my room was newly cleaned, I always felt at peace and ready to tackle my assignments. Having a nice room that you can fully enjoy is great to come back to and just relax in when you need it. Bring some cleaning supplies with you to college, and do not over clutter the room. It will save you a lot of trouble later.
6. Get to know people.
To enjoy freshman year at SUNY Binghamton, you are going to need some friends. In the beginning, it can get really confusing, because you meet so many people and you can’t remember everything about them all. I feel like I asked some people what their majors are about twenty times. But once that settles down, there are going to be a few people you probably want to get to know. Take the time to get to know them. Go get some dinner in the dining hall, or hang out outside and have a conversation. It’s amazing to have access to so many new people in college, and you need to take that opportunity to get to know people the best you can, because a lot of them might surprise you; and having friends always feels good.
7. Find a club or activity.
Being able to dedicate yourself to academics and another activity as well, will keep you occupied and motivated. Going to class and studying won’t necessarily be enough, as Binghamton has a ton of clubs, sports, and activities you can join. They are very welcoming, and you don’t necessarily have to have knowledge of a sport to join it. This is the time to try something new, and you can always meet some great new people. Take a look at what the school has to offer, and find what interests you.
8. Eat well.
Getting used to eating the same food all the time can be really frustrating. The dining halls need more variety and better quality foods. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make do with what you have. Eating what is good for you can be expensive in the dining halls, but it’s worth it, because you will feel better in general and will be in better shape. It’s easy just to get pizza every time you go in, but changing it up can do a lot of good. Take you and some friends to Wegman’s one night; buy a bunch of ingredients and cook a meal together. It will be a good break from the dining hall.
9. Keep in touch with your friends and family.
When you start out in college, it can be easy to forget about all the people back home that you do not see every day. Do not get too caught up in your new life. Skyping or Facetiming your friends and family during your freshman year at SUNY Binghamton can be extremely comforting, because these are the people who know you the best. At college, sometimes you want to make a certain joke or tell a certain story, but you know you can’t, because no one will understand it. It’s nice to be in contact with the people who get you, and can help you with what you are going through. They will be your biggest support system, and pick you up when you are feeling your worst.
10. Don’t go home too often
As I said, it is important to stay in contact with people from home during your freshman year at SUNY Binghamton. But at the same time, there can be too much contact that will not necessarily be good for you. One thing I never expected from college was the transitions that occur when you go back home, and then return to college. It’s always great to have that excitement that you get to go home for a bit and relax, and see some people you miss. But then you go back to college. It always put me in a strange mood. I wasn’t unhappy to be back, but it just seemed to throw me off more than I ever expected.
This is why I suggest sticking out the homesickness for a while. Do not go home for at least a month after you start college, because if you do, you will most likely throw off all of the adjusting you have done, and feel weird when you come back. It’s more exciting to go home the less you go, and it makes the experience so much better. My roommate did not go home at all from the end of winter break until about two weeks after finals were over. It is possible; you can make it not being home. It sucks, but ultimately, it makes your time at home better and your time at school more bearable.