It’s pretty common for most students going into their freshman year of college to be excited. College marks the start of a whole new journey in life, the official entering of the adult stage and the opportunity to have complete freedom for the first time. Yes, college offers up a ton of reasons to be thrilled heading into the fall, but it also gives incoming freshman a boatload of reasons to feel anxious.
College is a totally new experience for all freshman, and with new experiences come the many unknowns of what to expect and how to handle the many challenges that come their way. Life can get pretty rough during your time in college, and can feel especially difficult during your freshman year, but knowing how to work through the obstacles will help smooth your path toward senior year and graduation. Here are 10 tips that will help you survive your freshman year:
1. Tour Campus Before The First Day
Most incoming freshman take the time to go on college visits during their senior year of high school to map out each campus before deciding where they attend, but walking down each hall and up each flight of stairs again before the first week of classes will be very beneficial for you.
Figuring out where the library is, where certain offices like financial aid and the nurse are and even where bathrooms are located are important to note before the first day so you aren’t stuck searching all around.
Also, checking out the campus buildings again after you receive your schedule will help you identify exactly where you classrooms are. There’s always going to be “that guy/gal” that strolls in 12 minutes late on the first day. Don’t let it be you!
2. Talk To People
Making friends is going to be crucial to surviving your freshman year, and you’re going to have ample opportunity to do just that!
You’re going to be around hundreds of other brand new college students at freshman orientation. You’ll meet your first college roommate on move-in day. You’ll be around new faces in each of your classes, in the dining hall. Basically everywhere you go, there’ll be someone new. Talk to them, introduce yourself and see where it goes!
3. Grow Familiar With Your New Environment
This is similar to #1, but there’s a lot more to it.
You do want to be familiar with all the different areas of your campus, but you also want to get yourself acclimated to your college town.
Figure out where key places in your new environment are that will help enhance your living experience. Gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters and everything in between are must know spots in your new city!
4. Get Involved Any Way You Can
Like high school, college is going to offer you so many different ways to get involved on campus your freshman year. Numerous clubs, committees and intramural sports are just a few ways you can be active on campus. There’s much more to college than going to the classroom and studying outside of it!
5. Use A Planner
You’re going to have anywhere from 4 to 6 classes the first semester of your freshman year, and I’m going to tell you right now, the professors aren’t worried about whether you’re taking more than just their class or not.
You’re going to have weeks with multiple projects due and multiple tests to take, especially during midterms and finals. A great way to organize and layout everything you have to do for a particular class is by writing it down in a planner. This will make it easier to keep things in order and not be the one asking “did we have homework?”
6. Utilize Your Resources
There are going to be quite a few places where you can study peacefully, research for an assignment and do just about whatever else you need to finish your homework on campus. Designated study rooms, the library and the computer lab offer students everything they need outside of the classroom that will allow them to succeed inside of it. Absolutely use these resources!
7. Stay In Touch With The Fam
Being away from home for an extended period of time for the first time in your life will probably be the toughest of all the transitions you make going into college. It’s not uncommon that freshmen in college tend to start feeling homesick early on in their first semester, but even if you aren’t feeling that homesick, your parents, siblings and everybody at home are missing you, and you’re probably missing them a bunch too.
Text your parents and siblings throughout the day in a group chat. Make FaceTime or phone calls home when you have the chance. Tag family members under posts on social media. Write letters home. Find some type of way to stay connected with your loved ones!
8. Don’t Procrastinate
There is much more to college life than studying and doing homework, but don’t get it confused with what’s most important at the end of the day.
Ultimately, you’re going to college to earn a degree, and in order to receive that, you’ll have to maintain solid grades. Hanging out with friends all day, partying all weekend, gaming and doing whatever else kills time isn’t how you should be spending all of your time out of class.
Understand that its important to have some breaks and have a lot of fun while in college, but your priority is school work. Don’t put it off and procrastinate, or life will be so much harder for you!
Listen, there’s going to be a few long nights during your time in college. Nights you’re up until 3 am with class, practice or some other responsibility at 7. There’s day’s you’re going to be tired and dragging, but that’s all part of the college experience.
The nights that you can control how much you sleep, you should be taking full advantage of that opportunity. Don’t stay up until midnight or later each night when you could be going to sleep a couple hours earlier. Sleep is going to be one of your best friends in college. Get in a good nights rest whenever you can and nap if you get the chance in the day!
10. Don’t Stress Too Much
So you didn’t do so well on the last test. You forgot to do a key homework assignment. The class in general is just really hard.
Whatever the case may be, your grade is not where you’d like, and it’s got you stressing out. My advice to you is simple: don’t.
Don’t let it stress you out. Relax. Breathe. Make an effort to focus more time to studying for the classes you struggle in. Seek out tutors (the resources you should be utilizing) if you need help, and don’t be afraid to ask questions to your professor when you’re lost. Realize that the semester really does go week-by-week, and one your grade at midterm can be salvaged. Give yourself the chance to escape and socialize with your friends and enjoy yourself.
Stressing over one class has the potential to start bringing down your progress in others, so don’t let it get to your head too much!
College will for sure be some of the best years of your life, but they could also be some of the more stressful ones, too. Being able to walk across the stage, receive your degree and be able to say that you survived college is one of the great accomplishments in life, and your fight for survival begins during your freshman year. Use these tips to help minimize the stress and keep the good times rolling!