Freshman orientation flew by, you have your classes sorted out, you’ve picked your dorm and roommate, and have checked every item off your College checklist. You’re ready for your first year of college, right?
In a sense, yes, but, every freshman experience is unique, and there are some things orientation and checklists don’t prepare you for. Thankfully, we have a couple of insights on how to make the most out of your freshman year:
Here’s one thing any college graduate can tell you they wish they had known their first year of college: getting involved is important. Did you always have a tingling for the theater? Why not try the theater club? Were you the class clown? Improv comedy groups are a big hit on many campuses. Are you an aspiring journalist? Get some experience at the school newspaper. This is your time to find out who you are, away from your friends at home and your parents.
Stop by your university club fair to check out different options. Getting involved is an easy way to find like-minded people and make friends, but it can also help you begin to pave the road for your future job.
Pro tip: if your school doesn’t have what you’re looking for, start your own club!
Go to class
We know we sound like your parents here, but trust us, this is more important than you think. Because we’ve been there, we can tell you that wanting to skip some classes, thinking you can make up for it later or just read the slides at home, isn’t always the best idea. Some college professors structure their college courses so that all the important information is said in class, which can be of great help for exams. Others will use pop quizzes to penalize those who haven’t shown up.
Playing hooky is okay sometimes, but remember your college education should always come first. By being smart about your classes now, you’ll avoid having to make up for it later.
Learn to Share Space
Whether you’re sharing an off-campus apartment with three other people, or a box-sized college dorm room with one, there’s one thing you’ll learn very quickly: patience. This is a great opportunity to learn how to share your space with someone other than your relatives. Practice being considerate by listening to your roommates, and don’t let any issues you may have with their behavior linger: always address things immediately and respectfully.
Freshman 15: Not a Myth
Know that it’s ok to gain a bit of weight during your first year of college. If you add the novelty of restaurants, coffee shops and dining halls to the stress of adapting to a new place and keeping up with classes, it’s bound to happen. This doesn’t mean you throw in the towel. Try to be conscious of what you eat and find ways to keep an exercise routine. College dining halls are the Freshman 15’s best friend: it’s easy to think of them as “all-you-can-eat buffets.” Instead, try to look at them like a restaurant: you have one meal, maybe dessert, and you leave. When it comes to exercise, there’s always room for a quick workout between classes.
Get to Know Your Professors
College professors are the real advisors on campus: especially if they have experience in a field that interests you. By acquainting yourself with them from the beginning, you’ll be able to get useful feedback on how to succeed at college. More importantly, they can open doors to future job opportunities. Most college professors love to have students interested in what they teach, so don’t be shy. Introduce yourself at the beginning of the semester and appeal to them with any questions- they’re your greatest allies!
There’s More to College than Parties and Alcohol
We get it, college is the place where you begin to make your own choices, and assert yourself as an adult. But, with this new-found freedom comes more responsibility. Many people associate college with drinking and partying. Drinking alcohol is not only illegal if you’re under 21, but it can have serious consequences if not done responsibly. Realize that you don’t need to go to every college party to make the best out of your first year of college- don’t miss out on all the other cool stuff going on around campus!
One common mistake college students make is waiting until their last year to explore where they live. Find different ways to get to know what will be your home for the next four years. Check out sites like Eventbrite or Facebook event groups, for free and low-cost things to do, or download apps like HeyLets, which gives you personalized recommendations based on your interests!
Are you ready to start off your first year of college? What are you most nervous about?