In the past month, I have been to three graduations. I have seen the transition to both high school and college. It’s amazing how accomplished each student felt when they were given awards and their diplomas. It reminded me of my own high school graduation, just two years ago.
In the fall, I will be going into my third year of college. Although I am still learning, I have a few tips for incoming freshmen.
Whether you’re commuting or living on campus, you are on your own. No one is there to babysit you. You shouldn’t rely on your parents or professors to let you know what you should be doing. Always be attentive and be responsible for your mistakes. You are in charge of your education. If you want to succeed, it’s up to you to make that happen.
You will be taking about five classes a week. Don’t rely on memory to remember all your work. I highly recommend a planner or even a notebook to jot down information on homework, quizzes and tests. Your phone can become your best friend outside of the classroom. I’m always marking down the next test or project and giving myself alerts to be ready.
The library isn’t a bad place.
I didn’t think that the library was going to be the best place to get work done. Last semester, the library was basically my favorite place. Find a spot, ignore any chance of contact or technology and get things done. I even got a private room once just so I can block off any distractions. I was even able to play some music while I studied.
Don’t be afraid to speak up.
Last semester, I wasn’t doing well in some of my classes. I wasn’t going to sit there and let it happen. I took a stand and began talking to my professors. By talking to my professors, I was showing them how dedicated I was to my education. Don’t be afraid to email them, go to their office hours or even stop them after class to discuss your grades. It made a huge difference in the rest of my semester.
I think joining clubs was the best decision coming into college. I was not only doing things I was interested in, but I was making new friends. Joining clubs is the easiest way to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people. It also looks good on resumes. It shows how well rounded you are. I have joined 6+ clubs and I plan on joining a few more.
College isn’t easy, but it isn’t hard either.
Don’t look at movies and television shows and think that’s what college is about. In some aspects it is. However, college isn’t going to stress you out. If you take a deep breath, focus and ask for help when needed then you’ll do fine. There was a time where I was ready to give up, when I thought college was too hard, but I took a deep breath and I continued on. But it’s not easy either. Just because you see them only twice a week, you don’t get homework and your professor is laid back, doesn’t mean you won’t fail. I think you have to work twice as hard in a class that you think is easy.
Sometimes I regret small portions of my two years because I spent it in my room watching television. I think that being involved in clubs and events helps to learn your college more and meet more people. I got so involved last semester by going to events with friends and being apart of new clubs. I also went outside more and spend less time watching television. (I think.) I even got a job just to have some extra cash in my pocket and some time outside of the dorm.
Try to have some patience. I had to live in a triple than I just came from a suite with five other girls. Try to have some patience when it comes to other people. You are all going through the same path of studying a major and graduating to get the career you chose. Also have patience with getting better at something you’re not good in.
Freshman 15 exists.
The thoughts of thinking about college food makes me shiver. I got so sick of the same thing of eating pasta and burgers every day I can see myself gaining weight. Try to stick to small portions or just try to be healthy in college. It might be hard, but don’t give in to the temptation. Also pay attention to the amount of money given by your meal plan. That can help in looking away from the snacks, like I did.
Your major doesn’t have to be permanent.
It’s definitely okay to be undecided. It’s also okay to start out with a major and decide that you don’t want to study that. It’s your decision in the end. Your major reflects on what you enjoy and want to do for the rest of your life. I learned early on that I want to do Journalism and my classes helped me to decided what specific Journalism I wanted to do. I also added a minor. Remember that you’re in college and you’re able to explore a variety of possibilities.
So Class of 2014, I wish you the best of luck. You would do fine, I promise!