Tips for Surviving Freshman Year
As my time here on Commons comes to and end and the new “Sophomore” status sets in, I find it necessary to share some of my Freshman Year wisdom in addition to some tidbits I wish I had known earlier. Class of 2016, this is for you:
1) Be smart about packing: One of the most stressful memories from last summer was sitting in the hallway of my house surrounded by all of the things I needed to pack that day before I left for school. “Overwhelming” is an understatement. For those of you that feel as though you need to bring your entire shoe collection and your entire closet full of clothes, slow your roll! Bring what you need for summer and fall and send for clothes as needed. It will make packing (not to mention packing up for summer) a million times easier!
2) Talk with your roommate before hand! Don’t want to be stuck with two of everything in the room (microwaves and refrigerators take up a lot of space!)? Want to plan a cool color scheme for the room? Take the time to talk with your roommate before move in day to avoid any unnecessary surprises!
3) Ease into the transition: This is a general piece of advice that can apply to a lot of different things. College is very different from high school and sometimes the excess freedom and independence can be a pitfall in some instances. Get used to the environment, try new things, meet new people, enjoy and savor the moment. Just don’t get caught up in trying to do everything at once!
4) Know yourself…and your sleep schedule: Fact: it was easier to wake up at 5:30 A.M. in high school. If you aren’t a morning person, don’t schedule a bunch of 8 A.M. classes. The closer your schedule resembles how you actually function (better at Math in the morning? Don’t take it at 4 P.M.) the better your grades will be.
5) Don’t OVERschedule! My first semester, I took 17 hours, 5 classes, two of which were Calculus and Chemistry, and it was miserable. Instead of easing into the transition (see tip 3), I planned too much at once and my grades suffered for it. Take it easy (but not too easy) on hours first semester, gauge the workload, and proceed from there.
6) Buy cleaning supplies for your room: I know this may seem a little random, but it is amazing the amount of paper towels and tissues my roommate and I went through in a year. Keeping your space clean is not only important for sanity purposes (I can’t work in a messy room!) but also for health purposes (you and your roommate don’t want to get each other sick!). Bring Lysol, wipes, etc. Bring them.
7) Take the time to get to know your hallmates: I love the girls on my hall. Love them. We are all very different people with different backgrounds, but the bonds we’ve created have truly been a hallmark of my freshman year. Not only is it important to meet other freshman and people out and about, it is also important to have a support system in the dorms as well. We are a crazy, dysfunctional family, but we love each other and can count on each other for anything—homework help, eating dinner out and about, taking care of one another when we are sick, etc. Don’t miss out on this great experience!
8) Things will be different, and that is okay: Coming out of high school, I was on cloud nine. I was top of my class, in tons of clubs and organizations and a varsity soccer captain. Obviously college is much different. I faced many setbacks—lost in house president election, got denied from many, many organization positions, had a rough start to General Chemistry etc. It took me a very long time to process that college and high school were different. I couldn’t join a million clubs and take the hardest classes and succeed in all the ways I used to. Don’t expect to conquer the world in a day. Accept that things will be different, and the struggles are what help us grow.
And last but not least….
9) Seek out new opportunities and live in the moment: This year has absolutely flown by. It feels as though no time has passed, but looking back, so much has happened in the past few months. College is a time to take advantage of the many opportunities on campus. Join a club. Play an intramural sport. Sing karaoke downtown. Study hard, prioritize your work, and take in the experience of world-class professors and teaching. Whatever you do, make the most—and the best—of everything.