A month into my freshmen year at college, I can definitely tell you that college is truly an adventure. Packing my suitcases and traveling across the country to attend college was a challenging process, but it was something that I knew I had to do. Over the course of senior year and up until right before leaving for school, I have sought key advice from anyone and everyone to make it through freshman year. So, here are the top five pieces of advice that people gave:
1. At some point in time, everyone is going to feel lonely.
College is the first time that many of us are stepping away from the comforts of home and living by ourselves. As we manage to navigate college, there will undoubtedly come a time when we are reminded of home. Missing home is a natural part of going away to college, but in attempts to look strong, we hide this pain thinking that we are the only ones feeling that way. Don’t think that. Everyone will struggle with homesickness during some part of their stay in college. It’s normal!
2. Plan an activity in the city every week – once it gets cold, you won’t find yourself leaving campus.
Attending a college that is far from the city, my counselor demanded that I make it a point to take a trip to the city every single week. As a freshman, we have loads of free time on our hand that can be funneled into taking a fun trip into the city. Finding these chunks of time and planning activities with friends and learning about your home city for the next four years is crucial. When the snow starts falling, you won’t want to leave campus and there will be so many opportunities to explore all that your school has to offer. While the weather is perfect, take any and every opportunity that you have to
3. Don’t fall into the freshmen trap – pick and choose what activities that you want to get involved with
College organization fairs occur during the first few weeks of school and freshmen are notorious for signing up for every organization under the sun. Believe me, I did it too. However, be smart about the organization fair. There is nothing wrong with signing up for countless clubs and organizations on the day of the organization fair. Even for a month later, you might find yourself attending club meetings trying to get a sense for what organizations speak to you. Take that time, but once you figure that something isn’t for you, feel free to drop it immediately. Soon, you’ll find exactly what you are passionate about and your list will be whittled down.
4. ME TIME. Repeat after me! ME TIME.
Your mental health and well-being is SO important. In college, you are responsible for taking care of yourself and make sure that you do that. Every week, I forcefully schedule hours of time that are just “me time”. During these hours, I choose what I want to do and no one can tell me otherwise. Make sure to schedule in these hours as they are so crucial. It’s these hours that help you recenter and refocus yourself, so that when you return to work, you are most efficient.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask.
As a freshman, upperclassmen are definitely scary. However, little do you know that most upperclassmen really just want to lend a helping hand to freshmen. After all, a couple years ago, they were in the same exact position. Feel free to ask them any question on your mind because chances are that they will know the exact answer to that question or will know someone who will have the answer for you. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and approaching an upperclassmen is frightening, but the wealth of information that they have about college and life is so worth it.
College is the ultimate learning experience. Yet, in the process of going through daily life, it is crucial to self-reflect on your time. Seek advice from those around you and make sure to talk about what’s happening to you. Make sure to carve out time for yourself and take a break every now and then to take in the fresh air and realign yourself. You’ve got this and you are going to make it through these next four years.