As a senior in college, there are many things I’ve learned throughout my tenure at Baylor. Some I’ve learned in class—such as the 4 P’s of Marketing—others, I’ve learned through painful first-hand experiences—such as getting locked out of my dorm in Brooks Flats because I mistook my credit card for my ID card. So, sit back and allow me to enlighten you with some advice that will help you steer clear of some of the mistakes I made freshman year.
1. Time Management is Key
Procrastination, my long-time nemesis, has been one of the main causes of my mental breakdowns at Baylor. And honestly, society imposes way too many expectations on us: eat healthy, exercise, don’t use single-use plastic, excel in your career, study 2 hours for each hour of class time, respond to your texts—all while keeping up with a 10-step skincare routine. Throughout the years, I’ve learned that the root of the problem lies within my poor time management skills. So my advice to all freshmen on this matter can be summarized with two words: G O O G L E. C A L E N D A R.
But seriously—get a planner, set reminders on your phone—do whatever works for you. What matters is that you allocate the time you’ll spend on each of your activities beforehand. Sometimes visibly seeing all your activities displayed on a grid is all you need to realize that taking on that student body position is simply not viable. Put your mental health first and organize your time.
2. Friends come and go
Some people meet their best friend at Line Camp (a four-day camp experience for freshmen to meet one another and learn more about Baylor’s campus and history). Others are lucky enough to click with their random roommate freshman year. But more often than not, you are not going to stay friends with the first group of friends you hang out with in college. And that is okay.
You will have plenty of time to find your platonic soulmates, the people who get you and share your love for raunchy, politically incorrect stand-up comedy specials. There are over 17,000 students at Baylor. So, get out there! Venture out of your comfort zone, socialize with your neighbors, and sit next to your classmates rather than leaving that buffer seat.
3. Never stop applying for scholarships
So, you made it into Baylor! Perhaps you were even awarded a scholarship or two. Yet, the news—and Hasan Minhaj’s testimony—reports that student loan debt in the U.S. has reached astronomical levels! This means that despite the scholarships you were awarded when you began college, you might still owe a substantial amount by the time you graduate. For this reason, you must avoid this at all costs and never stop applying for scholarships. A couple of dollars from a lot of different sources adds up! For instance, did you know that Baylor awards grants so you can buy your textbooks? You can also get departmental specific scholarships. There are even organizations on campus such as Student Foundation that award scholarships to students.
4. Get to know your professors
All professors at Baylor are required to have set office hours for students to attend. However, very few students attend these. You don’t have to wait until you have questions about the test to go visit your professor. The truth is that there are a lot of benefits you can get from establishing a personal connection with your professors. Think about recommendation letters, further learning opportunities, and in some cases, it may even translate into better grades!
5. Your major is not set in stone
Lastly, do not be afraid to change your major. If halfway through the year you realize that you like environmental science better than accounting, then go ahead and make the switch. Contrary to popular belief, most people don’t know what they want to do for the rest of their lives when they begin college. In fact, a lot of people don’t even exercise the profession they studied for after graduation. College is for experimenting and figuring out your likes and dislikes. It is much better to graduate a semester late than to quit your job as an engineer because you HATE math ten years down the road.
All in all, despite how cheesy it sounds, these are about to be the best years of your life, so appreciate every moment. Enjoy your newfound independence, relatively small amount of responsibilities, and living four minutes away from all of your best friends.