As I lay in my dorm room and sip my freshly brewed coffee, I reflect back to Fall 2019. So much has changed in a matter of two years. Generations ahead use the term “green” to describe someone youthful, I can now finally grasp the meaning of this. August 2019, the green period, I was a new graduate from a small rural city in West Virginia. I was still in a committed relationship with my high school boyfriend and so eager to experience what college has to offer. These are the few things that I imagine could have changed my freshman year experience.
- Attend the football games and pep rallies
I never realized until after freshman and sophomore year of college, I considered myself “too cool”. Anything that involved the embodiment of school spirit, I considered it lame. However, I didn’t realize I was setting myself short from the full college experience. Pep rallies and football games are experiences that you will not get back. There will only be one first game of your freshman year of college where everyone is sporting their blue and white, like Friday Night Lights, as you sit with your big group of new friends. This is a moment to hold on to and enjoy! So even if you do not enjoy football games, GO!
- Commit to a plan
As someone who has very, let’s say, indecisive tendencies, committing to a plan is like a one in million chance at times. However, I learned this is such a fundamental step to success. Teaching yourself to commit to a plan at the beginning of your college career is needed to create discipline as your workload increases.
- Don’t allow your fears to interrupt your dreams
There were times where I saw myself holding back because I was afraid of how others would perceive me. Your freshman year is the year you’re introduced to your new environment, new school, and new people. Fear will steal opportunities, and prevent you from reaching your full potential.
- I wish I had more time
Unfortunately, the class of 2023’s freshman year of college ended shortly after the Covid-19 outbreak. With just one week after spring break, we were sent home. I always feel nostalgic reflecting on this period because during this time I finally felt I was grasping the concept of college. My academics, friends, and extra-curricular activities were all in order, then BOOM! I often wonder how my full experience of my freshman year could have gone.
- I wish I was more organized
I wish we as a community talked about how important organization is, especially during your freshman year. Your freshman year is a new experience that requires a lot of focus and attention on top of a full schedule. To maintain order and focus, it is important to keep your mind and physical environment organized.
- Play hard but WORK HARDER
Your freshman year of college is such an exciting and new experience. It is unchallenging to participate in parties, events, and more; It is even easier to put these activities over your academics. I made the mistake fall semester of freshman year partying before studying, which led to many crying nights on test day. It’s okay to play hard just make sure you work harder!
- I wish enjoyed the “caf” more
The cafeteria, well known as the “caf” didn’t necessarily have the best of food, but it was the place everyone on campus was in one setting. There were times when the caf was practically a fashion show, especially on “Fried Chicken Wednesdays”. Now that most of my friends live off-campus, I cherish the memories we made, and not to mention the “partially” free food.
- Meet new people, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there
It’s easy to stay within your friend group that you may have made in a group chat or pre-college, but it is crucial to expand yourself and not become complacent in your clique. Your clique will always be there, don’t be afraid to meet new people!
- Go to your professors office hours
Big classrooms or lecture halls are not as personable as your classroom in high school. Most professors do not call attendance and would rather have you write your name down on a sheet of paper. Therefore, it is important to make personal connections with your professors, so when the time comes for you to seek help on an assignment or to improve your grade, your professor will know you and understand your efforts.
- Become involved
Make the effort to join organizations and clubs. This can include the big organizations on campus or even the small ones. Becoming involved on campus will increase your networking skills, improve your resume, and your overall college experience.