Top 5 Things to Accomplish by the End of Freshman Year

As a senior in high school I can remember, vividly, how thrilled I was to begin a new chapter of my life. A small town girl from Lexington, Kentucky finally making it to the university of her dreams, a stretch of eight hours away seemed so exciting. I graduated high school, I packed all my things, and I officially made it in front of the Harriett Tubman Quadrangle on Howard University’s main campus. While the transition was magnificent, once my bags were unpacked and I was done settling into my new home, my first thought was what’s next? I had no information about anything going on around campus, I had not the slightest idea what kind of opportunities would prepare me for my career, and more importantly, I was unsure of how I could impact my campus. Even though it took me some time to figure out the best way to be effective on my campus—this article is for anyone who would like to save a little bit of time and get some advice about what to accomplish on campus the first year of college.


1. Accomplish an understanding of what kind of learner you are.

While this first tip might not be the most enthusiastic one, it is important to remember why you are in school. In order to make sure that you are achieving the grades that you want and deserve and to ensure that you are being well educated, it is essential that you start paying attention to the way that you like to learn both in and out of the classroom. In the classroom, you may be a visual learner and like to see PowerPoints, pictures, and notes written across the board that help you process information well. Outside of the classroom you may like to type your notes out and them print them to highlight them neatly and effectively. Begin actively trying new ways to learn and seeing what you would like to incorporate into your learning style and what you may leave behind. This will make sophomore and junior year much easier because once you know how you learn, learning new information in more advanced and specific classes will allow you to focus more on what you’re learning and not on how to learn it.


2. Accomplish active and authentic involvement in organizations and events that you find interesting.

While freshman year seems like the perfect time to go out every weekend with new friends, party, and live up your first free year at your new university, it is extremely important that you take time your first year to network and find out about ways to get involved on campus. Not only will this allow you to participate in different activities that you enjoy, but these are these same activities will be what you use on your resume to push yourself forward into your academic and professional career.


3. Accomplish learning and being comfortable with when to say NO.

College comes with a lot of pressure. There is always going to be something going on that someone wants to invite you to or some event on campus that you will be interested in attending. While it is important to have fun, go out,  and enjoy your time, it is also important to learn what it means to say no and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with saying it. That ‘no’ you give someone could be the difference between an A and a B in a class. Also, keep in mind that those around you are also going through the same thing and are trying to learn time management so, the best way to work through it all is to be understanding!


4. Start looking at internships and if you can, get one.

When I entered college, I thought that campus involvement and internships were all the same thing and while they can flow together, for the most part an internship is going outside of campus to businesses or organizations that have your career interests and networking and shadowing under their department to learn more about the job and begin gaining skills for that particular job.


5. Enjoy it.

The most important thing: enjoy your first year. This is the most beautiful time of your life. You will meet people and experience things that will shape you into the professional you are going to become. Take the time to be happy, to love people, and discover yourself. Don’t look back over your freshman experience and wonder what you could’ve done differently. Take every opportunity you get to be the best version of yourself. You are more than capable and ready to conquer!