Dear Incoming Freshmen

Picture this: you’ve successfully navigated yourself to the right classroom for your 8AM and are sitting down to what seems to be a friendly face. Your professor walks in and tells each of you to grab a syllabus from the front. You take one back to your seat and look it over with a sense of calmness––except you see the calendar, which states that your entire grade is dependent on two exams, and there might be pop quizzes on the 80 pages of reading homework assigned before each class. Your eyes glance up to the top of the page, and you realize you’re not even in ENGL 1001, you’re in SOCI 3050: Methods of Social Research. You look around more closely and see aged, stressed faces staring back at you: seniors. There’s no walking out, because that would be rude and embarrassing in a large auditorium like this one. And you can’t call anybody, especially not your mom because she’s 2,000 miles away. I get it; the college life can be scary. Terrifying, even. You either hear horror stories from those who’ve lived to tell the tale or just a nonchalant “you’ll survive.” But college is not about simply surviving; it’s so much more than that. These 4+ years of undergrad are not just an opportunity to build up your knowledge in order to sustain a good career ahead, but for you to meet new people, try new things and figure out just what kind of person you are. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of 5 things for you to get through your first semester and have the best introduction to college that you can possibly receive.

1. Accept that you’re a freshman––everything is new and you’re inexperienced

There’s no shame in embracing the fact that you’re a newbie. College is a totally different environment than high school, so it takes some getting used to. Don’t act like you know it all and be prepared to ask for some help. Chances are you might find a friend who can provide you with some great advice.

2. Develop good studying habits early on

This is essential; you can’t have a good academic career without creating a method that works for you. This can either come in the form of having an organized planner, a great study group, a tutor or simply a place that you can study for hours without getting distracted. Anything for you to secure that A!

3. Try new things

This is easier said than done, sure. But it’s still a must when you’re a freshman. Visit multiple organizations/clubs and introduce yourself to people. There’s a whole variety of stuff to do on campus; try something that you’re not sure you’ll like. Who knows? Maybe Model UN or the school newspaper might just be up your alley!

4. Don’t be shy when it comes to making friends

If you’re naturally an extrovert and good at socializing with strangers, good for you, you can go ahead and skip this step. But for those who have a bit of trouble making their way to intimidating circles, have no fear. It’s totally normal to have a bit of nervousness when it comes to introducing yourself, but chances are most people are in the same boat as you! The worst that could happen is for you to not click with somebody, so go ahead and walk up to a friendly face. You just create a friendship that lasts a lifetime.

5. Find a good stress reliever

Take a break from studying by doing something that takes your mind off of stress. This can either be hanging out with friends, eating great food or taking a trip downtown! Anything that will help you relax and recharge for some hard work ahead. College can be tough for a freshman, but you’ll eventually get the groove of it, especially with these helpful tips.

So in conclusion: study hard and be open to anything! The time that everyone said was stressful and scary just might be the best four years of your life.

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