Final Thoughts of a First Semester Freshman

As the first semester in my college career comes to an end, I have started to reflect on my experience. The good, the bad, and the “what just happened”. Before beginning my first semester here at Miami, I had some ideas of what it might be like, many of which proving to be true, but there were also some things that caught me by surprise. With 16-weeks of college life under my belt, I’m here to provide you with some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.

 

Go to Welcome Weekend events

My roommate still makes fun of me for dragging her to all of the welcome weekend events, but I think that they’re worth it. As silly as some of them might be, they force you to leave your room and learn more about activities on campus. The first couple of days of college can be really difficult, with being in a new environment and away from our families for the first time. Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone can distract you from any anxiety or homesickness you’re feeling.

Make an effort with your hallmates

This is something I really wish I had done. With the dorm I live in, it’s mostly taken up by athletes who just so happened to move in about a month earlier than the rest of us. I was intimated by the bond they had already formed with each other and I didn’t put myself out their as much as I should have. I was really lucky with the fact my roommate knew a ton of people coming into school, so I had a bit of an automatic friend group, but for someone coming in not knowing anyone, it’s important to introduce yourself to your hallmates to start making some new friends.

Speak up!

If you are having issues with one of your professors or any of your courses, don’t be afraid to talk to someone about it. One of the biggest differences with high school and college is you are paying for your education now. You have the right to say if you don’t think you’re getting the level of education you deserve, especially with the hefty price tag that comes along with it. This is something I’m still learning how to do, but it’s so important to learn how to stand up for yourself early on. Your academic advisor should be your first line of support for anything you need help with.

Create time for yourself

One of the best parts of college is that you get to pretty much live and always be around your best friends. But, this can also be one of the hardest parts. With the constant social life, it’s easy to forget to make some time for yourself and do what’s best for you. I always like to dedicate Sunday nights as my “me time”. After I have finished any assignments due on Monday, I like to take some time to plan out my week, catch up on some YouTube videos, binge watch my current favorite show on Netflix, and take a nice long, hot shower. Doing this allows me to decompress and start my week off on a relaxed, stress-free note.

Stay ahead on your work

Yet another thing I am still mastering. Towards the middle and end of the semester, it can feel like everything is piling up and due at once. Most of the time, you can see when things are due far in advance from the syllabus. If you know you have two essays or two projects due on the same day, start writing or preparing for one of them ahead of time so you don’t feel as overwhelmed when they are both due. Also, keep up with any readings you have to do. For some of my classes, the readings weren’t relevant until the exam and I let myself push them to the side until the absolute last minute ( I do not recommend doing this… at all). This will help you learn how to become organized and handle what feels like the never-ending workload of college.

As much as I am looking forward to winter break and being with my family, I will be sad to leave my new home for six weeks. I’ve had an amazing college experience so far, thanks to the amazing people I have met along the way. I can’t wait to see what next semester and the new year brings. I have a good feeling about 2019 :)