My junior class went online during our spring break freshman year. Rather than telling the typical tale of how we managed to survive over the past year, I want to reflect on the key points of my freshman year and how I feel now. Specifically, things that I took away or wish I would have done my freshman year. Since the sophomores didn’t quite receive the “freshmen experience,” and now there is a new cohort of freshmen, many have referred to the underclassmen as the, “two classes of freshmen.” The sophomores never got to experience a class photo or strolling through college green for the Involvement Fair. My hope is that readers can take some of these tips and be able to create a meaningful experience both academically and socially, before entering their upperclassmen years.
Let’s begin by focusing on the social side. It’s the first time away from home for many underclassmen and countless TikToks display students moving home after a few days. While college is not for everyone, the experience can be hard for many because they are leaving their families and friends that they have grown even closer to throughout the past year.
Leave the door open
When you’re living in a dorm, prop your door open with a stack of books or a chair! It doesn’t end here though: others may do this as well, so if you’re comfortable, become the person who goes to the different rooms! My freshmen year, my roommates and I wrote down our social media usernames on several different papers. Then, we went to every door on our floor and knocked and gave them our socials. A group of other girls ended up joining our dorm and all six of us headed out to make more friends. Throughout the rest of the year, we left our door open at all times, and peers from our floor would randomly come in and eventually, our dorm would be filled to capacity, in the best way possible.
Join. Clubs. Most colleges have just about anything you could imagine. If it doesn’t, you can create your own. It’s one of the best ways to make new friends and explore new interests.
Moving on towards the academic side:
Take the general education courses early
Most majors, and universities, require general tier courses to be taken. These typically include science classes, history classes, maybe a marketing or art class as well. Take these classes during your first two years of college so you can focus on your major for the last two years of your college experience. As a junior who still has several general-education courses to take, take my advice.
It’s okay to change your major
It is okay! I have friends who have changed their major three times already. This plays into the, “take your gen-ed’s early,” portion because then you have more freedom to be able to change majors later on.
Happy back-to-school loves!