Freshman year of college is amazing (and scary). The first two weeks passed in a blur, and it was crazy how much happened. Now that summer is almost upon us (which I cannot believe), I wanted to share some things that I learned during my first year at St. Lawrence.
You can handle a lot more than you previously thought.
Yeah, the assignments that professors give you can seem like they’re going to drag you down. But you can handle it. Being away from home can seem intimidating, but we live in a wonderful world filled with technology. You can call your family when you need to. And everyone who’s in your dorm is most likely going through the same thing you are, so it’s okay to talk to someone about it.
Make new friends.
I cannot stress this enough. Your college experience is mostly shared with those around you. Study sessions, movie/game nights, parties; you don’t do that by yourself. Be it your roommate, or someone you happen to meet in line at the dining hall, go out there and make friends (that way, you won’t sequester yourself away in your dorm and miss what campus life has to offer).
You won’t lose (all of) your old friends.
Some of you are yelling at me through the computer screen, but hear me out. Distance can be a friendship killer, but those who really want to remain in your life will make the effort to keep in touch, be it through email, text, phone calls, etc. If they’re in college too, they probably miss you as much as you miss them. The plus side is when you have winter/spring/summer break, you can catch up with them and share all the exciting adventures (or misadventures) you had at school.
Living with someone can be utterly terrifying, yet exciting.
Sharing a room with a complete stranger is something one wouldn’t necessarily want to do. In college, it’s how some people make friends for life. Now, working out some rules and boundaries can seem a bit awkward, but once you both start to get into the groove, it actually can be quite fun. I can’t guarantee that you’ll win the roommate lottery, but it a great chance to learn how to deal with people in ways you really haven’t before.
It’s okay to not know what you want to do right away.
I must’ve changed my mind six times already. Your freshman year is about exploring all of your interests and finding the path that fits you. Don’t be too worried about knowing what you want to do for the next years of your life the minute you step on campus. Take some classes that seem interesting (even ones that may seem a bit out of your wheelhouse). Experimenting with your interests will benefit you in the end.
Being independent is scary….
It’s extremely terrifying. I mean, registering for classes is stressful enough. Figuring out your schedule can sometimes make you feel like you want to pull your hair out, and dealing with difficult professors can seem absolutely daunting.
But it’s kinda fun.
You have a freedom on a college campus that you necessarily don’t have at home. You can stay up as late as you want, you can eat when you want, and there’s no one to tell you otherwise (sometimes). You’re in control of your life in a way that is entirely new.
Joining clubs is a must!
Don’t sit in your dorm room all day. Go out and explore the clubs that are on campus. If there isn’t one that you’re looking for, make one with your friends! I joined HerCampus and the club rugby team, and I have made some of the best friends I’ve ever had.
It’s okay to be homesick.
Missing your family is normal. Not seeing your parents or siblings every day can seem daunting, especially if you are close with them. But they are excited for you, and want you to do the best you can and to explore college. If you need anything, they will be there for you, and they’re only a phone call away.
It’s okay to ask for help.
One of the hardest classes for me was an Intro to Computer Science class. I must’ve gone to see the professor at least once a week to ask for help in deciphering a piece of code that had my mind going in circles. Believe me, you’re not the only one who may need some help every now and again. Professors appreciate that you’re going to them for help too; it shows them that you’re invested in their class and want to do the best you can.
I know college can seem both exhilarating and absolutely terrifying at the same time, but don’t let your fear stop you from taking the plunge. Go out there and experience life :)