After One Semester of College

Now that finals are safely out of the way, I can officially say that I survived my first semester in college. It is an experience that really can be felt if you go through it. As a freshman living on campus, I learned a lot through my experiences. Therefore, here are some words I have to say based on my experience.

  1. 1. Practice Good Time Management

    Let’s get this one out of the way. Even if you are a natural procrastinator, practice getting in the habit of starting assignments earlier. It really feels great when you are done with your work and have free time to do anything you want. I know most people save it until the last minute, which can increase stress levels and might lead you to stay up all night. That does not seem worthwhile. I see people trying to do work in the common room at night but struggle because they also want to socialize. Therefore, if you are trying to do your work, go somewhere where you know you will not get distracted. It might be helpful to not have your phone with you because you can get distracted easily.

    This is especially important for finals. If you need to study, get a head start on studying. Focus on the areas you have not touched upon for a while or the areas where you know you struggled with the most. I may not have had actual exams, but from what I saw, take advantage of the study guides given to you. Then, look back at any specific notes.

    If you have a paper or a project for the class, you are not doing yourself justice by waiting until the last minute to do it. I have a hallmate who only procrastinated because she is only able to write things out when she has that pressure. However, that does not guarantee a good grade on the paper. Take the time to outline beforehand. I usually do my essay all over the place and focus on one body paragraph at a time. Outlining is great because you are organizing your thoughts into bullets, and when you are ready to officially write, you already have everything. You just need to put it into coherent sentences.

  2. 2. Take Advantage of the Gym

    I had a roommate tell me how she uses the gym because it is free unlike the ones back home where she had to pay a membership to join. It is worth trying to go to the gym. It is a good way to get in some daily exercise, and it is something you can add to your list of things you did today. It is something you need to develop a habit before you can really get into it. I got up at six in the morning to go to the gym, and there were days when I struggled to get out of bed. However, I started to not mind the idea of the gym after going a couple more times. I would start slow because it is better to ease into it. Also, do not forget your water bottle because hydration is key! Next, bring something to play music, a show, or a movie because it will keep you occupied and before you know it, you have spent an hour in the gym.

  3. 3. Celebrating Birthdays in College

    Along with other people, I celebrated my birthday during college. I got super lucky that day since both my classes were cancelled, but I had friends who had their birthdays on a day when they had school. My advice is to make the most of your day because even if you are in an academic setting (especially if you are living on campus), it does not mean you should not celebrate. There might be a chance that you are unable to spend your birthday with your family, which can happen if you are far way from home. Therefore, make some time for yourself because remember, time only moves forward, so make the most out of the present. Do something for yourself because college can be stressful, so treat yourself right. Go into town when you have time or spend time with your friends.

  4. 4. Explore

    Explore the town you are in because it is fun seeing new places. Especially if you are not from the area, by exploring the places around you, it helps you situate in college more. You might find a new favorite place. It also feels less foreign when you get to know your surroundings.

  5. 5. Take Risks, Be an Active Member

    There are a lot of clubs on campus. Try joining one because you can find people who share the same interests as you. It is also okay if you end up going to a club meeting and then dropping it. People are understanding. Sometimes, it is not what you expect it to be, or it is not the club meant for you. That is totally fine, so do not force yourself to do something you are not interested in.

    Also, there will be times when they are holding elections for exec board for the clubs. This is what I learned: just do it. I admit that there were times when I almost held back because I am a freshman, but it is fine to take the risk and go for it. Besides, it is a learning experience, so you should not worry that you do not have enough experience. Sometimes, you just have to go for it and then, learn from there. Have confidence that you have the capabilities to do it because we all have something different that we can contribute.

  6. 6. Take Classes You Enjoy

    Once you are able to choose classes, I definitely recommend that you get rid of the classes you are required to take first. However, if possible, make sure it is something you know you can enjoy. I would ask for recommendations from your advisor and people you know. They can give you some decent insight on the class. Also, get to know what kind of professor is teaching the class. Different professors have different teaching styles. Therefore, you should look into that because even if you like the class, you might not like the way they teach. But pick classes that will work for you and your schedule. You might spend a few hours in classes each day, but you need time for yourself too.

Overall, I did more than I would have thought from August to December. I met some pretty great people. I was able to try new things. I learned from my mistakes. I worked hard to do the best I could. There is a lot I could say about what I did, but that is a few months worth of experience. Let’s just say that college was worth my time even though it took a bit of adapting to get used to the environment and the newfound freedom. I hope for any future incoming freshman that you are able to find your place wherever you go. Enjoy the time you have because it goes by quickly when you least realize it.