As I write this article, I’m just about three weeks out from wrapping up my freshman year of college… which is crazy. This time last year, I was just committing to the University of Connecticut, preparing for graduation, and trying not to stress about the impending doom that moving away to school was at the time. Now that it’s practically over, I can fully say it did not go exactly how I thought it would, in ways that were both negative and positive. In this article, I’m going to talk about four misconceptions I had coming into my freshman year of college, and how they turned out totally different than what I had ever imagined.
1. “I can’t miss a lecture, Like Ever!”
Now first semester me would be slightly ashamed to hear this… but yes, I skip lectures (quite a few actually). And guess what, it’s totally okay! When classes first started up for the fall semester I made sure to attend each and every single one, getting there at least 15 minutes early. What I’ve begun to realize is that lectures aren’t 100% necessary to attend, as long as the professors post the slides, of course. I’ve slowly learned that I perform better on exams and assignments when I don’t attend lectures, odd I know. Everyone is different, so this might not apply to all, but sometimes you can get a better grasp on the material when you consume it at your own pace. For incoming freshmen, I say attend the lectures for at least the first few weeks. Once you get a better understanding of how you learn best, go from there!
2. “This campus is too big”
Coming from a relatively small town, UConn was a huge adjustment. Going from a high school of about 850 students to a university of around 30,000 students was a pretty drastic change. I absolutely never thought I would be able to make this campus feel any smaller, but I did! During the first semester, I joined Her Campus and met an amazing group of intelligent women who love writing just as much as I do, which was awesome. This semester I became involved in Greek Life, which was something I never saw myself doing, but it seriously made campus feel so much smaller and I developed a close-knit group of people to depend on. Looking back on my last few months at UConn, I really have found where I belong here on our not-so-little campus, and I’m so grateful I did. So a little shoutout to myself back in August: The campus isn’t as big and overwhelming anymore! There are so many amazing organizations to get involved with at UConn and it makes the first-year experience not half bad!
3. “I need to take more classes”
No, NO, you do not! Coming into college, I underestimated just how heavy the course load would be, so of course first semester I completely overpacked my schedule. Which resulted in too many late nights and SI sessions. If I learned anything from my freshman year, it’s to take the number of classes you can handle. There are four entire years of college, you have absolutely enough time to fulfill all the credits you need in that period. I really thought I would be able to handle multiple rigorous STEM courses at once — not the best idea in hindsight. So if you’re an incoming freshman, truly think about every course you’re taking your first semester. You do not want to overwhelm yourself from the beginning. I’ve learned that it’s completely okay to take the number of credits you can handle, and focus on those and yourself!
4. “I’m picking a major, and sticking with it”
I came to UConn as an Allied Health Major, which is an amazing choice for those who are really strong in science and math and want to pursue a career in the medical field. I quickly realized I was sadly not one of those people. I lost the battle with CHEM 1124 and eventually came to the conclusion that the STEM side was not for me. Which is completely okay! I began looking through the variety of majors we have here at UConn and landed upon Communications. High school me would be absolutely astonished, but it was seriously the best choice I’ve ever made. During my first semester, I was truly struggling so much. The material just did not click for me and I always felt like I had to work ten times harder than everyone around me. As my first semester as a Comm major comes to a close, I can happily say I’m no longer struggling and I’m now taking courses I truly enjoy. It’s a big decision to switch your major, but it’s so common and completely okay. I’ve begun to understand and accept that if you don’t fully enjoy what you’re doing, it’s not worth it. You should be spending your years of college studying what makes YOU happy!
There it is! Those were my top four misconceptions about the big league, college! I hope this helps give a few soon-to-be freshmen some peace of mind.