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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Freshman year is often regarded as the time for exploration and adjustment. Exploring new routines, habits, academic interests, and friendships to curate the most ideal routine, and then adjust and settle into that routine. There is usually plenty of wiggle room to make mistakes, learn things the hard way, and have the space to grow and evolve. 

But there are most certainly things that I wish I knew to ease the transition tremendously. The biggest piece of advice I have is to get involved! As preachy and overused as it sounds — I didn’t get particularly involved last semester and I regret missing out on those opportunities. This semester, I have made so many friends as a result of being more proactive about my involvement on campus. UMass has more than 500 clubs and student organizations, so there really is something for everyone, no matter how niche your interests are, there’s probably a club for it that exists!

Something else to really consider is to not be so hard on yourself, especially if you are a perfectionist who aims for only the very best. You will set expectations, and you might exceed them, but the chances of you not meeting those expectations is real. It is extremely unrealistic to hope for a 4.0 GPA, a perfect friend group, and to be a part of four different clubs. While people that achieve all of this instantly do exist, everyone has their own timeline to be fully adjusted. Being an international student miles away from home is hard as it is, and the last thing you want is to complicate your own life with these intrusive thoughts. 

On that note, it is so important to find good study spots on campus, and I cannot emphasize this enough. Trying out all the cute cafes on campus and the study spots that come with them is a fun bucket list item! However, it is equally important to delegate downtime for yourself and schedule time to take care of yourself, hang out with your friends, and maybe go to the gym. This helps you avoid burnout and maintain a healthy balance.

All in all, I think the best approach is to take each day as it comes because you never know what direction it will take you! Just focus on your academics, making memories, and enjoying yourself, everything else falls into place eventually.

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Ashna Jain

U Mass Amherst '26

Ashna is a sophomore Economics and Mathematics double major at Umass Amherst. In her free time, you can find her watching Gilmore Girls, hanging out with her friends or taking a spin class! She is also a peer advisor for the department of Economics and a member of Tri Sigma National Sorority.