What to Prioritize During Your First Year

As a third year, I have some advice for college students that are feeling lost, confused or just unsure of themselves. Everyone’s been like that at one point, but I think the freshman and first-year transfer students may be feeling it a lot more during their first quarter. I’m sharing my advice on how to become more comfortable when starting a new school based on my own experiences.  If what I say can provide guidance, comfort, or entertainment, please continue reading.

There are so many important things we want to work towards in college, whether it be participating in the undie run or traveling to New York with your friends. I think that all of the little bucket list items we want to complete fall under three important goals most people want to get out of college: 1. a job after graduation (career,) 2. close relationships with others whether it be platonic or romantic (social life,) and 3. a surer sense of who we are and what we want to do in the future (improved self.) That’s not to say that once graduation hits, I expect to have a full time job with a six six figure salary, a whole tight-knit gang of friends, and be totally confident in myself and my decisions while maintaining emotional stability... let’s just be realistic. College is just one step in our journey and we have the whole mountain to finish climbing.

 

1. Most important rule of living with a roommate is to minimize tension. 

It’s so important to have minimal tension between the people you live with, especially your roommate. Your room is a place you will return to for emotional breakdowns, alone time, studying, and recharging. It’s more important for you to be comfortable around your roommate than to always get your way. In order to minimize tension with simply the products you buy, I recommend getting some cheap earphones that block noise, a sleeping mask to block out light, and a lamp with multiple light settings. The lamp can provide a dim light when you need to do something while your roommate is sleeping. I also recommend you to minimize sharing and to purchase any supplies you need separately. The less adult conversations you have with your roommate, the better.  

2. Keep your grades up (Unless you have a job lined up.)

I think everyone in college would like to have great grades, but may not prioritize academics enough to produce results. Here’s my motivator for you: keeping your grades up will keep your options open. As a college freshman, your major may change multiple times and changing majors typically require a minimum GPA. In the future, you may decide to apply for programs or graduate school after undergraduate and in these application processes, GPA is quite important. Now the caveat to this piece of advice is that if you already know what field or career you want to work in, go for it! Ultimately, college helps us get jobs or else I wouldn’t be paying 25K+ for tuition and rent. 

3. Join a club or apply for a job.

Having a support group and something to do outside of academics is critical to self-care. Joining a club and working a job can do just that. If you join a club, join one where you like the people. Then invest yourself in the club and get to know the people in it. Friendship develops through effort, it doesn’t just happen. If a club doesn’t sound appealing or you haven’t found one that you like, get an on-campus job! Most jobs require you to work in teams with your co-workers who will be students as well, which requires you to spend a lot of time with them, making a great opportunity to create new friendships.

4. Lastly, remember that you are in control of your life and your actions. 

It is not up to fate to give you the life you want. It is up to you. I’m rooting for you!