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September is one of the most vital months of the year, as it symbolizes the end of summer and the start of the back-to-school season. Being able to start in-person classes and activities again, I went to campus with butterflies in my stomach, both nervous and excited to feel a sense of normalcy again. Sudden realization hit me that this was my last first day. In less than a year, I will graduate college and fully enter adulthood. I will no longer get to complain about finals, stress out about midterms, and enjoy a three-month-long summer vacation. While life after college seems intimidating, I can’t help but think back to my first day of class as a college freshman. 

Four years ago, I was just a shy freshman. I had no idea what I was doing or what I wanted to do with my life. I was very anxious about meeting new people and being in a new environment. Looking back, I see how far I’ve come and how much I’ve changed as an individual. I have also realized that there are many things that I wish I knew or understood when I started college. Here are a few of those things, in hopes that they help you. 

I wish I knew that I was not alone. As a shy freshman, I was afraid of adapting to a new school and making new friends. The most important step to overcome this fear is to find the courage to reach out and open up to new people. Once I found the courage to approach new people and be vulnerable with them, I learned that we all share the same fears. Seeing all the things we had in common, I finally realized that I was not alone and got to bond with others over this fear. Since college is a huge change and milestone for everyone, it is important to remember that you are not alone and that there is always someone who probably is in the same situation as you. You will find like-minded people if you open up and reach out. 

Furthermore, I wish I utilized all the resources that I had access to. Many college students do not take full advantage of the campus resources provided to them. Throughout my years at college, I discovered that office hours are one of the most useful tools professors offer to students. During office hours, professors are more likely to offer knowledge and advice that directly address your concerns, which helps increase your understanding of the class and the materials. Also, it is a great way to build connections with your professors and gain more personal confidence. Besides, colleges provide many resources to ensure that all students can succeed academically and professionally while caring for their physical and mental health as well. This is why tutors, therapists, academic and career counselors are available. In addition to having multi-cultural centers, health centers, student organizations, and more. All the above resources are there to help every student to succeed and achieve their goals, it especially guides new students who are struggling with adapting to changes and overcoming struggles. 

Overall, there are many things that I wish I knew as a college freshman. But what’s most important is to enjoy college life and be yourself! College is the place for you to explore who you are and what you want to be, where you can try new things and figure out what you want or like. Looking back, I only wish that I had learned to enjoy college earlier and be less afraid of new things.

Iris Au

UCD '22

Iris is studying Communications and Economics at the University of California, Davis. She is currently a senior and is a big fan of cheesy rom-coms and cooking shows. She hopes to pursue a future career in public relations or marketing after graduating college.
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