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Tips for an Incoming College Student

We all know that college is a new and exciting time in one's life and that it is so different from anything else we have experienced in our life before. There are so many things that we’ll have to learn to navigate and deal with. As a Junior I wanted to share the most valuable lessons I have learned from my college experience to help incoming Freshmen have it a little easier.


1. You don’t have to have it all figured out on the first day

When I started college, I definitely had a plan of exactly how my college experience would go. But honestly, I was so wrong. So far in college I’ve changed my mind on my major about three times without actually switching my major and decided to go to graduate school and medical school about a dozen times. I also thought I’d make friends with my entire floor which did not happen and thought I’d absolutely hate my freshman roommate because of all the horror stories I’d heard but ended up absolutely loving her and becoming best friends. So for anyone nervous about starting college because they don’t know exactly what they want to do in life I’d say don’t sweat it. Don’t listen to all the scary myths. You will figure it out and everything will fall into place.

2. Making friends is not always as easy as we think it’ll be but it’s never impossible

When I first went to college I thought I would make so many friends immediately like I had in middle and high school. However this isn’t always the case in college. My freshman year I had a challenging time making friends because I didn’t have the same lifestyle as a lot of the people on my floor. But there are such a variety of people in college that even if you don’t get along with one group of people you 100% will with another. My sophomore year I made a really great group of friends by joining clubs and getting involved on campus and I found people who had similar interests and lifestyles as my own. 

3. A great way to meet people is to get involved on campus

Friends won’t just magically appear in your life and where as in high school a lot of friends were made in classes because you had the same schedule with the same people daily. College is not the same. It’s not as easy to make friends in a 200-person lecture hall you only go to twice a week. That's why joining clubs and other activities on campus is one of the best ways to make friends. Plus there is such a variety of clubs so you can always find one you’re interested in and even if you join one and realize you don’t like it as much as you thought you would you can always drop it the next semester and join another one.

4. Don’t go to college looking to find the love of your life

I know so many girls who went to college and expected immediately to find a significant other and get married the next year. However this shouldn’t be a priority! College is a time to live on your own and figure out your own life and if love is involved in that let it happen naturally don’t go searching it out intently and have it be your #1 priority. 

5. Study up and do well in those freshman and lower level classes 

Your classes will get harder as you advance through college and it will be more of a challenge to keep a good GPA your junior and senior year. That’s why you really should try to study up and get good grades in your freshman and lower level classes. I can tell you this is 100% true from personal experience. I didn’t put enough time into my academics my freshman year and ended up getting C’s in two classes that were really easy. Now I’m a junior retaking a freshman English class because of it. So don’t be like me in this regard and study up!

6. Have fun 

College is a time to explore living on your own. It’s the only time in your life where you are going to get the experience of having new classes and a new schedule every semester while having a decent amount of free time without a heavy load of responsibilities. So enjoy it. Make the best out of it and soak up every possible moment. Don’t spend it being sad and depressed over a relationship or because you failed an assignment. If stuff like that happens learn from it and move on. Don’t let it weigh you down. So just study and enjoy it.

7. Call your family or special people

Last but not least don’t forget about the important people in your life. Your parents and families miss you and they’ll always be there for you to talk and help you through hard stuff that happens. Some people come to college and just stop visiting and talking to their families. Don’t do this. If you do you’ll wish you didn’t one day. So call them weekly at least and have a thirty minute chat. Because they want to know how you are and how your life and college is going because they love and care about you more then you know. 

Erica Taylor is a biology pre-med major at the University of New Hampshire (Class of 2023). She enjoys reading and exercising in her spare time and also spending time in nature by hiking or even just getting out for an afternoon walk. She also enjoys watching Netflix and reading with her dog. Follow her on insta @ericanicoletaylor
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