Entering my third year at el Colegio, I took a moment to step back and contemplate the things I’ve learned during my time in college. Although I can’t yet be considered a “fossil” and older students might still see me as a freshman, my two years at UPRM have made me realize an abundance of things, and through this article I want to share what I consider to be the top seven things to know for your first year of college.
1. No one cares that you are a prepa.
As a freshman, a fear that is commonly installed upon you is that people will hunt you down for being a “prepa”. But, the reality is that no one really cares that you’re a freshman. At most, you’ll receive side-eyes if you do something rather prepa-ish, but no one is going to be hunting you down to scream at you or throw barbasol on you.
2. People are rude, but most are willing to help.
Even though no one is going to hunt you down for being a prepa, you may receive the possible snarky comment if you ask a question that is considered “common knowledge”. But, these are people you shouldn’t be around with so pay them no mind, shake it off, and ask the next person; you’ll find that many people are willing to help you on campus.
3. It’s okay to not hang-out.
In my freshman year, one of my greatest grievances was that I didn’t participate in the jangueo everyone around me was talking about. In fact, at times I felt like me not doing that lost me potential friendships. But I learned that it’s okay to not like to hang out in that way and, contrary to popular belief, you can have a social life that does not include that.
4. Academic plans change.
No one can give a foolproof plan for college. Although having a set vision for what you want from your academic experience and where you want to go is great, as your time in college progresses you’ll see that at times a lot of it is just based on hope and making decisions you didn’t plan ahead. College is a time for experimenting, so be open for possible changes in your personal and career goals.
5. You do not have to follow your curriculum exactly how it is constructed.
At the start of your freshman year you’ll receive your major’s curriculum that contains all of the credits you need in order to graduate. But, keep in mind that you do not have to follow it as it is written; it is actually recommended that you organize your credits to fit your capacities, in a way that benefits your academic performance.
6. You don’t have to stay somewhere you don’t like.
At the start of my college life, I joined a lot of student organizations and groups. And by a lot, I mean a lot. I wanted to experience new things, but I soon realized that many of the things I had joined did not fill me or contribute to my growth; I became extremely unhappy and dissatisfied. After a while, I decided to leave everything that I didn’t like and can now honestly say that my college life is great. Be it a major, an organization, or even a group of friends, you do not have to stay somewhere that impedes your growth as a college student.
7. Life comes at you fast. Super hard.
This is something that was always said to me, but I never gave it much thought until I actually experienced it. I’m not sure if there’s some sort of cosmic fate planted in each of us at the start of our freshman year, but college life moves fast and you’ll often find yourself facing a new situation each day. But, keep in mind each experience in college helps build the base in which you’ll stand in your future life, both personal and professional. So, don’t fret and keep moving!