1. Be authentic
Be authentic from the beginning. Otherwise, you’ll end up in some sticky situations. Sometimes it’s hard to be yourself at the start of college because you want to make as many friends as you can; you might even alter your personality in a way that you think will make more people like you. This can set you up to be surrounded by people who you’re not yourself around, or who you don’t like yourself around. Down the road you might feel stuck with these so-called “friends,” and the process of removing yourself from them can be tough – trust me. Of course, being authentic will prevent this. I know it’s cliche to say “be yourself,” but it’ll result in finding people who love you for who you really are.
2. Don’t waste your energy on unworthy things
People always tell you you need to have the “perfect college experience” – going to frat parties, getting drunk, skipping class, having a huge group of friends, wasting money, etc. If that doesn’t appeal to you, it’s not a problem! Don’t waste time doing things that you don’t want to do. During your first semester, it can be hard to find a balance between academic and social life. If you feel you need to cut out something you don’t enjoy doing, cut it out! For me, there were a few things my friends repetitively did that drained my energy, even though I felt like I had to attend. Getting over that mindset is hard, but it’s a lot more refreshing to put your energy into things you enjoy.
3. Find things to take up your time
It’s easy to get in a slump after the first couple of months of excitement about starting college diminishes. Classes have picked up and you’re not having as much fun anymore. When this happens, my best advice is to find things to take up your free time, no matter how small. It can seem like everyone else is always doing something, while you’re sitting in bed doing nothing. If you hate this feeling, try and branch out and maybe join a club you’re interested in! Start a routine where you try a new coffee shop every Wednesday. Go to a craft store and buy jewelry-making supplies. Pick up that half-read book you haven’t touched in months. Anything that can cure your boredom will make you feel more productive and accomplished.
4. Everybody is in the same position
As I said, it can be easy to think that literally everyone else is having the time of their life but you. You see groups of friends eating together, people at parties, and you wonder if you’re all alone in this. Remember: you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, and it’s okay to not have everything figured out. It takes a while to adjust to college, and while some people adjust in a couple of weeks, it might take someone else the entire first year. Whether you’re stressed about the people who seem to have an exuberant social life or the people who have the next ten years of their career already planned out, know that we are all figuring things out alongside each other. Everyone is on a different schedule, and there’s no right order.
5. You’ll always have moments of doubt
With all that being said, and I know this from personal experience, you might still have moments where you think you shouldn’t have made some decision or maybe you should’ve done something differently. Maybe you should’ve stayed in last night. Maybe you shouldn’t have skipped that class. Maybe you should change your major. At times you’ll be flooded with doubt. That’s normal! When we make difficult decisions, we often like to imagine what it would’ve been like had we done something else. I advise you to try your best to make decisions that you’ll be proud of and remind yourself that you always know what’s best for yourself.
**Edited by: Alana Andreuzzi