5 Reasons the First Month of College is So Important

Starting your freshman year of college is one of the most terrifying, exciting, nerve-wracking things you’ll ever do. However, it’s important not to let it go by without paying close attention to the new skills you’re learning and ideas you’re forming along the way. Here are just five reasons your first month of college is one of the most crucial times of your young adult life:

1. You learn how to take care of yourself.

As is the situation for many young adults, this is the first time you’ve been completely responsible for your own well-being. There’s no one to remind you to take a study break, get out of your room for a couple hours, or to go to bed at a reasonable time. In the first couple of weeks, you go through trial and error as you establish a self-care routine that works for you: when to shower, when to do your laundry, when to have the occasional Netflix and facemask night. Being in charge of your physical and mental health is a lot of responsibility, but with some practice, you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

2. You meet people that have grown up with different backgrounds, cultures, and opportunities.

For the first eighteen years of your life, you’ve pretty much seen the same people from the same places every single day. Now, your roommate is from the west coast, your friend in math told you they’ve been living in Europe for the last five years, and your crush has the cutest southern accent. While it can be exciting to meet new people, there’s no doubt it’s overwhelming to be surrounded by individuals whose lives look so different from your own. It’s important to remember to embrace these differences, even if they make you uncomfortable! Take the opportunity to learn about a place or culture that you don’t know much about. College becomes a much more welcoming space once you embrace each day and situation with an open mind.

3. You’re given a taste of what it’s like to be “an adult.”

Looking for job opportunities on campus, resisting the urge to splurge on a new top, taking Ubers around the city: the list goes on and on! These are just some of the things you’ll learn to manage once arriving at college. In addition to your new financial responsibilities, there are new cleanliness habits you’ll have to address as well. How often should I do my laundry? What do I do if my computer isn’t working and I have assignments due? Where’s the vacuum cleaner again? All of these will (hopefully!) be answered as you get more settled into your new environment.

4. You get a crash course in time management.

At first, it seems like there can be no downside to having just three hours of class a day. By 1 p.m. you’re done and have the rest of the day to yourself! While that might be true, your “free time” isn’t exactly what it appears to be. You learn quickly how to use that time to get your assignments done, study for exams, join extracurriculars, go to the gym, all while saving a little time to hang out with your friends. There’s no doubt that this is one of the largest adjustments incoming freshmen have to make. However, once you get into the swing of things, it’s all smooth sailing from there.

5. You’re given the chance to start over (if that’s what you want to do).

If you want to try out something new, now is the best possible time. You might decide to audition for an acapella group, join the juggling club, or try your hand in Student Union: anything is possible! Say goodbye to the limits of high school resources or the predisposed ideas of what activities are “worth your time.” College is the perfect place to explore new things that interest you.