Freshman year is a lot of things. It’s community bathrooms, cafeteria food, uncomfortable mattresses and the first taste of college—a new adventure, to put it simply.
But, if there’s anything freshman year isn’t, it’s comfortable. Moving away from home, not seeing friends and family nearly as often as before and studying all night for a test are not things incoming freshman are used to.
If it is nothing else, freshman year is a year of learning. Finding new friends, creating a healthy sleeping schedule (or not) and trying not to lose their way going to class are only a few challenges new students face.
However, most of the new information is learned outside the classroom. This information applies to their lives in the long run.
I’ve created a list of five things that freshman year has taught me in hopes to reach out to all students, whether it be other freshmen, new students or upperclassmen to show the significance of freshman year and how it can actually shape the entire college experience.
Find people who make you laugh.
It’s very easy to feel lonely, especially being thrown into new situations. College is no exception, even if there are hundreds of people in your same position.
Everyone handles stress differently, but, in order to survive the first year of college, you must find your own group of friends. This is a lot easier said than done, but I find that I like hanging out with people who make me laugh, not people who try to get a laugh out of everyone.
There are a lot of cruel and attention-hungry people in the world. Make sure to separate people into two categories: those who love the attention and those who give attention to love.
Know your limitations
A lot of freshman students struggle with this. Everything from passing classes to finding new friends to making sure you’re at the gym once in awhile can play a major part in how you handle stress.
Taking breaks is necessary. It’s important to understand how much stress from one aspect of life can affect the way you handle everything. Go on a walk, listen to music, take a nap—anything that will take your mind off responsibilities will help. Homework will be there when you get back.
This isn’t an excuse to fall behind, though. Staying on top of assignments and studying regularly for classes is equally as important. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you can only do what you’re capable of.
This lesson has a much deeper meaning than it implies. You will not be studying for tests your entire life. You won’t have to use shower shoes forever. You won’t even have to see certain people ever again if you choose—and you don’t have to dread the entire experience.
It’s not ideal to eat the same foods repetitively. It’s not exciting to watch Netflix everyday after class. It’s not fun living in tiny dorm rooms for nine months.
However, it is fun to meet friends you will hold close to you forever. It is awesome to experience life outside your hometown. It’s even fantastic to see how far you’ve come from the first day you stepped foot on campus. Take advantage of the opportunities in front of you. Eventually, they will not be there to complain about.
Be prepared for class
I cannot stress this one enough. It’s not enough to show up to class and expect to get anything out of it.
It’s essential to come prepared. Without a pen, paper or a clear head, it is impossible to benefit from the class. Most classes require attention for the entire time. Even if it’s unrealistic for every student to be fully engaged, it will help you in the long run to learn the importance of preparation for things you’re not particularly excited about.
Getting to class is just as important as doing the work. Most professors take attendance points that can affect the entire class grade if a person is not present. There are days when going to class is harder than others, I understand that, but it will help you more to go to class and try to understand the concepts rather than sitting in your bed watching Netflix.
Finally, pay attention in class. Going to class is useless if you’re sitting on your phone, creeping through social media the entire time. You’re paying to go to college. Too often students throw away their money for classes they do not attend or pay attention in. Class will help your future immensely, even if you don’t believe it. You learn new things everyday, but it’s not as appealing to us if learning is in a controlled environment.
Enjoy your time left
Since the school year is almost complete, it is easy to wish the rest of the time away. Sitting in a classroom when it’s not snowing out can be hard to do, and class never seems ideal when the sun is shining.
However, this is arguably the most important part of your college experience. The final moments before summer are often what most people remember about college, especially freshman year, simply because it is the most recent and fresh in their memory.
Make sure to include time for yourself in these final days of the semester. School is not all about studying. Your mental stability is more important than any test grade.
Hailey Kline is the Lifestyles Editor and can be reached at [email protected]