College is a time for personal growth, intellectual expansion, and social exploration that will lay the foundation for the rest of your adult life, but for many, the experience presents serious challenges as well. It’s easy to get lost in the party scene, blow off classes, or feel like a little fish in a big pond, but whatever the fear, here are some quick tips proven to help make this transition as smooth as possible and get you situated for success.
For many, freshman year in college is their first time ever living away from their parents. This presents amazing opportunities for establishing a sense of independence, but it also the danger of losing focus. Too many starry-eyed freshman quickly become consumed by the freedom to stay out all night, smoke and drink without fear, and bring home whomever they wish, and then find themselves shocked when they rip open that first report card. To avoid this, be sure to maintain a healthy balance of work and play. Study hard during the week so you can let loose on the weekend, and you won’t have to worry about any tongue-lashings from mom & pop when they lay eyes on your grades.
When living in a dorm surrounded by hundreds of other students in the same boat, it’s easy to feel alone as a freshman, miles away from lifelong friends and family. This is why it’s so important to take an active role in establishing a social circle that first year of college. Many students take the backseat, expecting a sense of community to just spontaneously materialize, only to be dazed and confused months down the line when they don’t have any close friends.
Take the time to connect with your roommate, meet people in your hall, and be social in your classes. Oftentimes taking that first step of initiating conversation will attract people to you like a magnet, and make you more friends than you would’ve thought possible. Joining clubs or student organizations is a great way to meet people who already have similar interests to you. It can also be good to look at the people in your major. You might find you connect more with the English and History nerds than your roommate seeking an Ohio University Masters in coaching and athletic administration. Talk to others and find a place you seem to fit in best.
You’ve probably heard all the horror stories about Red-Bull soaked all-night study sessions, evil professors, and exams that make students go insane, and though elements of these stories may be true, it’s important not to get overwhelmed. It’s common for freshman to declare their major on day one, organize their daily schedule down to the nanosecond, and attempt to plan out the next ten years of their life, but none of this is really necessary. College is a time learn, but not at the cost of your health. Managing stress is an integral part of being successful, and the sooner you learn to relax into the flow of things, the sooner you will start really enjoying the experience.
So there you have it. These tips for a successful freshman experience will not only ensure you get the most out of that first pivotal year, but that you continue to maximize your college experience for every year to come.
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