Going into college you’re given a lot of advice from those that love you and those that have, as they say, “been there, done that”. Each tip will help you through your college years whether that’s from the first day on campus or your last final as a senior, however there really is no way to fully prepare someone for this new chapter in life. Looking back, there are some things I would like to tell my freshman-self as well as each first-year college student as they begin this wild new ride.
Don’t be afraid to fail.
Nobody is perfect and with all of the newness that surrounds you, it’s okay to fail. The exams are harder, the classes are different, and it takes some time to get into your groove when it comes to study habits. That first midterm exam may be your first taste of failure (it was for me), but I promise you will recover and laugh about it later.
Don’t let anyone guilt you about this ‘failure’ you will know exactly how hard you worked or how hard you didn’t, own it, accept it and move on!
Although it takes time to find what study habits will work for you, work hard to find those habits. Go to the library, your dorm room, try studying alone or with a buddy. But find your groove before it’s too late.
Don’t be too proud to ask if you are struggling, study groups, tutors, academic skills centers…these are part of your tuition, use them!
Studying is important, yes, it’s why you’re at school in the first place. But your world has room for fun. One of my fondest memories of my freshman year is a concert my roommate and I went to on a Wednesday, even though we both had really early Thursday mornings. Make time for school, but make time for memories.
Those of you that know me, know that I have every drawer exploding with clothes (I’m a hoarder). If college dorm rooms taught me anything it’s that you do not need to bring every cute sundress you have, you WILL be wearing leggings and a sweatshirt 4/5 days to class. It’s the comfortable reality of the matter.
College is the chance to find yourself and where you fit into this world. Use your freshman year to explore. Take classes that sound interesting, talk to people not in your “circle”, join a student org. This is your chance to set the stepping stones for your future, you literally have the freedom to lay those stones in any direction…cool!
Get to know at least one other person on your floor really well, this isn’t about escaping your roommate, it is about where you turn when you are wrapped in a towel and locked out.
Find ‘your people’ chances are you will meet them through a friend of a friend and once you discover each other and embark on one or two adventures, you will just know. They are your new home.
Keep yourself healthy.
Ahh Ian’s Pizza…you are my weakness. But for real, college is full of some yummy foods which are okay on occasion, but watch your habits. It’s extremely easy to fall out of your everyday workout routine, especially after a long day of classes but make time to keep your body healthy, you’ll be thankful for that down the road.
Health is more than physical.
As I’ve said, college is full of changes. It can be difficult to adapt and become completely comfortable with all of the new things around you. As important as it is to stay physically healthy it is important to make sure you are also working on your mental health. Don’t study too hard or put too many pressures on yourself, it’s okay to take a Netflix day when you need it. Or to call your parents to just to give them your ups and downs.
CALL YOUR PARENTS.
Not just for them, but for you too. Step out of your comfort zone and explore your independence, but also remember who stuck by you for 18 years to get you to this awesome new place in life. They will love it, and hearing my mom and dad’s voice on the other end of the phone will always leave me with a full heart.
Don’t walk alone at night or be too trusting. College isn’t scary as long as you are being smart and being safe. The buddy system is a good idea for both 2nd graders and 2nd year college students.
Staying healthy is great, but sometimes you just need a big old burger from the Nitty Gritty. Do it. Sometimes a bad day can be solved with a new pair of shoes. Don’t forget to give yourself a break.
There is so much more I want to share, but this is just a start. To all of the college freshman who have been moving in this week…enjoy it. It goes by so fast, that dorm room may seem too small to even move, but you’ll miss those nights eating Toppers on the floor with your roommate. Explore your campus and all it has to offer. And remember this new chapter is about YOU, make it a great one.
Dream Big, Skylar