Every incoming freshman has some kind of anxiety or nerves before going off to college for the first time. And who can blame them? There are so many unknowns. “Who are my friends going to be?” “What am I going to major in?” “How am I supposed to keep my clothes clean when my parents are 8 hours away?” These are all questions that incoming freshman ask every day. I think that it’s fairly safe to say that everybody has to make some adjustments when coming to college, but there is no need to worry about it! Why is that you ask? Because I’m going to give you a short, simple guide that I’ve implemented in my own life that has not only helped me to survive these adjustments, but to thrive in the college environment.
Leave Your Door Open
Most people coming to college don’t exactly know who their friends are going to be. I know this was something that I worried about coming to school. I’m naturally somewhat shy and reserved so I’m not necessarily one to walk right up and introduce myself. However, I knew I wanted friends. So what did I do? I left my door open! It’s just that simple. In college, an open door, especially during the first few weeks of school, is considered an invitation to come hang out or meet people. By leaving my door open when I wasn’t busy doing things, people felt much more comfortable stopping by to say hey! One important thing to remember is that most people are feeling the same way about wanting to make friends, so if you are more outgoing walk around and meet the people on your hall. It makes for a lot more fun college experience if you’re close with all the guys/girls on your hall.
For many of you college may be the first time that you have had to share a room with someone. This is a difficult adjustment for many people, but can turn out fine if handled the right way. In any good relationship, communication is key. The same is true in your roommate relationship. It’s not easy to share your space or stuff with other people especially if you’ve never had to do it before. However, communicating with your roommate on what your expectations are and then listening to their expectations can alleviate tension in the room. Problems will arise at some point in time so communicating your feelings and being conscientious of one another can allow for a healthy and fun roommate relationship.
An important aspect to having a complete college experience is getting involved. Many things in life including college are what you make it. If you sit in your room by yourself and don’t do anything, then more than likely you won’t enjoy college very much. However, coming from someone who is involved in many different activities and organizations, I can attest that the more involved you are, the more you will enjoy college. You will get a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. So whether it’s playing intramural sports, running for Student Government, or joining a service club or social tribe, just do something! You’re college experience will be greatly improved as a result of it!
Class Is Important
One of the hardest adjustments to make when coming to college is actually getting up to go to class and study. There are so many fun things going on in college that it is very easy to procrastinate (see my good friend Lauren White’s post on procrastinating here) and not make schoolwork a priority. It’s even harder when you don’t have your parents waking you up every morning making to go to school. However, it is important to remember that, while you certainly do want to have a good time in college, the main reason for being here is to get an education and as a result going to class is very important. Often times the amount of effort and work you put into your classes are directly related to how successful you are in those classes. So allow yourself to succeed by going to class and setting aside ample amounts of time to study. Both your grades and your parents will thank you for it!
While there are certainly many aspects to having a great college experience, one of the most important is to make sure you have fun. Schoolwork and campus involvement are both great things to focus on, but also allow yourself to hang out with friends, go to on campus events, and enjoy whatever other fun activities may be going on! Enjoy being a college student while you have the opportunity to and it really can be the best time of your life!
-Zack Campbell, Sophomore Telecounselor