5 Things I Learned During My Freshman Year
Advice from a 4th-year student.
Advocate for yourself
Throughout high school, you constantly have people telling you and reminding you of what you have to do and what you should do. College is very different in that aspect. During my first year, I learned that I need to have my best interest in mind and make decisions that would help and not hinder my career plans. I guess what I’m trying to say is take other people’s suggestions into consideration but keep in mind what is best for you and do what you think is right.
I’m sure you’ve heard from every teacher you’ve ever had about how important time management is in college, but they are telling you that for a reason. I always thought of myself as a very organized person in high school, but I quickly realized that was because I constantly had people around me keeping me accountable. College classes are a lot less structured, therefore leaving you with more time on your hands than you’re used to. An important thing to remember is that for each hour of class time you should be setting aside about 2 hours of study time per week (and then some extra during finals and before big exams). What helped me the most was to schedule almost my entire day. Sticking to a routine made me feel less overwhelmed and more productive. On the plus side, if I finished my assignments early or didn’t have much to study on a certain day, I would get some extra free time. In turn, my schedule motivated me to complete my work as soon as possible and made life a lot less stressful.
Along with time management finding a good work/life balance during your first year is very important. College is all about learning, but classes and studying should not be the only aspects of your life. Making time for relaxation and a social life is so important for your mental and physical health. A good way to make sure your life is balanced is to put free time into your schedule and let yourself take breaks if you are feeling overwhelmed. If you feel like you have spent the last three weekends studying for exams and doing homework, it’s okay to take the next weekend to clear your schedule and leave those two days open for less stressful activities. This is a task that is easier said than done, but the sooner in your college career, you can find that balance the easier the rest of your years will be.
How to study
I don’t know about the high school you went to, but at my high school as long as you paid attention in class and did your homework you didn’t have to do much studying outside of class. So, for me, college was a little bit of a shock. During my freshman year, it took me some time to figure out where the best place was for me to study and what methods of studying works best for me. One tip I have for you is to take the first couple of weeks to try out all different types of locations and study styles to see what combination works best for you.
Try new things
This one took me some time when I first got to college. I had my mindset on what I liked and didn’t like to do and what I envisioned for my life, so it took me a while to realize how important it is to step outside your comfort zone and experience new things while you have the chance. Once I adopted more of an open mind to activities around campus, I found myself becoming interested in things I never thought I would like. So, take advantage of student clubs and campus activities to expand your horizons and find new interests. Clubs and activities are also a great way to meet new people and mingle outside of your social circle.