Alright freshman, listen up. Your first year of college can be one of the greatest years of your life. It can also ruin your entire college experience. As someone who has been around the block a time or two, I feel it’s my duty as an upperclassman to help you out and try to prevent a walking freshman stereotype from invading my campus. Now, open your textbooks and pay attention, there might be a pop quiz after.
Tip 1: Go to class
I realize this is the first time in your life that you have the freedom to choose how to spend your time. The easiest thing you can do to improve your grades is actually going to class. If you show up, it gives you a chance to know what’s going on and ultimately pass. It’s ok to miss a few classes here and there, but try to not make it a habit. I’ve seen too many people fail easy courses because they didn’t go to the lectures.
Tip 2: Get involved, but don’t go crazy
The skills you learn from extracurriculars can be just as important as the ones you learn in the classroom. From the guitar club to your school paper to Greek life—you can gain leadership skills while making new friends. Strike a balance of school and clubs by getting involved with one organization within your major and one outside of your major.
Tip 3: Face your fears
College is a new time to explore the unknown. Being open for anything is essential. Don’t be afraid to try new things with people you have just met—dress up for the football games, take the train into town, go to open mic night. The more things you try, the more you learn about yourself. College is a time to become the person you want to be and possibly realize who you have been all along.
Tip 4: Explore your college town
Coming from South Dakota, attending a school in Missouri, I barely knew my surroundings. Every Monday of my freshman year, I had a couple free hours after classes so I went to a new place to eat downtown or stepped into a new shop. Getting to know your college town helps you acclimate to what will be your new home for the next 4 (or more) years of your life.
Tip 5: Find your niche
While meeting new people can be fun and exciting, finding a tight-knit group of friends helps with anything college throws at you. It can be members of your dorm floor, friends from home, friends from a club on campus or friends anywhere who make you feel like part of a group.
Tip 6: Use your resources, but build up your weaknesses
Everyone’s personality gives them advantages, and playing off these advantages helps in a new environment. Still, improving on aspects you lack is just as important. If you’re an introvert, new social activities may seem scary, but they will greatly help you. If you love socializing but have sub-par grades, take more time to study. After all, the school part of college is why you’re here.
Tip 7: Be persistent
The worst feeling you can experience during college is rejection. Persistence can only help you with school, and it’s the best way to rid yourself of this awful feeling. Even if someone tells you that you aren’t good enough, anything is possible as long as you stay hungry and determined.
Tip 8: Failure is okay
Don’t be worried about falling short a few times during college; it’s going to happen. While it may be difficult to embrace failure, it could lead to something greater. Failure gives you motivation and a reason to work harder, so bad grades can lead to academic success. Just remember it’s not the end of the world if you fall short of your own expectations.
Tip 9: Don’t be afraid to ask questions
College is a new and interesting time; it’s okay to be a little lost. Whenever you feel in over your head, find an academic advisor or tutor, they will know what to do. If you don’t ask questions, you’re preventing yourself from growing, which is one of the main reasons for going to college. Remember, there are no stupid questions, unless you ask me how to find the library. It’s right there.
Tip 10: Have fun – you only do this once
Freshman year can be either the best or worst year of your life, depending on what you make of it. The classes only get more difficult, and in a couple of years, you will wish you had done more socially while your homework was one paragraph instead of 15 pages. And the real world is even scarier, so live it up while you can. No one remembers the night they stayed in their room studying.
Well class, that’s all for today. I hope you took notes, because this will never happen again, much like the years you will spend in college.
(Main photo via quickmeme.com)
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