The College Freshman Survival Guide
Trust me, a lot of us are nervous and stressed about starting college, you’re not alone! That’s completely normal, so don’t worry about not fitting in or balancing your school and social life; I’ll give you some advice!
Take a Manageable Course Load: First, enroll in courses that are needed for your major. Check the pre-requisites and details for each course (semester-long or year-long course). This will prevent any future stress, especially if you plan on going to graduate school. Do not take 8AM courses unless necessary, this isn’t highschool and you probably don’t want to go to a lecture that early. Lastly, make sure to have some variety in content: if you’re a STEM major, maybe add a social science course.
Take Advantage of Resources: If you’re having any issues relating to mental health due to school or other factors, there are resources available. Student health services, academic advisors, and counselors are available; don’t be ashamed to seek help, it means that you’re a strong person. Take advantage of these resources, your tuition pays for them!
Communicate w/ your Professor and use their Office Hours: Establish relationships with your professors: this will help you in the long-run. They can become your research advisors, they can provide letters of recommendation for internships later in college, and letters of evaluation for medical school/graduate school. If you do not understand a concept, write that down and ask the professor after class or during office hours. You’ll be able to get one-on-one time and if you’re nervous about speaking up in class, this is the perfect solution.
Socialize! Socialize Socialize!: Don’t stay in your dorm all day: there are people that you’re going to vibe with and you don’t want to throw those opportunities away! Your courses come before socialization, but make sure to have mental breaks. Get to know the people on your dorm floor, you can leave your door open while watching a movie for example, it shows that you’re welcoming and want to meet people. This for sure will bring some interesting conversations and new friends. Lastly, these people can be your study buddies and you can work together and lessen the stress of courses.
Be Involved, Join Clubs: Join clubs that you’re interested in. Whether it’d be club sports, debate, or ethnic groups; do something that you enjoy! There are so many clubs and you’ll find at least a handful that you’ll be interested in. However, do not spread yourself too thin-- do those you really enjoy-- remember you academics come before clubs. Also, this is also a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and establish new friendships.
Befriend Upperclassmen: Don’t be afraid to befriend upperclassmen; college isn’t like high school. Upperclassmen have all of the answers that you are looking for. They can provide you with advice and they can introduce you to some new social scenes.
Establish Rules and Respect Boundaries w/ Your Roommate: If you have a roommate, it’s a great idea to establish rules so there will not be any arguments. This includes an agreement over having guests over, allowing each other to have quiet time, the splitting of chores, etc. Respect their boundaries, allow them to have privacy, do not borrow things without permission, and do not take their food. You’re going to be with your roommate for a big chunk of your day, so it’s best to have a good relationship.
Maintain a Healthy Sleep Hygiene: Sleep is very important for our brains; it affects our ability to remember and it also affects our mood. Turn off electronic devices at least an hour before you sleep; the blue light affects your body ability to produce melatonin, a hormone that induces sleepiness. Make your environment dark, quiet, relaxing, and cool. If your dorm does not have AC, you can purchase a fan or a personal fan and attach it to your loft. Sleep at the same time, wake up at the same time, and sleep at least 7-9 hours per night. You’ll be refreshed and in a good mood-- not only that, but you’ll do better in your courses!
Stay In Touch w/ Family: There’s so many things that are happening in college that you may feel like you don’t have time to call them. But there are things that are going on at home, and your family misses you and wants to hear from you. This is the best way to prevent homesickness. Call them, whether it’d be multiple times a day, everyday, or every week.