Stepping onto a college campus for the first time can be a difficult feat. Freshman year brings a lot of uncertainty and questions with little experience to help.
I was in that same place two years ago. Leaving home and not knowing what the next year entailed was a horrifying thought.
There were a lot of things that helped this transition, like stepping out of my comfort zone to talk to new people and getting involved both on and off campus.
But if you are anything like me, then doing too much is sometimes a problem. Finding a healthy balance between work, clubs, friends and homework is the key to having a successful year.
Freshman year is a sort of test run for the remaining years in college. People learn what they can handle and what their limit for activities is.
I used freshman year as a chance to get involved as much as possible, which is how I function best as a student. I love staying busy, while some people enjoy free time and not being tied down to too many clubs or organizations. The beautiful thing is that this looks different for every person.
One problem that arose from having a lot on my plate meant that my sleep schedule was not the best. It was nonexistent, really. My motto for my first year of school was, “I can sleep when I’m dead,” which is great for getting homework done but horrible when trying to get moving the next day.
As I mentioned, freshman year is really a learning opportunity. I became aware that I cannot do everything and that I had to pick and choose what was most worth my time. It is hard to say no to people and to cut things out of packed schedules, but it is important to having a healthy mindset and a manageable semester.
This year, I am going to be a junior, which means that I have mostly learned how to prioritize my time to avoid running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I still sometimes struggle with saying no to certain activities or organizations, but I have gotten better about knowing myself and what a manageable schedule looks like.
Hopefully the following tips will help incoming freshmen have a great first-year experience.
Find people who share similar hobbies, but don’t be afraid to branch out
Joining student-run organizations is a great way to find people who are interested in the same hobbies or topics as you. I recommend finding one group that could boost and promote creativity in the fields that you enjoy, but also don’t just be confined to what you are comfortable with. Getting to know people who are interested in different things can lead to new knowledge and experiences that could help you personally grow. Find people who are similar to you, but also branch out. You might be surprised what you learn about yourself.
Don’t overbook yourself
Since there are many things to do on and off campus, it can be easy to fill your entire schedule from sunrise to sunset. Learn what you are capable of and prioritize your time so that you can enjoy every part of your day. Take a moment to slow down and breathe. It’s key that you remember to have some alone time to decompress and relax because your mental health is just as crucially important as your physical health.
Go to bed
You will be able to accomplish so much more when a good sleep schedule is put into play. Only stay up until 2 a.m. if it is absolutely necessary for that paper to be written, but otherwise put away distractions and rest your head. You will wake up feeling prepared to be productive, trust me.