Tomorrow I begin my Sophomore year of college, and I have to say Freshman year was gone in the blink of an eye. I wanted to write this post to help calm the nerves of some of you who are about to start college and also as a reflection of my freshman year and what I learned.
For starters, I promise college isn't that scary. Maybe you're not nervous at all and you're just super excited and if that's the case, good for you. If you are anything like I was, you are really nervous and have no idea what to expect. As you begin the school year, know that everyone you meet is currently in the same boat as you or was at one point. Everyone has been a freshman.
I promise classes aren't that scary. Talk to the people you're sitting around, chances are you will find something in common with them and almost everyone is eager to have someone to talk to in the beginning of the semester. Who knows, you might even make a friend.
Be a "Yes Man." Take advantage of every major opportunity that comes your way. If someone asks if you want to go to some type of welcome week activity, go! If someone asks if you want to join a club, do it! Always ask yourself "Why not?" and "What's the worst thing that could happen?" Don't be afraid to put yourself out there because that's what college is all about.
Get involved from the very beginning of the year. If there is any type of organization or group that you are thinking of joining, join from the very first opportunity you have. While it's easy to tell yourself that you will join once you get settled or you will become more involved second semester, its so much easier to just join from the beginning of the year. Last year I didn't get involved in the beginning of the year and it was so much harder for me to get involved halfway through the year.
Stay on top of your school work. Everyone will tell you this but its so true. Once your grades start to slip its very hard (though not always impossible) to get them back up. And take advantage of teachers' office hours. This was one of the most important things I learned all year. I was told this a million times but it took me really struggling in a class to actually go see a teacher during office hours. If you go in and at least introduce yourself to your teacher from the beginning and then go to them for help when you need it, it will really help you in the long run. When a teacher knows you are trying they are much more willing to help you out later in the year.
It's okay to not be perfect. First semester I learned the hard way that no matter how hard I tried, I can't always have perfect grades. Learning this took so much pressure off of me, that I didn't even realize I was putting on myself. In high school I put so much pressure on myself to take only the hardest classes and to have perfect grades. I realized once I got to college that the important thing is to do your absolute best and that's all you can do.
Go out and meet people. Take yourself out of your comfort zone. I am generally really shy at first so this was very hard for me last year. The thing is though, when you're a freshman, everyone is going out and trying to meet people. No one has a really established friend group yet. By the end of the year your friend group will probably change significantly but some of the people you meed in the beginning of the year will be your lifelong friends. I made one of my very best friends in the beginning of last year.
This is really long already so let me add one more thought: College is the time when you will probably change the most out. You will grow up and you will become the person you're going to be. That being said, take this time to think about who it is that you really want to be. This is your chance to become who you've always wanted to be. No preconceived ideas of who you were in high school. No reputations left over from something you did or the person you were in grade school. Just be yourself and recognize that not everyone will love you for it but most people will at least respect you for it. People will respect you for being true to yourself and for not compromising what you believe in to fit in. In college, people are much more accepting of who you are so be yourself. Always.
|Here's a picture of my from my first day of Freshman year.|