Goodbye high school: hello real-life responsibilities. Going off to college can be an exciting time; however, it does involve major lifestyle changes. One’s first year of college can be intimidating no matter what age he or she is.
While this new atmosphere can be challenging and demanding at times, there are ways to ease the transition so one’s college experience can begin in the best way. There are many people whose first year of college is a nightmare, but it does not have to be; with preparation and organization, college can be effective and beneficial.
During the hectic first year of college, freshmen are thrown into a new life and expected to know how everything works. Suddenly, there are no parents hovering around to monitor every move and remind you of your responsibilities. Classes are in different buildings and on different days, and many teachers do not take attendance. At the same time, everything is new, including the thousands of people surrounding you. The best ways to adapt are to make the goal of getting out of your comfort zone by joining clubs, a sport, or other groups.
Also, making it a priority to set aside a specific time for school work and being sure to attend as many functions as possible. Most colleges have clubs or groups for almost any interest but if there is not a group for something you feel there should be, you can request the school to create one. Extracurricular activities are the places where you will meet friends that will last a lifetime, so take a chance and enjoy the experience while you can. They also provide an opportunity to connect with upperclassmen that can help you with things they have already been through or answer questions you have.
To begin with, before classes start you need to prepare yourself, and your family for the changes that lie ahead. The shift from high school to college is hard for everyone, whether you are moving across the country or going to the state school thirty minutes from home. For the majority of freshman, this is the first time they have lived away from their parents, and it is not unusual to feel eager and nervous at the same time. Once you are settled into your tiny dorm room which you have tried to make as “homey” as possible, your life back at home can fade into the back of your mind. This is the first time you have been away from home; do not be afraid to call your parents and check in with your friends because they are always there to listen or lend some advice. Take one day at a time and be yourself. You may feel like you are not as smart or talented than the people you meet but that is not true; you have something to add to the table too. It may be hard to get outside of your comfort zone, but in the end you will never regret doing that.
After classes start, you will have to learn to manage your time in a hasty manner. Create a study schedule during the first few days of the semester and designate time for studying each week. For example, make an effort to do at least one hour of studying each day for every class and then work in some social time, so your course load will not overwhelm you. Often, students have to learn large amounts of detailed information in a short amount of time. If you devote a small amount of time daily to study, you will become much more successful than if you try to cram the night before an exam. To become a successful college student, you must attend classes daily, ask questions in class, and review lecture notes; just because you can skip classes does not mean you should. College is filled with numerous months of writing tedious essays and having the anxiety that accompanies meeting tight deadlines, but by following these simple time management skills, the stress can be greatly reduced.
College is a time for experiences and learning where you will have fun and possibly make mistakes. Do not forget to cherish every minute because time will pass before you know it, and you will be a college graduate looking for what is next in your hopeful and exciting future. Be patient, be happy, and do not forget to thank the people who helped you get where you are.