Huzzah! You’re officially a college freshman, and you’ve got the world at your fingertips. Freshman year is a time of significant changes and novel experiences, which can be exciting, yet stressful.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry. We’ve put together a list of our top 6 tips for new college students to help make the first year as smooth sailing as possible.
- Get Out There and Meet People
Socializing with strangers can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re shy or introverted. But there’s no better time than your freshman year to get out of your comfort zone! Getting to know your dorm mates is the easiest way to start connecting with others when you first get to college. These people are just like you—brand new on campus and eager to develop friendships.
Once you’ve gotten comfortable with the people you’re living with, it’s time to expand your circle. Consider joining a university club or organization to get involved in activities you enjoy. For example, becoming a part of a sorority or fraternity is a fantastic way to build a bond with others who share similar interests and goals.
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- Develop Time Management Skills
Many college students struggle with mastering time management. Your schedule is largely self-defined, and there’s no one telling you what to do or where to be. But to succeed, you must be able to balance all of your classes, extracurricular activities, and homework assignments.
Proper planning is the key to managing your time. If a big project is coming up, give yourself plenty of time to complete it before the deadline. Accounting for hiccups along the way minimizes stress and allows you to think clearly.
Let’s say you have a research paper due next week. If you start today, you’ll have plenty of time to ask your professor for help or clarification on the assignment if needed. But if you wait until the last minute, you’ll scramble to finish the project and risk not doing as well as you could.
- Move Your Body
Between classes, homework, and extracurriculars, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have time to exercise. However, moving your body is vital for good mental and physical health. Here are some ideas on how to fit exercise into your busy schedule:
- Work out at the gym first thing in the morning before your classes.
- Walk around campus during lunchtime and soak in some sun.
- Play sports with friends on the weekends.
Tip: Challenge yourself to make exercise fun. By finding an activity that you love, you’ll more likely stick to it (and it will feel less like a chore)!
- Go to Office Hours
Attending office hours is a smart way to get to know your professors and discuss coursework. College classes are often much bigger than high school ones. So, it might not be possible for professors to answer every student’s questions during class. If you’re confused about any material, it’s best to visit your professor during office hours and get clarification. Being proactive about this from the start will prevent you from falling behind. Most professors have specific office hours, so make sure to check with them before going in.
- Take Advantage of Campus Resources
A college education is not just about going to class and taking exams. It provides a myriad of opportunities for personal growth and development, too. Campus resources can help you achieve your academic, professional, and lifestyle goals. For example:
- The library has a wealth of books, journals, and databases on various topics. Need to find something specific? Talk to a librarian—they’re there to help!
- Computer labs are available for student use throughout the day. If you don’t have access to your computer, this may be the best resource for completing homework and other academic tasks online.
- Career centers offer workshops and events about job hunting, resume building, networking with professionals, and more.
- Health centers provide basic health care services like flu shots and physicals at affordable prices.
- Counseling centers are there for students who may need extra help getting settled into college or simply want someone to confide in.
- Establish a Healthy Sleep Schedule
It’s not always easy to get enough sleep as a college freshman, but it’s critical to your health and well-being. Your body needs time to rest. If you don’t give yourself this time, you’ll start to feel the effects of it.
Research has shown that students who get enough sleep earn better grades than their sleep-deprived peers. A healthy sleep schedule helps you stay alert, focused, and productive while keeping your immune system strong and happy.
One way to make sure that you’re getting enough sleep is by setting up a routine. You can do this by waking up and going to bed at the same time every day, even on weekends and holidays. It might feel like torture at first. But once it becomes a habit, staying on top of it becomes a breeze.
Make the Most of Your Freshman Year
Transitioning from high school to college can be tough. You may feel homesick, miss your family back at home, and struggle with acclimating to this new chapter of life. But by putting these tips into practice, you’ll be well on your way to excelling in college and beyond.