When moving into college, you might ask yourself, “How am I going to survive this?”
Well, the answer you probably don’t want to hear, but what many people say, is, “Barely.” College is an extremely new, stressful, and exhausting experience where you question everything you’ve ever known, your ability to learn and your ability to be independent. Being a freshman already a couple weeks into the semester, I wanted to share some tips that would help incoming, or current freshman, try to survive college and classes with this “How to Survive College” guide.
I’m not an expert, I’ve only had a limited amount of time spent here so far, but there are some very specific things I’ve learned during my time here:
- Don’t let your classes or ability to learn a specific topic bring you down. In high school, you may have been in the top 10% of your class, the valedictorian, a straight A student, but college is a lot different, and so are the expectations from professors. Don’t lose all motivation, but lower your expectations for yourself. From failing or getting a bad grade, you can only improve yourself, so don’t set your standards too high. Know that it’s okay to not understand something right away, like philosophy and the meaning of life, because let’s be real, no one really knows the answer to anything related to those topics. It’s only your first semester, and although it’s hard taking classes not oriented around your major, remember that the CORE is meant to make you well rounded, and the sooner you get through the CORE classes, the sooner you’ll be happy.
- Take time for yourself. Yes, you may have a boyfriend/girlfriend, new friends, your family back home, but it’s so very important to put yourself first in order to make yourself happy. You need to do your homework when you have the time, study when you have the time, but also, when you need a break, hang out with your friends. Incorporate those people into your free time, no matter how little time that is. You need to take time to do your homework and absorb the information, but when it gets too much, you need to get out of your room and do something fun.
- Talking more on the last point, get out of your room (especially in the first week and during orientation)! Staying in your room isn’t going to help you make friends, and if you’re homesick, it’s just going to make you want to move home even more. Open the door to your room so that you can become closer to the people on your floor. Go to the Fish Bowl in the library and do your homework, go to the fountain outside of GAC to relax. Do anything but be in your room when you’re feeling down and stressed. Yes, you may be extremely scared to meet new people and venture outside of the comfort of your room, but you need to go out and do things, even if your roommates or friends don’t want to. Make new friends, don’t be scared to say hi. Often times, the people around you are waiting for the exact same thing, so say hi to the random person in your class that’s sitting alone, or tell the person in the hallway that you like his or her outfit. College is the time to experience new things, and as nice as your bed and room may be, it’s necessary to get out of it at least once a day to stay sane and do something that’s not stressful to you.
- Lastly, talk to people and get help if you need it. Talk to your friends, your family, professors, your advisor, or a counselor. If you’re struggling, reach out for help and don’t be ashamed in doing so. No one is going to fault you for wanting to better yourself. If you don’t understand a question on the homework, email the professor and set up a time to discuss it. Go to the labs that are open to get help, because often times, going means you get extra credit, and who doesn’t want that? Call and set up an appointment with a counselor if you’re feeling stressed and down. Go home for a weekend or call your parents every night if that’s what you need to help you get through this semester. Set up a meeting with your advisor so you can discuss different classes that are available to you, especially if you aren’t fond of the ones you’re taking this semester. In college, these resources are here to help you, you just have to use them to your benefit.
Overall, college is extremely overwhelming, especially when you’re a freshman, but… it doesn’t get easier. The workload is excessive, but they’re preparing you so it becomes a routine instead of a stress factor. It may feel like the world is tumbling down around you when professors all assign quizzes, presentations, and tests within the same week but it’s just that week. All you have to do is go day by day, week by week, whatever helps you relax and know that you only have to take things one step at a time. Remember to open your door, to make new friends, to step outside your comfort zone. Remember that the classes you want to take WILL come, you just have to get through your basic classes first. Remember that there is help and that it’s okay to ask for it. You need to put yourself and your schooling above everything else.
One last reminder: College is tough, but so are you, so don’t give up. (: