The transition from high school to college brings about a significant change in one’s life. As a freshman, you might expect college to be a place where you study hard so that you can get out as fast as possible. You might also expect to stay up studying until the early morning to prepare for that big history test that is worth 25% of your final grade. While all of this is true, college is much more than that. As soon as you walk onto campus on move-in day, you acquire so many new responsibilities and so much more freedom. All of these new experiences as a first-year student can be overwhelming; so, here are five tips and tricks that we have learned as we finish up our first year.
1. Know your major
One of the biggest misconceptions upon entering college is the idea that you have to know what you are here to study. It is perfectly okay to enter college with an undecided major; it is also perfectly okay to enter college knowing exactly what you want to do with your life. Being undecided just means that you are going to explore options until you find something that really interests you. It is also very common for people to change their majors after just one semester. I have changed my mind about my major multiple times within the past seven months. I applied to Pfeiffer intending to be a Criminal Justice major but then changed to be a Psychology major before moving in. Then, within the first month, I decided to add another major so that I would be double majoring in Human Services. After a few months of having the double major, I also decided I wanted to minor in Criminal Justice. Since then, I have rethought the minor and am currently deciding on if I want to drop it. As you can see, it is perfectly okay to not have a concrete plan for your four years of college.
2. Get out of your dorm room
The first few weeks after moving in, and leaving your family, seem to be the hardest. There are so many new responsibilities and so much freedom. While it may seem tempting to stay in your room and watch Netflix, it is important that you get out of your room and make friends. Stepping out of your comfort zone can allow you to do things that you may never have dreamed of doing before. But, by doing things you may have never dreamed of doing, you make so many new memories that you can carry throughout your life. These memories can be from elaborate outings; but, they can also be from very simple things such as mid-day hiking trips to Morrow Mountain, late night Cookout runs for milkshakes and fries, and even just chilling out by Gibson Lake in hammocks. Many of the residence halls on campus have a common area, which is commonly referred to as “the parlor”. The parlor is an area for people to hang out, watch TV, and do homework. Through my own experience, I go to know so many more people by just sitting in the parlor. These people are now my friends and I am much more social than I was during my first semester here at Pfeiffer. Regardless of the activity, you will make friends that will last a lifetime as long as you get out of your dorm room.
3. Manage your time
Some of the students here are commuters, like myself. It can be very hard to find time to do homework when you have to get up early and drive constantly to school during the week. So managing your time wisely can be very difficult. Since I have to be on campus all day I tend to work on homework during my free time between classes. This allows me to get stuff done ahead of time. I also feel as if I am not as bored when I am able to do homework early because I then have time to be with friends after all my work is finished. When I do homework in my free time it seems to be a lot easier and take much less time than if I would have waited and worked on it that night or right before it is due. Something I recommend as a commuter or any student is to make sure you are managing your time wisely so you are able to feel comfortable where you are in school and with your social life.
4. Use your resources
A lot of the times you may not understand a class or you may not fully understand an assignment. Do not stress too much over these things because there are so many resources out there that can help make these times a whole lot easier. Here at Pfeiffer they offer many resources to help you when you feel like you are starting to struggle. There is a writing lab that can help you check over and edit your papers. There is also tutoring for many classes. I have done tutoring for a few of my classes and they have helped me a great deal. If you ever feel like you are struggling always try these resources because most of the time they are guaranteed to help you get to where you need to be. You can also speak to your professors since they are more than willing to help you and want you to succeed.
5. Have fun
Having fun is one of the most important things that I have learned during my first year. While the purpose of college is to learn and to get a degree, it is also important that you have fun while you are doing that. With that being said, it is also important that you know how to balance the work-load as well as have fun. In other words, don’t focus too much on your studies, but also don’t have too much fun that you forget about your studies. The four, or five, years that you are in college is something you will ever experience again. Living in a dorm room with a random stranger, eating terrible cafeteria food, studying sessions that turn into gossip sessions, and going on late night food runs are all examples of activities that are unique to college life. These are the memories that you are going to take with you for the rest of your life. So go out there and enjoy college. Don’t stress out about little things because in the end, they don’t really matter.
College may seem scary and intimidating but all in all it is one of the best experiences that you could have. Just make sure to have fun with it and stay up to date with all your classes.