As thrilling as freshman year sounds, it’s likely going to come with a whole host of issues, from managing a more hectic schedule to dealing with intense coursework. But there’s no need to panic. You may be on your own for the first time, but with these strategies, you’ll make it through.
When everything feels completely new, it’s important to gather as much information as possible to help yourself feel a little less lost. With the right information, you can feel a little more in control of life. Go to every orientation and info session possible to learn your way around campus and understand how its systems work.
That goes for classes, too. It can be easy to skip an early morning session, but going to class will help you learn more effectively and give you key information, like shifting due dates and areas to focus on for tests. Try to connect with a few classmates during the first week of class who can fill you in on important news if you do happen to miss a day.
Finally, take advantage of the many offices and other resources designed to help students succeed. Career counselors can offer advice on resumes and possible jobs, and tutoring centers may offer free one-on-one sessions with older students to walk you through difficult topics.
Freshman year can feel lonely, particularly if this is the first time you’ve lived away from home. Resist the urge to visit too often and try to stay on campus as much as possible. It’s important to find reasons to call college your temporary home. Your roommates and other residents may be going through the same feelings, so try to get to know them and lean on each other for support. You may also try joining clubs and other organizations to find people who share your interests and make it easier to establish friendships.
While you socialize, remember you’re still at school to learn and include professors and academic advisors into your new community. Professors hold office hours so they can get to know their students, and academic advisors are on call to provide guidance on scheduling and suggested courses. Showing up to chat with your professors and advisors will help them develop a better sense of how to support you during the year.
As you navigate the exciting but overwhelming world of college, remember to take care of yourself as best you can. Finding a balance is difficult but necessary. Make time to study, exercise, find healthy meals and relax. Prioritize your tasks and give yourself enough time to do each of these crucial activities, and you’ll be less likely to find yourself racing against a deadline to finish a project or reaching for a quick but less-nutritious snack as you dash to class.
Finally, try not to feel pressured to make big decisions right away about your major or career. You have plenty of time to figure out where you’re going. And if you do make a mistake? We’re all human. Acknowledging where you went wrong is the first step in building a better path.
Cut yourself some slack if you find yourself struggling and remember it’s okay to seek professional help. Many colleges offer free mental health counseling to help students who might need it.
It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed in college. There are hundreds of other freshmen all around you who can relate, and home is just a phone call away if you need a good pep talk. You’ve made it this far but remember: Freshman year is just the beginning.
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