As I began my freshman year, I thought I ruled the world. Boy was I wrong. I wish I would have had some advice like this…
- You WILL make mistakes
You might forget deadlines, skip class, not turn in an assignment or fight with friends. No matter what a person does with their first year at college, mistakes will happen. Don’t stress about it. Think about the five-to-five rule: If it will not matter in five years, do not worry about it for more than five minutes.College is a minefield for the first two semesters you’re there. Don’t feel afraid to take a chance. Just learn from the mistakes, and do not let them define you for rest of your years.
- Coffee and caffeine will become your best friend.
College is not just physically exhausting, but mentally tiring. Never be afraid to take your coffee cup with you to get coffee (it is the most eco-friendly and a cheaper option). There is nothing wrong with getting that second cup to give a boost for the rest of your day. Just make sure not to overdo it. If you are a procrastinator, learn to fight of that urge to push off an assignment for a couple hours. However, caffeine can help you finish that project due at midnight that you started at ten at night.
- Get to know your professors, upperclassmen and make the most out of friends/mentors
I didn’t think this was as important as it truly was until I got to college. My PRSSA mentor has been my guardian angel. If I was stressed about my future or thought I was doing everything wrong, she gave me the best advice. Having an upperclassman to help guide you through your first year is crucial. Make connections with your professors or academic advisor. For most people, this is the first time they are on their own. It is EXTREMELY helpful to have an adult around tohelp you navigate life.
- Take advantage of every opportunity and possibility that comes your way
Go to the Involvement Fairs, go to meetings and club events and get involved with intramural sports. These are places you will find your true friends. Each person you meet has at least one common interest with you. The worst thing you can do is not try. If you don’t like it, you can always keep looking for your place at the university. Being involved can create multiple gateways for you in the future. Between classes and clubs, you could feel overwhelmed with all the responsibilities you have, but they will also create so many great opportunities for furthering your college experience.
- Most importantly, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!
Mental health issues and the freshmen fifteen are real. Don’t get that third helping of pasta or that fifth slice of pizza. If you are too stressed, go to the gym or take a break to hang with friends. Be careful and do not spread yourself too thin. Most importantly, do not go out to the bars every night. College is your first taste of freedom and independence, but that does not mean you should overdo it. Beware of burning yourself out too quickly. You still have three years to experience everything.
I know starting college as a freshman can be scary and nerve-wracking; however, if you follow this advice your first year should be great!
Mallory Jones is a freshman majoring in Communication and minoring in Journalism and Marketing with a Museums Studies certificate. Catch her on Twitter @mj_littleone