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Five Things I Learned From my Freshman Year

Updated: Oct 16, 2020

By: Marissa Kesse

Dear Freshmen,

It’s your first day on campus! Your parents move you in. You set up your room, and now it’s time for them to leave. Kisses, hugs and they’re out of the door — things just got real! Is your first reaction to roll up into a ball and cry of homesickness or to nervously pop your head into one of your hallmate’s rooms, ready to take on your new life? While both reactions are certainly valid, the “Dear Freshmen” section is here to equip you with the tools you’ll need to valiantly step on campus, ready to take on everything your new life will send your way. We’re here to provide real accounts from real college students about their experiences, from tips we wish we had known to advice we're glad we did know and want to share.

For this month’s edition, I would like to share the Five Things I Learned From my Freshman Year.

  1. It’s okay to ask for help. This is important, but what’s even more important is recognizing when you need help. My transition from high school held a lot more challenges than I expected. Not solely because of the change in workload, but the challenges that come with being in a foreign environment and being surrounded by new and very different groups of people; I was also transitioning into adulthood. All of these things coming at me at once was difficult to maneuver. From my “work hard” lifestyle in high school, it was hard for me to realize the importance of giving myself a break and utilizing a lot of the free and helpful resources accessible to me on campus. Mental health, also a new idea for me, became central to making sure my entire bodily health fell in line. I learned new vocabulary such as “toxic” and “anxious” to help me talk about what I was experiencing. Seeking help allows us to learn from others who are knowledgeable in the areas we fall short in; college is all about learning and growing, so it’s important to never feel less for seeking help. Those around me who were most successful utilized all the resources around them. This also leads me to my next point…

  2. It’s okay to give yourself a break… College is hard. For everyone. Juggling the rigorous caliber of courses, clubs, jobs, as well as friends and family can be difficult! Taking mental health days to relax and sort your mind and even distancing yourself from people and things that may drain you are key to staying sane during these crazy years! One thing I learned after my first week of freshman year was the power of naps. In highschool, I did not indulge in this golden practice; but, after my first week, I saw how instrumental it was to making sure I stayed attentive during class and meetings.

  3. Time management is instrumental… You may hear this everywhere, but that’s because it’s true! Although your college experience is also all about learning what’s right for you, try learning which methods of time management work best for you. It may take some self-reflection and trial & error, but that is okay! Does having a calendar or agenda book work for you? Do you need to set notifications up on your phone? Working to answer these questions sooner will make things run much smoother later.

  4. Enjoy college... Something someone said that stuck with me was this: if you were only in college for the educational part, then the college experience would mostly be online (haha, well, given current Corona times, this may be a tad bit different). An important component of college is the social aspect of things. Allow yourself to try new things and put yourself out there, while being cognizant of who you are and your morals. Doing this will actually help you learn more about yourself and what you like/dislike, which is all a part of the growing process of college. It’s important to work hard, but be sure to play harder… or whatever they say!

  5. Explore the city/area your school is in! Don’t feel confined to your school campus. Seeing new cities allows for you to expand your thoughts and diversify your environment! It’s important to learn about how different people view and take on the world. Taking advantage of study abroad opportunities, as well, can allow you to see new cultures, interact with people who are different from you, and help you learn new things to bring back home. The idea may be scary at first, but that fear will soon turn into a bit of a thrill!

All in all, while college may seem intimidating at first, you will find that it will probably be the beginning of some of the best years of your life! I’ve met some amazing people during my time in college and also learned so much about who I am as a person. I am excited to know you all, our readers, will soon embark on this same journey, and I know it'll be all you wanted and more! Hope to catch you on the next edition of Dear Freshmen!




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