As a first year college student, I am happy to say that once this semester ends and it's time for break, I'm going to SLEEP IN. I'm just kidding...somewhat. First semester wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Fears of classes being a struggle, being too anti-social, being stuck in my room 24/7 were all going through my head, but then, the first day happened.
If you're like me and you will be coming into college as an introvert, it's going to take a lot more to break open that shell. If your college has a peer mentoring program, join that so you can have someone to talk to. My mentor and I are very similar when it comes to speaking out, but a mentor can be very helpful when you just need someone to talk to or just want to learn how to be more sociable on campus. Try to get involved in clubs that interest you because you might meet people who are similar to you in many ways. Looking back on my first semester, there are a few things that I learned.
1. The right time to eat.
You will never know when you will have time to eat. I'm not saying eat every time you have a break in your schedule, but be mindful and try to eat right. Your professor might not be lenient on letting you eat in their class, so if you're on break and see that you have two classes back to back, I recommend that you eat before you head out. Either eat at one of the dining halls, restaurants on campus or even eat food in your room.
2. Waking up early is harder in college.
In high school, most of us used to get up for school at six to make it to class by eight. As cringe-worthy as this sounds, it was doable because we weren't out partying the night before. College is so much different from that. There will be times where you don't want to get up because you are too comfortable in your bed or you are so tired that you just want to miss class for that whole day. My advice is to not schedule early morning classes if you are not a morning person.
3. The right time to go out.
Homework and studying for quizzes/tests are very important to college students, but that doesn't mean you can't have some free time to go out to a party or to hang with friends. Time management is the key to college in order to do well in your classes and also in your social life. Just remember, if you have an exam for a class that is worth a lot of points and there is a party that one of your friends is hosting and is expecting you to be there, be mindful of your priorities. Try to do half and half when it comes to situations like this so you won't be trying to cram everything all in few hours the morning of the test.
4. Reach out for help.
As a freshman, you are a still trying to get used to your new environment. This is also your first time planning out your class schedule, which is not such an easy thing to do on your own. Don't be scared to ask someone if you need help with anything like directions to a building, planning out your schedule or recommendations on what classes to take. You have your college advisor to help you with your schedule and even some upperclassmen will be willing to help you. They were once in your shoes, so they know what it's like. There is a website called RateMyProfessors that you can use to see what other people say about a professor if you are stuck with your schedule and you don't know what a certain professor is like.
5. It's okay to call home.
You are away from family and you are on your own doing your own thing, but at some point you will miss home. You think that just because you are your own, you won't miss home or your parents, but it's okay that you do. Don't think that it is weird to call them - they will love to hear from you no matter if it's through video chat or a simple phone call. I know I talk to my family at least once a week to catch them up on things, but don't think it's wrong to have this feeling.
6. It can be hard to make friends.
Making friends is something that we all have to go through. Unless you are a very sociable person, this may be hard for you. Try to make friends at orientation and exchange numbers with them because they are probably in the same position as you are. For shy people like me, try walking up to someone and starting a conversation with them. I know it sounds challenging, but in the long run, overcoming your shyness can be a good thing.
7. Get enough sleep.
You may have to pull off an all-nighter for exams or to finish that homework assignment that you procrastinated until last minute, but please be aware of how much you sleep. Being tired everyday will not be helpful for as you may zone out in class and miss out on important information that you are going to need in the future. Try to get at least six hours of sleep each night and know that naps are part of the college experience.
With Thanksgiving break, finals and winter break, I'm looking forward to taking some time off from school to relax and catch up on my shows and sleep. Moving into second semester, I will not forget what I learned in my first few months of college.
Lead Image Credit: Inbal Marilli via Unsplash