Ending senior year and becoming a first year in university is a time as exciting as it is stressful. As exhilarating as it is to begin a new chapter of our lives, the stress that accompanies the experience is inevitable. I asked seven college first-year's their advice for incoming first-year students. This is what they said:

1. Dasmattie, Queens College, Biology and Business Management Major

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"My advice to future college students would be to understand that college and high school are not the same thing and you must know yourself and know the path you want to take. Being diligent and responsible and knowing when to take time for yourself is important because the course work is a whole lot more stressful. If you want to do well, you need to be optimistic and put what's most important to you first. Overall, you don't need to be perfect, have fun and enjoy the process. Do all the things you should do and work for everything you want because it will pay off. Your mental health is worth more than anything else. If you are commuting, get a car asap. (I hate traveling!) Good luck!"

2. Aaron, Binghamton University, Biology Major

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"Everyone wants to know how to do well on college exams. While many students focus on how many hours to study, it is not the key to success on college exams. Doing well on college exams starts with taking good lecture notes and having a good understanding of the material during lecture. It is important to then deeply process lecture notes after lecture again to test yourself on how much you actually understand. Once you have repeated this process and have mastered all the material for an upcoming exam, it is crucial to get your hands on past exams or practice exams, whether it is from the professor or from former students that have taken the class. Again, I want to emphasize there is a stronger correlation between exam grades and the quality of studying rather than time spent studying. This will improve your grades. Happy studying!"

3. Jigme, Brandeis University, Biology Major

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"Explore as many college options as you can. Don’t just target or focus on one college because there are many other colleges that may be the best fit for you! Keep in mind distance, financial aid, pocket money and miscellaneous items such as textbooks. Above all, make sure you at least visit the college campus before committing to the school!"

4. Redwan, City College of New York, Computer Science Major 

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"Do your research, word of mouth is worthless compared to actual information provided by the school. Get rid of bad habits immediately and build better ones just as quickly, time management should be one. College is not easy for anyone their first semester so don’t stress it. To make the transition easier don’t be afraid to attend a community college and get the hang of things or take summer programs at the college the summer before your incoming fall semester. Good luck!"

5. Genesis, Wesleyan University, Psychology and Neuroscience Major

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"For students coming from public schools and are going to prestigious private institutions, I would like to prepare you for the shock you'll experience. I was most shocked by my STEM classes and the pressure I've felt since last semester. The majority of the students that I know that are doing well in their intro STEM classes were already exposed to rigorous material like it before and have learned it before. I often felt and feel like I'm not smart enough but it's so important to understand that many people at these institutions have been bred to be there and you made it despite not having the same support. If it's what you love, keep on trying. You can do it!"

6. Sarah, Yale University, Neuroscience Major

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"I would advise current high school seniors to stop putting so much weight on getting into schools which seem to be the 'most prestigious.'  I’ve learned from my time in college and from interacting with students who go to other highly regarded schools that it’s you who dictates how fruitful your college experience will be. The majority of courses will be the same across different schools, the only true variable is what you choose to do with the resources that your respective college gives you. So just take a deep breath, relax and don’t get too caught up in something that doesn’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things."

7. Foysal, Columbia University, Economics Major

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"Please do not go into college with an elaborate plan. It is important to plan your academic career, but leave some freedom. Take some classes you might enjoy or try something different, take advantage of that flexibility you will get as a freshman. Remember this is a transition year, ease your way into college."

Immersing yourself in a new environment is always hard. This is especially true when leaving your high school, which is usually the place you've grown accustomed to during the past four years. However, college is the place you will grow and learn in unimaginable ways during the next few years. If you are a senior in high school or just an apprehensive high school student reading this, know that everything will fall into place. Nothing is given to you that you can't handle. Take it from these seven first-years, or should I say rising sophomores. Good luck!

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