First semester is a time of transition, adjusting and learning. It is a time full of change, especially for freshmen. As we approach the end of the semester, after over a dozen weeks in a new environment, I felt like it was most appropriate to interview the “new kids on the block” about their first semester in college. In particular, Fresh U asked four freshmen from four different colleges to reflect on the biggest challenge they had to overcome this semester and how they reached their goals. Here's what they said:

1. Emilie, East Carolina University

“My biggest challenge I had to overcome this semester as a freshman was definitely adjusting to being seven hours away from my family. I was always a pretty independent person, but this was on a totally different level. At the beginning there were lots of tears, but getting to know the girls I became friends with and making those connections made me feel like I had a family at school.”

2. Will, Washington College

“The biggest obstacle that I had to overcome was managing all the free time I had. I was finding myself with five to six hours of free time and no plan of what to do with it. Eventually though, I got involved in activities and figured out a plan of how to parse out the work I needed to do among my free time hours. I would tell myself, 'O.K. This club meets at 3 which means I have an hour after class ends at 2 to eat lunch. After that I need to go to the library to meet my homework group and to research for my paper until dinner at 5 so I can be at practice at 6.' Once I had this planning down, I found that my problem wasn’t having too much time on my hands, but not having enough to do all cool things I wanted to do. I sorted out the important things and the unnecessary things and found my happy medium of free time, work and fun.”

3. Zandria, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

“Actually balancing work and extracurricular activities. By being in band, a huge block in my schedule would be taken, so I learned to start assignments early and talk to professors if there’s any type of deadline clash.”

4. Michelle, DeSales University

“I would have to say my biggest challenge was adapting to the college environment and figuring out how to enhance my time management skills. Compared to high school, college has many different personalities and experiences that come with each person you meet and this can be overwhelming at first. The first semester requires a lot of adapting and getting organized with your personal life and school life. Obviously, the workload increases, but keeping a schedule handy helps with staying on top of deadlines and papers. Staying ahead requires attending class all the time and not stressing out last minute because of something being due. I worked to reach this accomplishment by always doing my work and taking things one week at a time! Always save time to relax and break away from the work too! This helped me so much during the semester!”

Moving into a different place is likely to bring some challenges. However, it is important to remember that just like high school, college challenges are never permanent. To all of the seniors in high school panicking about entering this new chapter, remember that these freshmen were once in your shoes. Take it from them, everything is going to be okay.

Writer's Note: Freshmen Reflect is a new series aimed to help current high school seniors stress LESS about transitioning into their first year of college. Each article will a raise a new discussion topic to current freshmen in college, ranging from studying, to dorm life, to tips and tricks in the dining hall, etc.

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