Advice From a Senior to Freshman

College can be a scary new step. Going from high school adolescence to being on your own away from home, coming to college is not always an easy transition to go through. 

The university campus can be daunting and every responsibility you have is now focused solely on you. It’s normal to be overwhelmed and feel like you’re in over your head when you first move onto campus and have no idea what on Earth you’re doing and where you’re going to fit in. It’s okay. Every upperclassman has been where you are and knows how it feels to be new on campus. 

The first thing to remember is that everybody adapts differently. 

Some may not get homesick and some will have a difficult time. Some will immediately make new friends and some will take their time. There is no right or wrong way to get used to college life. Hey, even us seniors still don’t always know what is going on. 

Everyone has their own ways of coping and adjusting, so if you aren’t adapting as fast as other people are, don’t worry about it. Go at it at your own pace and you will eventually get used to being a college student. Once that happens, things will get easier for you.

College is a lot of trial and error. 

High school did not prepare any of us for how stressful and hard things can be. You will make mistakes (lots of them), but you will learn more in your first year as a freshman than any high school course could have taught you. You will learn how to deal with problems and how to solve issues by yourself. You will be put out of your comfort zone. You will gain a better grasp on what it means to be a college student and a real adult. So, keep making mistakes and learning from them, because throughout your time at college, you will be doing that on a daily basis. 

If you ever need help on anything, academic or not, there are resources on campus that can help you. Your RAs and Peer Mentors live on your dorm floor so they can help you with any problems you have. You can talk to your professors or go to the CAPP office (UC 3rd floor), which can provide you with help and counseling services if needed. Public Safety in Walker Hall helps if you have a serious issue. Don’t feel like you need to deal with hardships on your own when there are professional resources on campus. 

College classes are not like high school classes. The subject matter is more intense and deep, and the expectations are a lot higher. College professors don’t care if you don’t show up to class. It’s your responsibility to show up to every class because it’s your education, not the professors. So, hold yourself accountable for attendance and turning in your assignments. Nobody else will. 

Professors will help you and are there if you need them, but you have to remain accountable and make sure you are utilizing the resources you have. Professors and tutors are great resources if you ever need help. Don’t forget that it’s okay to ask if you have questions. Professors want to see you succeed, so if you ever need help in a class, don’t be afraid to ask. They are more than willing to help you.

At first, it’s normal to feel outside your element and a little lost. You’ve started a new chapter in your life and are starting to become an adult. If you feel lost like you can’t find your place yet, don’t worry, you will. Adjustments and transitions take time, so be patient and don’t stress about finding your group of friends or your place. College is your new home, and you will find your place here. You will eventually meet new friends, sometimes unexpectedly (I met my best friend in our marijuana-scented dorm hallway), and these are the friends you will have for the rest of your life. 

A great way to become more comfortable at college is to become involved in student organizations. There are so many on campus that you are more than likely to find one that interests you. It can be scary to get into something new but investing yourself in the things that you enjoy will make your college experience even better. Plus, getting involved will make you meet new people and gain new friendships. You not only establish new relationships with people but being involved will also allow you to gain new experiences and opportunities you could not get elsewhere. 

When you look back on your college experience, you want to have good memories. You’ll want to be able to say that you had fun and did everything that you could. So, take risks, try new things, join a new club, talk to new people, ace that test, win that athletic game and make the most out of your time. You’ve probably heard multiple times that college is the best four years of your life. When you get to be a senior, you’ll see why that statement is so true. 

Have fun, study hard, and don’t stress too much. College is only another stepping stone to get to where you want to go in the future. You will find yourself and figure out who you really want to be. You will find your place and just remember: it will all be worth it in the end.