Ah, to be a college freshman again! There are so many great memories that come to mind: the uncertainty, the stress, the insane workload… On second thought, maybe being a first-year student wasn’t so great.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t be great for you.
You see, I’ve already been through the wringer of starting college and have successfully come out of it relatively unscathed. My tenure in school has given me an abundance of wisdom which I am happy to impart to you.
10 Student Tips for College Freshmen
After thinking deeply about my time in school, I was able to come up with some of my most useful bits of freshmen advice. Hopefully, these will help you to get a better handle on things than I had on my first day at college.
1. Be a Better Public Speaker
Being shy and introverted just won’t cut it in college. I know that for some people, this would be the go-to demeanor as a college freshman, but you’ve got to break out of your shell if you hope to succeed.
The antidote to introversion is learning how to confidently communicate your ideas, and for that, you need to learn more about presentation speech.
Things like presentations and tutorials will require you to assert yourself and your understanding of the subject matter. Many classes will mark you based on your participation. This isn’t to say that you need to be a politician-level public speaker, but you need to put yourself out there and make the necessary improvements as you go along.
2. Have a Good Attitude
Most things in life are made all the better with a good attitude. You’d be hard-pressed to point out any instance where having a bad attitude has led to better results. Your first day as a college freshman is a completely new and malleable phase of your life.
You can mold it to be whatever you like — choose wisely.
3. Take Notes by Hand
Taking notes by hand has been proven to yield better memorization than typing out your notes. According to an article from the BBC, note-taking by hand requires a greater sense of cognitive engagement by way of summarizing, paraphrasing, organizing, and mapping concepts and vocabulary. This means you understand the information more thoroughly than when you type them out verbatim.
4. Be a Better Listener
I don’t mean be a better listener insofar as everyone will start flocking to you to unload their entire life’s story. I mean be a more efficient listener. Understand what’s being said by your professor and know how to distinguish the large, important concepts from the more tertiary remarks.
This is especially good advice when it comes to profs with a penchant for going on the occasional tangent.
5. Schedule Your Life Thoroughly
Don’t leave things up to chance. If you don’t schedule your life accordingly, chances are that you won’t get around to the most important tasks at hand.
You can still enjoy your life, but only if you plan it around the work that needs to be done. You’ll feel much more at ease if you know exactly when and how your new workload is going to be contented with.
6. Work Smart, Not Hard
This goes back to the previous point. There’s no need to work hard if you work smart. By leaving things to the last second, you make working hard the default mode of action. It doesn’t need to be this way. If you pace yourself, stay up-to-date on your classes, and study properly, you won’t need to go all out when crunch time is the only option you’re left with.
7. Don’t Study at Home
Whether you live at home or in a dorm, you and I both know that there’s no shortage of distractions to keep you from studying to the best of your abilities.
The best way to combat this is to find an environment where you have next to no choice but to work. Libraries, study hall, a quiet coffee shop: these are all places where distractions are not only scarce but they’re also highly discouraged.
8. Stay Healthy
Starting college is an extremely stressful time for most people. Oftentimes, people aren’t used to the added pressure that comes with being a college freshman. Worst of all, this tends to lead people to some bad coping methods.
Whether it’s over-eating, over-gaming, or over-partying, there are many negative temptations that people turn to when confronted with new stressors in their life. Your job is to avoid that temptation and do everything in your power to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
- Getting 7-8 of sleep every night
- Staying hydrated
- Not relying on highly-processed sugary foods
- Balancing the partying with other obligations
- Meditating to clear your head
These are all great ways to ensure that you stay on the straight and narrow while not completely compromising the fun of being a college freshman.
9. Do Something Extracurricular
This is something I never got around to but now, in hindsight, really wish that I had.
It’s easy to use schoolwork as a way to rationalize not taking part in any sort of extracurricular activity. The problem with that is that you miss out on all that could have been gained in doing so. Look for something that interests you and use it as a way to find and befriend like-minded people — it’s a great way to put yourself out there as a college freshman.
10. Enjoy the Experience While You Can
Starting college can feel like a burden and, in many ways, it is. But don’t let yourself lose sight of the fact that this is a once in a lifetime experience that you should cherish while it’s still here.
Try your best to live in the moment and not focus so much on getting it over with it. Take advantage of all the opportunities to meet new people and try new things while you’re in an environment that encourages it.