Being a freshman in college can be scary. Take it from me. I haven’t even started my first year yet, and I am terrified out of my mind. Ever since senior year ended, my brain has come up with all the possible ways I will be miserable in college. They say that college represents one of the best four years of a person’s life, but I’m starting to have my doubts. I’ve spoken to a few of my college friends, and they all have different things to say on the matter:
It’s gonna go by so slowly. Trust me, at some point you’ll find it torturous.
I had so much fun in college! I made so many friends and did so many clubs and internships! You’re gonna love it!
The college experience? Ooooof.
My personal favorite response would definitely be the last one. Pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?
Well, maybe it doesn’t have to. Everyone’s college experience is going to be different, right? Some better than others? Your college experience is going to be how you choose to make it. So, here are a few tips that will help make the next four years of college unforgettable.
Tip #1 – Start off with a friendly chat.
One of the biggest factors that freshmen may be afraid of is making friends. Social anxiety can really be such a buzzkill, but there are ways to conquer it! All it takes are a few friendly words to get a conversation going. I learned this during my orientation at Boston University. A simple hi/hello as well as “where are you from” can lead to bigger conversations about one another’s dreams and aspirations among many other things. The next thing you know, you’ve just made a best friend. Of course this is all hypothetical, but — trust me — I think it’s worth a shot.
Now, I know everyone is kind of sick of the whole “what is your major and what college are you in” question, so why not ask a completely different question? Something quirky and spontaneous like, “What is your favorite type of bread?” Believe it or not, this is actually the question we asked each other during a picnic for BU kids living in New York City. While it definitely did throw a lot of people off, we all answered it and, honestly, I think it effectively broke the ice and allowed us to become — just a little — closer. Mine is garlic by the way; just in case anyone was wondering.
So, a small conversation can go a long way. It may be hard to believe, but once you try it, you may be pleasantly surprised by the results. Remember, the key is to not be afraid. Every freshman in college is going to be in the same boat as you. Everyone is nervous — some more than others. Everyone is trying to make friends, so it shouldn’t be that hard. Just be yourself and before you know it, you’ll be trying to figure out who, out of the hundreds of friends you’ve made, you’ll be having lunch with on Monday.
Tip #2 – Staying organized.
This is probably something you’ve been hearing since middle school, but it makes life just a little bit easier. Staying organized can keep you stress-free. From your dorm room to your class notes, try and keep everything in order. Trust me, it’ll lead to happiness.
Now, staying organized isn’t always the easiest (I would know), but try coming up with fun ways to keep everything tidy. For example, having a large, dry erase calendar that allows you to write down your daily schedule is a fun way to keep your academic life organized. You can use stickers and magnets to indicate a chemistry exam or an English paper that’s due. Why stop there? Color coding your notes or using sticky notes to jot down important information can make studying just a little more fun. Why not create flashcards with colorful markers and pens that’ll allow you to memorize the Periodic Table of Elements for your chemistry exam next Monday — which you have written down on your calendar. So, as you can see, the more organized you are the better everything is.
Tip #3 – Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
You’ve probably heard this one quite a lot too, but there are so many benefits to asking for help. For one, it’ll clarify whatever it is you need assistance in whether that be how to adjust to college life or how to study for your exam. Remember, all the freshmen are in the same boat as you, and all the upperclassmen were in the same boat as you so they understand how you feel. They’re here to help you, and so are the countless professors and advisors, and other staff members. Asking questions is also a great way to make friends. A simple question can lead to a larger conversation. So, go for it. Ask as many questions as you can.
Tip #4 – Get yourself involved in the community.
Community involvement is key to a successful and fun freshen year. Some people are so nervous about their first year that they are hesitant about joining clubs or trying out for a sport. But, the worst thing you can do is isolate yourself from the rest of the community. If you want your four years in college to be memorable, you have to get up and be active. Explore all the different clubs and sports and join those that interest you! If you’re feeling spontaneous, make your own club! In my high school, we literally had a lettuce eating club. I know it sounds super strange but, hey, anything is possible. Moreover, clubs are a great way to meet people who have similar interests as you or maybe even different interests. Either way, when you join a club, you’re essentially joining a family who will support you and have your back no matter what.
Tip #5 – Make smart decisions.
Now, I know I’m going to sound like a parent when I say this, but it is so important that you act smartly and make good choices. Remember, just be safe in whatever you do. When you make good decisions, you stay happy.
Tip #6 – Remember to treat yourself and have fun!
This is pretty obvious but true! College is definitely going to be a lot of work, and we’re all here to work hard and do well. But, don’t forget to treat yourself once in a while. While college is about doing well academically, it’s also the place where people make amazing memories with friends. So, go out and have fun. Be yourself. Be brave and be smart. Before you know it, you’ll be thriving in college!