One year ago, I was getting ready to leave my hometown to start my first year of college. Long story short, I was absolutely terrified. I was nervous that I was going to make no friends, fail all my classes, and gain fifteen pounds and lose my healthy eating habits to the college cafeteria menu. Luckily, with help from my parents, peers, and professors, I had an absolute blast during my freshman year.
Follow these guidelines, and you’ll get going in the right direction in college:
- Put your phone down once in awhile. Sure, checking Snapchat or Twitter once in awhile is fine, but try to live in the present. You will not remember what someone back home tweeted three months ago, but you will recall a hilarious joke your roommate made during your first term. As tempting as it may be, turn your phone off and enjoy the company around you.
- Don’t be a couch potato! Exercising can tremendously boost your morale and energy levels. Sitting and laying down all day will force you into a lethargic mood, and you won’t be productive when it comes time to study or do homework. Walking, running, biking, lifting weights, yoga, any type of exercise you enjoy will put you back on track on being happy, healthy, and more productive.
- Join a team or club. Unless you are taking 20+ credits, you should go out of your comfort zone and join a team sport or club that you are passionate about. Not only does this force you to try something new, but joining a team or club will help you meet people you may not have met otherwise. Since I love running, I joined the cross country and track team. I have met some of my best friends through that team.
- Don’t be afraid to be alone sometimes. College is all about finding yourself. It is hard to do so when you’re constantly surrounded by people! No one will think you’re a loser for eating breakfast alone, or for going on a walk by yourself. I have personally found that going for walks alone helps you see things you haven’t seen before, and think about things you would not have in a group setting.
- Don’t force anything. When I first arrived to campus, I was so anxious to meet my new best friend, my future husband, and find my dream major all within my first term. Slow down! Everything takes time. You may not meet anyone you really like and connect with for awhile, and that’s okay! Take a deep breath, and know that you will find your niche with friends, school, and your future career soon.
- Go to the library and find your place to study. During my first term of college, I never stepped foot in the library. I figured I would be just as productive in my dorm room. Boy, was I ever so wrong. Going to the library somehow tells your brain “okay, we are going somewhere to learn, not to watch Netflix and shop online. Let’s get this homework done.” Seeing other students studying around you will inspire you to do the same. Plus, you’ll know where to go when finals week comes around and the whole campus is packed in the library.
- It’s okay to feel homesick. Everyone has dealt with a dose of feeling homesick while at college. Don’t let social media fool you! Even though all your friends back home put on a happy demeanor, does not mean they don’t miss their family and friends. Call your mom if you ever feel down, I guarantee she will make you feel better. She may even send you a care package!
- Care about your education, but learn to let your hair down. In my lifetime, I have been known for only focusing on two things: my grades and my running season. Though this may sound great to my parents, I haven’t had the best times as a teenager and young adult. College is four years in which it is socially acceptable to eat a pint of ice cream in one sitting, take a nap in public, and dance like no one is watching. Take advantage of this time and have some fun.
College is an opportunity to expand your horizons and meet some new amazing people who will be lifelong friends. Starting over and beginning a new chapter in your life may be scary, but with the right mindset, you can take advantage of these next four years and make amazing memories.