Going into my senior year of college, I feel like I know a lot of the ins and outs of higher education. And I am here to share that valuable information with all of you! I'm here to give you the best tips, tricks, and honest truths about going into your freshman year.
It's okay to be nervous at orientation
When my parents drove off into the sunset on my first night at school I remember having an overwhelming feeling of, "Um, now what?" I was alone with only my roommates, whom I had only just met, and I felt nervous. In that moment I felt like I lost all ability to talk to and connect with other human beings. But within the first hour of orientation I realized something important: Everyone else is nervous too! No one has everything figured out right away, and that's okay!
Actually go to orientation
Freshman orientations are always going to seem cheesy and lame, but I promise that if you stick with it and commit to the cheesiness you are going to have a good time. Orientation is a great way to meet new people and even if you don't become good friends with them you will at least have people to wave to in the hallway.
You might not be best friends with your roommates and that’s okay
When I was in high school I heard both sides of the story: “Your first roommate will always be one of your good friends” and also, “No one likes her first roommate.” I was never good friends with my roommates my freshman year. I had my own friends outside of my room, and that is so important too. But just because we didn’t get along all the time doesn’t mean I didn’t try my best to treat them with a Christ-like kindness.
Joining clubs and organizations are important, but that isn’t the only way you meet people
I was painfully shy the first couple weeks of school and I never really joined the drama club, campus activities board, or fitness group. But in the end, I met all my friends in the most college way possible . . . getting food. I went to the dining hall a couple times with a group of people I met at orientation and the first day of classes and in time connected with their mutual friends over lunches, and brunches, and dinners. One of my strongest friendships was formed over a plate of nachos! To make friends you just have to be open to meeting new people.
Go to church
Really, go to church. Going to church on or off campus makes sure you are interacting with people of a like mindset and beliefs. You might go alone the first few times and ask to sit next to the girl you know from Spanish class or go with a group of people and hit the cafeteria afterward. But I cannot stress enough how important preserving and growing your faith is in college.
If there is an extra study session for a class, go to it
Even if you think you know what the professor is talking about or think you will study when you get to your room, you don’t, and you won’t. Hearing information a second time from a different source (usually a teaching assistant) helps you really soak in the lecture materials. You have to be accountable for making sure you take advantage of the resources around you. Also, after three years in school I am very familiar with thinking that I will study when I get back to my room, but I can tell you that the call of Netflix and sweatpants will win you over much more easily than the call of a textbook!
Use your resources
This point is a little vague I know, but there are resources available for every problem you encounter in life. However, you have to be willing to use them. Feeling sick? Go to the campus nurse and get some medicine. Feeling depressed or anxious? A lot of colleges have counseling centers you can go to, or go talk to your campus pastor. Grades slipping no matter how many notes you take? Get a tutor. Feeling like you are losing your faith? Look for an on campus, or off campus, Bible study or devotional. Be intentional with your actions and seek out your resources.
Take a break
It’s easy to burn out in college. Don’t try to pull an all-nighter just because you think that’s what you do in college. Get enough sleep, go for a walk, read a book, call your mom, do a facemask, read the Bible, ride a bike, pray, Facetime a friend, just do something to turn your school brain off every once in a while! Your grades won’t suffer because you took a ten-minute break I promise!
Just remember to be yourself above all else this fall. Don't sweat the small stuff and I promise everything will work out. But most importantly remember your faith this fall. Remember that God made you exactly the way you were supposed to be and no one can ever tell you differently. Stand up for your beliefs and for your faith even if it seems impossible. You can and should always lean on Him in everything you do.
Download a free chapter of College 101: A Christian Survival Guide.