Ah, freshman year of college. It’s a time for new beginnings, experiences, and friends. The new change is one of the most amazing times of your life, but it can also be one of the most stressful ones. Through the laughter, the all nighters, and the memories, I have learned many valuable lessons during my time here. The first semester is definitely not an easy one; you’ll be challenged with difficult classes, learning to adjust to a new environment, and you may evaluate your future career paths. As I wrapped up the fall semester, I have had time to reflect upon my time and the lessons I learned that will help me go through the upcoming spring semester.

Time management is key

The biggest challenge I had this semester is figuring out what to do with all the free time college life brought forth. It’s hard to balance studying, attending classes, organizations, and your social life. That’s where time management comes in. Create a to-do list and a daily agenda and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to say no to a social activity to prioritize school. It’s okay to have fun, but remember you are in college for your education. There will be plenty of social opportunities in your college career.

You may not be good at everything and that’s okay

My first semester made me realize that I’m not going to be good at everything. Many of my peers and I flew by throughout high school and were never truly challenged until we arrived in college. We had to learn how to study for college level material, and the material didn’t come naturally to us. Rising through the adversaries I have faced this semester has grown me into a well rounded individual ready to tackle anything that comes my way.

People change

The people you were best friends in high school may not stick around in this new chapter your life. That’s okay. Everyone is going to go in their own paths in life, and you’ll realize that this new experience may change some of your friends. You may feel like you lost all your friends, but the amazing part about college is that it’s so easy to make new friends. Put yourself out there and you may end up meeting some of the greatest people.

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You will grow

College is a time for self growth. You’ll discover your interests and are able to develop a deeper knowledge of them. You will definitely be pushed out of your comfort zone, which may be the best experience ever. This semester has taught me that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Before the semester started, I was terrified to talk to new people and try new things. I liked to stay in my little bubble. Thankfully this semester has allowed me to escape that bubble, and I am happier than I’ve ever been.

You’ll get homesick

Your first semester is a hard transition period. You’re away from home in an unfamiliar environment, learning how to be completely independent for the first time ever. It’s okay to feel homesick; in fact, most of your peers will probably feel homesick once in a while too. To cure this, I found that just calling my parents every day helped a lot, and just surrounding myself with good people makes me forget that I was ever homesick in the first place.

Getting involved is important

This semester brings forth many challenges, but those challenges aren’t too bad when you have a support system. Joining organizations will help you find a great group of friends that share similar interests as you. Interested in politics? Find your campus’s College Republicans or TPUSA chapter. Interested in cooking? Join a culinary club. Whatever interest you may have, there is most likely a club for it.  

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Staying organized

Staying organized is key in college. At the beginning of the semester, it is smart to invest in a planner and write down all due dates from your syllabi. Keep up with your work to avoid future stress. Have a set time to study each day so you won’t end up cramming the night before and pulling an all nighter. Prioritize your to-do list, and you’ll be ready to take up anything that comes your way.

Utilizing your resources

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you have a problem! There are so many resources on campus, from counseling to tutoring. If you ever feel like you are struggling in a class, go to your professor’s office hours and talk to them! They are not as scary as they seem, and they actually want to help you succeed.

You’ll learn how to deal with people who don’t have the same beliefs as you

You meet a variety of people in college, and the most important thing you need to understand is that not everyone was brought up the same way as you. There are going to be people who have differing opinions. You might get frustrated at them, but it’s important to keep an open mind because you might learn something. Learning how to deal with difficult people is an important life skill to have, and you’ll definitely develop that skill in college.

The semester flies by

Although the semester may be difficult at first, you’ll quickly realize that the semester flies by, and it might not have been as bad as you thought. I am excited for the future experiences and opportunities that are in store for me.

Sara G