3 Tips College Freshman Should Know

By Kaitlin Hurtado on December 20, 2017

Nothing can truly prepare you for college completely. There’s plenty of novels and films depicting different sides of college life, but will they be accurate when it comes to your college experience? Probably not. Plenty of factors lead to you having a different college experience – your major, campus, personal life, academic life, work schedule, and much more. Your college experience is truly what you make out of it, which is something you will hear plenty of times because it’s true. No one can define how your college experience will play out or fully prepare you, but here are a few tips that incoming freshmen should know coming to college.

via Pexels

Don’t be afraid to say yes

You could have been one of the more popular kids in your high school or laid low for four years just to get through to college. Regardless of your high school status, college gives you a completely new slate to build your life on. If you felt like you were driven into an introverted role to begin with and were just never able to climb out of it, college is your chance to get out of that funk.

When you are a freshman, they are plenty of opportunities offered to you when it comes to meeting new people and receiving a helping hand in getting used to college. If you are going to be living in a dorm, your RA will likely be in constant contact with you and residents to get to know you and get everyone to know each other. This will come in the form of resident hall events, like icebreakers or movie nights, and other activities held on campus to celebrate the beginning of a new academic year and welcoming new students.

These activities are both easy to skip out on and easy to attend. Plenty of new transfer students and freshmen just like you will be in attendance and ready to create new friendships and memories. They won’t second guess your intentions when you come up to them to introduce yourself, as they’ll be in the same mindset of you of getting out there and making friends.

Try to find an on-campus activity or group that suits you 

In high school, there were different clubs and sports teams to join. However, the options were limited depending on where you went to school due to budgets. In college, there is a seemingly endless amount of clubs that you could join. As long as enough people are into a topic or activity, there can be a club made for it.

Different religious groups, language clubs, major associations, dance clubs, etc. There are plenty of clubs to cater to your interests and attending things like welcome week club fairs will allow you to sample what clubs have to offer.

If clubs aren’t your thing, there are plenty of sports teams to join. If you don’t think you are good enough to go for your school’s team – you still have plenty of options to explore. There are intramural teams, which allow you to play with other students from different communities. The teams can be created from different groups, like housing communities, clubs, friends, and majors. It gives you the joy of being on a team and practicing a sport you actually enjoy, while also giving you an outlet to destress from academics and other stressors.

While it’s important to find an activity or group that suits you, don’t force yourself into a club or group just to be in it. Spending time on an activity you don’t particularly enjoy won’t contribute to the quality of your college experience – you are better off trying to find something that suits you better. Don’t be afraid to join something when you don’t know anyone else joining. You join an activity or club to meet people – if you go into a club while knowing no one, you have the advantage of not being stuck with a single person.

Don’t overwhelm yourself. 

While you’ll want to try to enjoy every aspect of college life possible, don’t try to force yourself to do everything imaginable just for the sake of doing it. Pace yourself. If you’re coming into college with a list of things you want to do, you don’t have to knock them out in your first semester, or even your first year – you have the rest of your college career ahead of you.

You only have so many hours to do everything you want to do and while you may want to join every club that catches your interest, it just isn’t possible when you still have other priorities like academics, work, and a social life. Say yes to what you can, and if you have to say no, know that you can still join the club next year if you end up dropping one of your other classes.

Remember that you are in college to study after all and that opportunities come and go. Don’t beat yourself up over missing one friend outing, or one club event – there’s always going to be something else going on to help build a memorable college experience.

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Uloop Writer
Hello! I'm Kaitlin, a second year Literary Journalism major at UC Irvine. I'm a writer on Uloop's national team and a campus editor for UCI.

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