Applications have been turned in, decisions have been made, diplomas have been handed out, and it’s time to finally take the next big step: college. It’s a new place with new people and it can be extremely overwhelming. However, drawing from my own first-year experiences, I would like to offer five things I found essential to surviving freshman year of college:
College is an awesome new place where you get to test the bounds of your independence. Parents aren’t hovering over your shoulder, classes are not eight hours a day, and you get to decide how you’re going to run your life, which all sounds great until you realize that all the responsibility to plan and stay focused is on your shoulders.
The best way to avoid first-year stress is to get organized early. On the first day, almost every teacher hands out a syllabus with important test and due dates, so make sure you hold on to those! Whether it’s on your phone, in a day planner, or on a wall calendar, write down your schedule so you can easily spot when your busy weeks will be. Planning ahead will help you stay on top of the college-style self-motivation and will keep you from getting too overwhelmed.
Getting involved in clubs and organizations is the quickest way to meet new people and the best way to fight boredom and homesickness. McDaniel has over 120 different student organizations, so find a group that sounds interesting to you and go check it out! You are guaranteed to meet people with at least one common interest (the one that brought you all to that meeting).
With all of the changes and hectic energy that accompany the first few weeks of freshman year, sometimes it’s hard to open up and meet new people, but that’s also one of the most exciting parts of moving into a new school. One of the most important things to remember is that everyone you meet is in a new place with new people, so don’t be afraid to talk to others.
Ask questions! You’re in a new place with new people and new rules; being lost and confused comes with the territory. Luckily, everyone at McDaniel has been in the exact same spot at some point, so don’t be afraid to ask where to go or who to see or what to do. The more questions you ask, the better prepared you’ll be for the years ahead.
It’s your first year of college, enjoy it! You’re starting what many people look back on as the best years of their lives. You’ve got four years of experiences and memories ahead of you and it starts now. So, between the madness of moving, meeting new people, and adjusting to college life, make sure you slow down enough to enjoy what’s going on around you and get excited about it!