Surviving Freshman Year: Things I Wish I Knew

Freshman year of college is a time of significant change and growth, a period when you’re expected to navigate a new environment, new relationships, and new responsibilities all at once. As exciting as it is, it’s also a time that can be fraught with challenges and moments of self-doubt. Looking back, there are several things I wish I knew before embarking on this transformative journey.

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

College can sometimes feel like a tightrope walk between independence and uncertainty. I wish I knew that asking for help wasn’t a sign of weakness but of strength. College campuses are replete with resources – from tutoring centers to mental health services. Utilizing these resources is a smart strategy, not a last resort.

Everyone’s in the Same Boat

It’s easy to believe that everyone else has it all figured out. The truth is, most freshmen are feeling just as overwhelmed as you are. Knowing this would have encouraged me to open up more, forge connections earlier, and realize that it’s okay not to have all the answers.

Time Management is Key

The freedom of college life is exhilarating, but it also requires a level of self-discipline that I wasn’t prepared for. Balancing classes, studying, and social activities is a skill that takes time to develop. I wish I knew the importance of a good planner and the art of prioritization from day one.

You Don’t Have to Declare a Major Right Away

The pressure to choose a career path is real, but it’s okay to explore. Many enter college undeclared, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s better to take various courses to discover what truly ignites your passion than to rush into a decision that you might regret later.

Quality Over Quantity in Friendships

In the rush to make new friends, it’s easy to spread yourself thin. I wish I knew that a few meaningful relationships are far more rewarding than many superficial ones. It’s the friends who support and understand you that will make your college experience truly memorable.

Take Care of Your Health

The novelty of late-night snacks and the lack of parental supervision can lead to poor dietary choices and erratic sleep patterns. I wish I knew the importance of self-care routines that prioritize nutrition, exercise, and rest.

Get Involved, But Not Overwhelmed

College is a smorgasbord of opportunities. I wish I understood that it’s not about signing up for every club and activity but about engaging deeply with a few that truly interest you.

It’s More Than Grades

Academic success is important, but so are the experiences and lessons that come outside the classroom. Internships, volunteering, and campus events offer invaluable opportunities to learn and grow.

Change is Inevitable

Your views, your habits, and even your goals will evolve. I wish I knew that this evolution was a natural and essential part of the college experience.

Enjoy the Ride

Finally, I wish I knew to savor every moment. The late-night conversations, the impromptu adventures, and even the stressful exams are all pages in the chapter of life that you only get to write once.

As I reflect on my freshman year, I realize that while I couldn’t have known all these things, it’s the process of learning them that has enriched my journey. To all the incoming freshmen, you’re about to start an incredible adventure. Take these pieces of advice with you, but also embrace your own discoveries along the way.

Signed,

A College Student

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