Freshman year is an amazing yet confusing time in your life. It is a huge adjustment and some adapt more easily than others. You have almost complete freedom but you have to fend for yourself. You will experience some bumps in the road and that is OK — everyone does. However, there are things you can do to try to make those bumps a tad smoother.
First and foremost, go to class. It sounds dorky, but you will regret it if you don’t. You set the tone for the rest of your college years in your first semester. If you begin by skipping classes, it will be a rough four years and you will definitely see the results in your GPA.
Second, make good, supportive friends that have a positive influence on you. Even though making friends in college can be hard and it may take some time, it is one of the most important parts of your experience. Get to know people who live in your residence hall and form study groups in class (i.e., don’t sit in your dorm room watching Netflix all day and don’t sit in the back corner of the classroom). The people you surround yourself with will have a big impact on your success in college.
Third, get involved on campus. Try out clubs and activities that sound interesting to you; you may fall in love with something you never thought you would like. The people who tell you to not join clubs are the same people who likely never tried to participate and are pretty bored in their free time. Extracurricular activities allow you to meet people who share a common interest with you as well as look good on your resume.
While on the topic of extracurriculars, don’t bite off more than you can chew. The last thing you want is to feel stressed over things you can control. You’re already going to be stressing yourself enough while adjusting. Don’t feel afraid to try out as much as you can, but the second it becomes too much for you, choose wisely and only participate in what you really want to experience.
I will leave you with this: create a balance. College is about making academics a priority while simultaneously keeping your social life alive. You don’t want to find yourself on either side of that scale, you want to remain neutral. What fun is your first year of freedom if you’re spending it in the library every night? Yet, what is your first year of freedom if you’re on the verge of failing classes? Your first year as an undergraduate can and will be one you will never forget if you do the right things and stay true to who you are. Don’t change for anyone. Be the best you that you can be.