I’m writing this article for all of the new freshman. Congratulations, you guys, you made it to college! That’s truly something to be proud of. Now, I imagine that most of you are feeling pretty excited, and maybe a little scared. College is definitely going to be an interesting experience. You’ll learn a lot about many different subjects, and about yourself. Here are ten things that you’ll learn just in the first semester:
1. Read your Entire Syllabus
Your class’ syllabi might be like, ten pages long, but it is so, so important that you read it. A lot of questions that you might have for your professor may already be answered in the syllabus. Plus, professors are (usually) nice enough to put the entire class schedule in there, from the first day of class to your final exam. So when it comes to the syllabus, make sure to read it, study it, and keep it with you to consult when you have a question about the class.
2. You’re going to meet so many new people
If you’re going to college somewhere where you don’t know many people, you might be feeling a little nervous about making friends. Although it’s a totally normal fear, you really shouldn’t worry too much about it. College offers plenty of opportunities to meet new people - in class, student common areas, clubs and organizations, etc. There will be people all around you, and you’re very likely to find people who you’ll vibe with.
3. College is hard - like, really hard
Whether high school classes were pretty simple for you or not, college will definitely make you feel like going back to them at some point. I’m not trying to scare you, but I do want you to understand that college is no joke, and it will require you to work harder than you did in high school.
4. You’ll have lots of resources
If #3 scared you, then #4 will make you feel so much better. Your professors know that the material they’re teaching will challenge you, so they will make sure to tell you about office hours, tutoring, and websites that. You can decide for yourself whether or not to use these resources, but I would definitely recommend that you take advantage of them!
5. You’re on your own
This might be the very first thing that you realize about college - no one will be telling you to go to class, reminding you what time lunch is, giving you permission to go to the bathroom, or anything else that you might’ve heard from the adults in high school. College is a time when you’re (basically) free to do what you want. Be careful with all of this newfound freedom, though. You’ll definitely learn about responsibility and time management pretty early on.
6. You’re going to need a planner or a scheduling app
As a college student, you’ll be juggling a lot of classes, possible extracurriculars and/or a job, and other factors in your life, so it can be hard to keep up with everything going on. A planner or a scheduling app is a must in college. My favorite app to use is MyStudyLife; you can use it on your phone or a computer, and it makes sure to send you reminders every day for any upcoming tasks or exams.
7. Food can get pretty expensive
If you were one of those high schoolers who would frequently go out and buy lunch (guilty!) then this shouldn’t be new to you. Food can get pretty expensive, pretty quickly. Depending on where you go to college, it can be really tempting to buy coffee, lunch, and snacks whenever you want. Just keep in mind that there are other things you might want to save up for, like clothes, concerts, and spring break trips, so you definitely don’t want to be spending all of that money on food.
8. Your college experience probably won’t be a constant party
Sorry, but every college movie out there lied to you. You probably won’t go to a crazy college party every night, or take part in fun activities all of the time. You’re in school because you want to get a degree, remember? If you really do want to have the typical crazy college experience that they show in the movies, then you’re probably going to be in school forever. Don’t worry, you’ll have fun times in college, but you’re going to have to find a balance if you don’t want to flunk out.
9. You don’t have to go to class, but you really should
Remember how if you didn’t go to class in high school, you’d get marked absent, get detention, or sometimes even a call to your parents? Yeah, you don’t need to worry about that in college. For most classes in college (except for labs), attendance isn’t mandatory. It’s totally up to you if you want to get out of bed and head to lecture. Not going to class works for some people, but doesn’t work for everyone. Chances are, your professor will say some pretty important things during your lecture that may not be found online. It’s just a couple hours out of your day, and you’re paying for it, so why not show up?
10. It’s okay to not have everything figured out yet
As a freshman, you may be expected to know your major and career path as soon as you start college. Some students might have a clear idea about what they want to study, but other students might need a little time and guidance to really figure out what they want to do in life. About 80% of college students end up changing their major at least once, so don’t worry if you’re not entirely sure what career path you’d like to pursue. You’re in good company!