Time flies. By a few swift flips of pages in the calendar, I’ve almost wrapped up the first semester of my freshman year in college. I went into this semester with some preparation, but there were definitely a lot of pleasant (and unpleasant) surprises. I’ve condensed my experience into a few thoughts I’d like to share with TP readers. Hope this helps!
On Time Management
Moving to a new place means making tons of adjustments to your daily schedule. Chances are you are going to run into unexpected problems that will make you revamp your to-do list for the day. It definitely took me awhile to navigate Austin’s bus schedule and learn that it takes more than an hour to do laundry on a Sunday night. If you are used to having your own room, you might just need some time to coordinate with your roommate’s sleep schedule. As annoying as these sounds, there are certainly ways to overcome these roadblocks.
I recommend blocking your schedule in a planner before the week starts, so you would have a general idea of what’s ahead. I personally prefer app-scheduling, specifically through Sunrise Calendar, a planning app available for all apple products (so you can sync your schedule to all your device and have access to it anytime and anywhere).
By the end of first semester, you will and should be able to find your favorite study spot on campus. It’s important, especially around midterms and finals, to scout out a place where you can be productive. Maybe you are more productive in your dorm or in the library or, in an off chance that you are like me, at a cozy coffee shop. Just remember study spots really do come in handy when you need to complete the final stretch of your semester.
Also, don’t neglect the power of study groups. A lot us, including myself, prefer to work and study alone without interruptions. However, I discovered how much I could learn by simply going over the study guide or talking over the difficult points with a small group of people. Lastly, it’s important to exert yourself academically, but you should remember to make time for yourself and de-stress once in awhile. I definitely stressed myself out too often over unnecessary, academics-related things this semester. Whether it be a less-than-perfect grade on an exam, or a few roadblocks during group projects, just remember to take a moment to treat-yo-self.
On Personal Relationships
I attend the same university as a lot of my high school friends. Throughout the first semester, I’ve realized that it can be difficult to balance old friendships with new ones. I found it harder and harder to keep in touch with high school friends simply because we live in different dorms and have drastically different schedules. Don’t be too worried when you find your friends drifting apart from you. There are always time and ways to re-connect—it may just take awhile for it to happen. In the mean time, you should actively reach out to people in your class, student organizations, dorm… and appreciate new bonds you’ve formed during your time in college. I’ve become close friends with people whose experiences are very different from mine, and I’m incredibly grateful for those unexpected friendships.
On the Infamous Freshmen Fifteen
Freshmen fifteen is a myth. I, along with many of my friends, actually lost weight in the beginning weeks of college due to stress and strange sleep schedules. It really depends on what you choose to eat and how your body metabolizes. If you are particularly worried about your abs becoming flabs, you should consider joining community/group lessons many universities offers. Group workouts will give you more motivation; the classes are surprisingly fun; and you get to try exercises you’ve never tried before! Just a heads-up: the fifteen pounds will be back some time down the road, most commonly when you move out of your dorm and into your first apartment. Without the restrictions of on-campus dining hall hours, you might find yourself putting on a few pounds.