Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

College is finally here. After months of anticipation and excitement, students all over the country are entering their first year of college this fall. As a college freshman, you’ll probably have a lot thrown at you, especially in the first few weeks of classes. This can include (but is not limited to) activities fairs, freshman socials, and even meetings with your adviser (particularly for those who haven’t decided or are still deciding on classes). Needless to say, there are definitely quite a few things to do the first few weeks of college.

Managing Your Time

So how to manage it all? While it’s important that you take the opportunity to attend as many events as you can (or at least the ones that interest you), sometimes this can be all the more overwhelming, especially considering that you are also beginning classes. As you navigate your way through the first few weeks of freshman year, keep in mind that you might also consider joining activities or even work. Thus, even though you might feel like you are on a tight schedule, realize that this will likely loosen up once you find the right things you want to focus on.

Dorm Life

Whether you have a roommate or not, living in a dorm can definitely be a different living experience from home. Although dorm life varies from place to place, your dorm can also be a great place to meet new people and learn about other activities and groups that you may have not heard about before. Dorm life can sometimes feel a bit constraining if you spend time in your room a lot, but remember to also get out once in a while. It is tempting to hide in your little shell you now call home, but spending time outside of your room will definitely help you meet other people you can hang out with throughout the semester (or year, if you prefer).

Socializing

Aside from socializing within your dorm, don’t forget that there are more people out there! There’s obviously a huge convenience in hanging out with people from your dorm since they do live in the same building as you, but it’s not always guaranteed that your circle of friends will be there. One of the best times to meeting new people, especially in the first few weeks, is during lunch or dinner time. Yes, it might feel awkward the first few times, and yes, it gets a bit repetitive saying where you’re from and what you’re interested in studying, but that is all totally fine.

Avoid closing yourself off in a bubble. What do I mean by that? Don’t limit yourself just to the people you meet in your classes or dorm. I think the problem most people face is keeping up with the people they meet. There are going to be a whole lot of people you meet within the first few weeks, but all of that is going to mean nothing if you don’t talk or hang out with them often enough. It doesn’t have to be on a daily basis, but if you want to at least have a nice, small group of friends, make the effort to at least reach out to them.

Classes

What are you in college for? Oh right, to learn! Depending on your school, you may or may not have already selected classes before coming to college. Either way, it’s important that you actually go to class since you are investing your time, money, and energy. However, particularly in the first few weeks, try to get a feel of the class atmosphere and rigor because there is probably a chance that you can switch classes. If you are doing this, make sure to speak with your academic advisor or at least look up online for classes that might still be available that interest you. Now, be forewarned that there will be boring classes, so don’t make the mistake of switching classes thinking that every class you take needs to be interesting to you. Oh, and office hours are the best. Literally.

You’re probably wondering, why would I take classes that are boring? Well, in some cases these classes are required for graduation and whether you like it or not you’re going to have to take them at some point. If you are in a situation like this, find a friend to take the class with. Taking classes, especially the less stimulating ones, with people you know not only makes the class less painful but also helps you get to know people throughout the semester.

Clubs and Activities

This is where a lot is probably going to get thrown at you. There are many, MANY groups and organizations on campus and all of them are likely going to try and recruit you, so be aware that there might be some sugar coating along the way. However, as you’re approaching the first few weeks, find activities that genuinely interest you. Whether it’s playing soccer or writing, finding groups that interest you can help you find the time to do the things you care about. Since a lot of groups and organizations start early in the semester, make sure you join the groups you want to join early so that you won’t have to wait until the spring semester. In addition to activities, there are probably religious and cultural groups present on campus. They may be more difficult to find, but if you do your research early and find groups that are of interest to you, participating in these groups should not be a problem.

Homesickness

There’s no place like home. Nothing beats home, and sometimes feeling homesick can definitely take its toll. There is no real solution to homesickness, but if you’re feeling homesick (even after having phone calls, Skype chats, etc.), talk with an adviser or friend. If you live close enough, consider spending a weekend back home. You’re definitely not the only person who feels this way and sometimes talking it out can definitely help. Another way to reduce homesickness is keeping up a busy (not overwhelming) schedule. Keeping yourself busy won’t cure homesickness, but you’ll definitely be focusing on getting things done as well.

The first few weeks of freshman year can feel overwhelming and there are going to be moments where so many things are going to come at once, but with time and patience, you’ll learn how to overcome these challenges and find your niche. Freshman year is a different experience, but once you learn to manage your time and find the things you love, the college experience will definitely be worth it.



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the author

Raised in the outskirts of Austin, Texas, Eric Po is a freshman at Harvard University studying Economics. He loves listening to country music (particularly Rascal Flatts and Brad Paisley), but you can’t blame him; he’s a Texan after all! He also enjoys outdoor activities, including soccer, running, and Ultimate. While he’s not sweating outside in the heat, Eric enjoys volunteering for nonprofit organizations that work with youth. Although he hopes to be a financial analyst in the future, he eventually wants to work with students as a counselor.

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