I know, I know. You’re probably running around in circles, anxious about what to prepare, how to survive, and how to enjoy this new phase in your life – college. Been there, done that. I totally understand.
I am now an incoming junior in college and I could clearly remember those days before the official start of classes on my freshman year. Mixed emotions filled every little part of my body then. I could not contain my hype because indeed, that was a memorable beginning; my nervousness because who knows what might happen to me in the next four years; the pressure because I got in one of the most prestigious universities in our country; happiness because this is yet another adventure for me; and loneliness because I had to be away from my family. See? All those emotions I thought would never end but here I am, still alive!
In my previous post, I informed you that one of my chosen niches for my blog is college! So for my first post on this niche, I will provide you, as an incoming college freshman or maybe even generally just a college student, some tips on making this college phase a memorable one for you. (Disclaimer: I am not an expert in this because my college life is not as perfect as you think it is. I just try my best to make it something I’d remember in the future as my happy years.) I hope these will help you!
1. Prioritize your studies.
I had probably lost you already right then and there. I’m sorry but you have to know this, whether you like it or not. College is the stage that may perhaps lead and dictate you to the path you are supposed to take in the future. This is not to say that college is a requirement to have a great future because no, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m just telling you to do your homeworks, attend your classes, listen to your professors, and submit your requirements on time. It’s easier said than done, I know, but the important thing is that you learn. Sometimes, it may get hard – what with sleepless nights, and coffee running through your veins – but tell yourself it’s worth it in the end. What you learn in college may actually add up to your competency and knowledge on the field or job you want to partake in. You’ll actually make yourself proud.
With this said, I’m here to remind you of the next tip.
2. Don’t be afraid to fail.
Your GPA is not as powerful as you think it is. Perhaps, you think it’s the only thing your employers would be interested at but the good thing here is that it’s not. It would just symbolize how much you’ve worked hard on college but it actually wouldn’t really tell how competent you are. Competency is the competition here. You could be from a well-known university and really intelligent but an employer could actually choose the one, who came from a not-so-familiar university but is actually more skillful and more cordial than you.
So, do not be afraid to fail. Your failing grades wouldn’t define who you are; it’s only you who can. And the world out there is actually going to be more cruel than what you think now so all these challenges in college are only here to make you stronger.
3. Family and friendships are still everything.
Please do not push these people away from your life just because some new people are taking their places for you. You might meet a lot of new and interesting people but your family and long-time friends are still the ones who know you best, who were there for you when you needed someone by your side, and who saw you grow up right in front of them. They have accepted you for who you are and it is necessary that you keep and treasure them until the end of your days.
If you’re away for college, call home. Tell them you’re fine. Thank them for their concerns and love for you. Tell them they are important. But if you go home to them everyday then, make sure to hug them, and update them with the things that have been recently happening to you. All these easy tasks that wouldn’t take so much effort and I’m sure, they are going to be so much happier and more proud of you.
3. Find your passions.
One great thing here in college is that you are allowed to experiment. Join some clubs or organizations that you’ve been eyeing on ever since or that you think will hone your skills. Try new things, look for new hobbies you may be interested at and things that make you happy. Basically, just get lost but make sure to find yourself in the end.
4. There’s nothing wrong with asking and voicing out your thoughts.
Everyone’s voice is important for the world to be as it is. Your voice, no matter how much you want to hide it, must be heard. So don’t be afraid to speak out the things you want to say as long as they are decent and wouldn’t ruin something or someone else. Voice out your opinions, be it on politics or the latest trend in fashion. Ask a lot of questions and be curious in order to find the answers and be more knowledgeable than you would be if you did otherwise. Remember, love, that each one of us has unique ideas – some may seem absurd or pretty simple, but sometimes, they may just change the world.
5. Manage your time wisely.
Time is a great challenge here in college. You may think “oh I have so much time” and yet, the next thing you may know is that you’re procrastinating that paper due in an hour. Do the things you can do now and stop waiting for tomorrow. In managing your time wisely, a planner would also be helpful. You may want to make a DIY board on your dorm wall for you to put up your to-do lists and important events to remember. That way, you are going to be more organized while also managing your time well.
6. Be open-minded.
You are going to meet different kinds of people. Some, you may be inclined with; others, you may be weirded out. Some, with the same perspectives as yours; others, with different characteristics than you. With this diversity, you must be ready and open-minded. You must accept that people are people and that we came from different cultures and places and communities. But this does not mean that we are not capable of being accepted. This diversity can only mean that we, as humans and as college students, must be understanding of the fact that we are living different lives and that we’re fighting our own battles. Some battles easier than the others, but still battles. And we must help each other and one great help would be acceptance.
7. Build a network.
This is one of the goals of college – for you to build a network and socialize with people that may help you in getting your job, or starting your business, or reaching for your dreams. Remember the quote “no man is an island“? Indeed, we need other people to survive.
In college, be sure to befriend your seniors so you would know what subjects are better to take than the others. Introduce yourself to your professors and other people in your college or university so that you would have connections after you graduate. You might not know that the friend of the friend of your friend may just lead you to the company you aim to work at.
8. Don’t forget to give yourself a break once in a while.
But through all these exhausting happenings and busy environment, give yourself a break. Take some time to nap. Reward yourself some chocolates or anything after exams. Sleep early. Those little things would make a great deal for your body. Remember that our bodies are like machines that, when overused, stops functioning well. And in colleg, we do need to function entirely well.
9. Save money.
Just because your parents provide for tou doesn’t mean that you are ought to be taking advantage of that. That allowance your parents or guardians give you is supposed to be spent on things you need, not things you want. Buy yourself food and don’t skip a meal. Go to the grocery store and get the stuff you need. Give yourself the things you want sometimes but don’t overdo it. Save some money so that when there are any emergencies or when you badly need an amount of money, you’re prepared.
Also, it’d be good to invest some on stocks so you could actually give it a chance to grow bigger in amount.
10. Love yourself.
Never, ever forget this. You will meet a lot of people who may intimidate you or criticize or question your being amazing. No matter what, be confident of who you are and walk with your head held high. All these challenges would push you down but it would, only if you let them. So don’t. Just keep being the amazing you, my love, and believe you are so that the world will see that in return.
11. Have fun!
Lastly, remember to take life lightly. College will only pass but the memories you made in it will remain. Make sure that even though you have your eyes on the goal, you are still willing to go through some curves in what should be a straight path. Don’t take shotcuts and just live life to the fullest. Go to some parties or socialize, depends on you! But dare to make some memories that will last longer than all those lectures and notes.
Study hard but still, enjoy college! After all, it only happens once.
Do you have other tips for incoming freshmen? Any valuable piece of information or experiences that you’ve had when you were a freshman? Share them in the comments below!