August 22, 2013

Back to School Series: Freshmen Tips

Moving away to college is one of the scariest things in the world. My freshmen move in day I was full of tears and fears. I just wanted to leave and go home, be with my friends and family and live inside my comfort zone.

Sleeping in your bed for the first time, in a room full of strangers, in a strange building...there was nothing fun about it. There was nothing comfortable about it.

I would be lying if I said I enjoyed freshmen year. Yes I made friends, yes I had fun, but it was a major adjustment, one I would never want to relive.

Over time though, I look back with fondness at my freshmen year and how naive I was, how new everything was. I would kill to go back to freshmen year, change some things, and savor the time I had.

With all of this said, here are some of the best tips I could offer to college freshmen:

1. Get involved

You are going to hear this time and time again. College is not college without being involved. Most schools will have an involvement fair at the start of school where you can see all the clubs and sign up for what you want to join. Your email will be flooded with meeting times but it's a good thing! Go to those meetings, join a club you think will fit you. If you don't wake up in the morning and are involved in some aspect of campus life, you are missing out on what the college experience is all about.

2. Go outside your comfort zone

If you're away at college you're already far beyond the lines of your comfort zone. Go that one step further though, it will benefit you in the end. If something scares you, do it! That fear is a signal that is telling you that something good might come out of it. Do something you wouldn't normally do, knock on someone's door and introduce yourself, raise your hand in the classroom, do something different! This is the best way to grow, especially when you're in a welcoming place like a college campus.



3. Try out a service project

I know on my campus, service is a HUGE part of student life. There are so many different ways to give back to the community around you. Go help out at a soup kitchen, work at the tutoring center; those are great ways to get involved, meet good people, and give back. College is a wonderful way to do charity work and do different things that you normally wouldn't have access too.

4. Learn to do things alone

This is something I am still working on. It can be daunting to go outside your room by yourself. I still won't sit in the cafeteria alone but tons of my friends always eat by themselves. Go to the gym alone, walk alone to class, sit outside on the steps alone, do things by yourself because when you are comfortable being by yourself, you'll be comfortable doing anything.

5. Say Yes to Everything!

Okay, maybe not EVERYTHING. I wish I had said yes to more stuff when I was a freshmen; heck, I wish I said yes to more stuff now!  If it's Thursday night and you're exhausted and have a paper to write but your roommates are going out and they ask you to come, say yes! Say yes despite any situation. Those are the nights where you will thank yourself that you went out. Saying yes opens your mind up more and really shapes your college experience. Don't be that person that is uptight and says no to everything because they would rather lay in bed and watch Netflix. Netflix will always be there, college won't.

In the end, there is a place for everyone at college. You make your own experience with the things you do and don't do. They say college is the best four years of your life and they are not lying. I have grown in so many ways since I first stepped foot at Iona College and I would give anything in the world to have my freshmen year back.

Make the most of it because in the blink of an eye, it'll be gone.


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