5 Ways to Face Freshman Year Without Freaking Out

#1 – Don’t feel like you have to have everything planned out all at once.

While having a major picked out is helpful in speeding up the process of finishing graduation requirements and having a career, it’s okay if you don’t know what you want your major to be.

If you’re undecided about your major, pick classes in areas that interest you and get involved in activities outside of classes that relate to those interests.

Even if you have your major picked out, don’t limit yourself and explore different options through various clubs and organizations. Who knows, you might find that as engineering major, you really love doing graphic design for your college’s multimedia magazine.

While some students are able to pack all of their studies into four years of schooling, don’t feel pressured if it takes you longer. Your diploma will still be waiting for you at the end of all your hard work.

#2 –  “This isn’t high school.”

As a freshman in college, you’ll most likely hear this a lot from your professors within the first week of classes, and it’s true. It’s your responsibility to make sure you get to class on time, keep up with schoolwork, and manage your time outside of classes wisely. Your parents won’t be around to help you do any of these things, so it’s important to learn to be independent.

If the thought of fending for yourself sounds rather daunting, consider attending a community college and transferring to a four-year school after a couple of years.

Not only will this allow you the opportunity to study from home, but it will help prepare you for the day when you do decide to make the transition to a campus away from home. Community college also helps pop the dent in your tuition expenses.

#3 – Build healthy relationships with your professors.

You’ll be interacting with numerous teaching figures throughout your higher-level educational career, and it’s important that you network with every person you meet. Within the first week of classes, make a point to introduce yourself to your professors, especially if you’re in classes with a large amount of students.

The more you interact with your professors, the more likely they’ll be able to recognize you among the plethora of individuals they teach. Developing such a strong relationship can score you a reference for a job application or letter of recommendation in the future.

Reach out to your professors if you’re struggling with class material or simply need clarification on assignments. If a professor knows that you’re engaged with their classes and are taking the initiative to do well, they might possibly be a little easier on you when it comes to their grading.

If the orientation program through your college allows you the opportunity to meet with faculty and staff in the department of your major, take advantage of it. The sooner you meet them, the sooner they know you on a first-name basis.

#4 – Become as involved as you possibly can without burning yourself out.

Attend orientation events. This will allow you the opportunity to meet other students who are also freshmen. Depending on how orientation is set up, you might also be able to meet students in your major before classes start.

Attend activities fairs to find out more about clubs and organizations offered at your school. The more involved you are, the more people you will meet.

While being involved can be fun, can keep you busy, and allow you to meet lots of people, know your limits and take on only as much as you can handle.

Becoming too involved can take time away from academics and sleep, and that only creates more stress. The less stress a student can have in college, the better.

Actively participate in class discussions and build relationships with fellow classmates. If possible, get contact information from at least two of them in case you are sick and have to miss class. They can provide you with notes and keep you up-to-date on lectures and assignments.

#5 – Take time for yourself and keep yourself healthy.

Between homework and activities, take time for yourself and do something you like to do, whether it’s listening to music, watching the newest episode of your favorite TV show, or going for a run. Taking time to do something you enjoy can help alleviate stress from classes and homework.

The dining options might not be the healthiest ever, but making decent meal choices and eating regularly can heighten your mood. Getting enough sleep also helps to alleviate stress.

Keep in touch with friends and family, and don’t be afraid to confide in them if you need to let emotions out. If that isn’t an option, put your thoughts on paper through a journal.

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Britni Roberts

Britni Roberts

Britni Roberts is a senior at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois pursuing a degree in English Writing. She has been an Editor for the North Central Kindling humor magazine, Assistant News and Arts Editor for the North Central Chronicle newspaper, as well as a DJ and Rock News Reporter for WONC-FM 89.1, her college’s radio station. She enjoys listening to music and spending time with her friends, boyfriend, and his cat Willow.