My first year of college was probably the most rewarding first year of my schooling career. The first year in grade school felt like a day long play date. Everyone was friends. When entering middle school and high school I had the same people by my side. Sure, sometimes I went to class without them, but I saw them for lunch. College was a whole new experience. New people, a new environment, it was like I was starting over. During that first year, I learned 5 important things:
I have friends!
I’m not the outgoing type, I don’t go up to strangers and make instant friends. I usually just talk to the person next to me in class, and then after a few months add them on Facebook confirming the “friendship” status. I assumed that was how I would make friends in college and for the most part I did.
The thing is everyone else is in the same boat as you. Everyone is at a new school, maybe in a new state, and the majority aren’t living at home. Your roommate is either going to be your best friend or just that person you share a room with. Administrators know this, they’ll probably have a first year program jam packed with a million activities for you and all of the other new students to do. Then when the school year starts, they’ll add another million activities so there is always something to do and people to meet. No matter where you go on campus you are surrounded by potential friends.
Weight is just a number
You have probably heard about the Freshman 15. I was convinced that I was going to gain weight. I didn’t. The truth of the matter is you are doing a lot more walking than normal. In the traditional high school setting, you walk around one building going from class to class. In college, you walk from your dorm room to academic buildings. Your classes might not be back to back, so you have more travel time. In addition, there is probably an exercise facility on campus. I personally am allergic to exercise, but it could work for you.
The workload is manageable
In high school, teachers tell you “if you think this is hard wait until you’re in college”. We all expect these large workloads, unreasonable assignments, and endless hours of studying. Classes are spread out and you are only actually in class for about 12-20 hours a week, or at least that’s the norm at my school. That gives you ample time to do work and socialize. The important thing is to buy a planner, use it, and Stay Organized.
Office hours are a gift, use them
The idea of going to my professors’ office hours terrified me. I mean, who wants to be alone in an office with your professor… creepy! The first time I went, I tagged along with a classmate. After that, I felt comfortable going whenever I needed help. Truth is, professors are there to help you. Your professors will see that you want to learn and are trying to improve; it will make them respect you more as a student.
Never once have I felt the need to change who I am while in college. Don’t change who you are to fit in. Be yourself, you’re not in this alone.