At the end of August, I flew from one coast of the US to the other, eager to begin college. The next few weeks passed by in a flurry of activity and excitement, and now, after about two months, things are finally beginning to settle down. From my very limited experience of college, I’ve compiled a personal list of takeaways and lessons learned for how to adjust to college life.
1. Talk to random people
During orientation week, talk to as many people as you can. Although it can be scary, it’s easy once you realize how little is at stake. Most people you meet during the first week won’t actually be your true friends, so worst case scenario, things are awkward and you find someone else to talk to. And in the best case scenario, the people you meet actually do become your closest friends!
In addition, if you get stuck for conversation, just fall back to a list of generic questions: What’s your name? What’s your major? Where are you from? What dorm are you in? Etc.
2. Try out a lot of clubs
Freshman year of college is probably one of the better times to explore your interests, even if you already know your major. For example, during the first few weeks, I attended info sessions and meetings for more clubs than I could realistically handle. Experimenting with a wide range of interests ultimately helped me get a better idea of what I like, and now, I’m only part of the clubs I truly enjoy and have the time for.
3. Make use of your school’s resources
Most schools offer a variety of services for students, such as academic advising, career help, and health/wellness. These services are usually free, so why not make the most of them? For example, if you’re interested in working in industry, going to the career fair can be a good experience; while it’ll be difficult to find an internship as a freshman, you’ll at least get a feel for what it’s like and get some free company swag!
4. Have free time to recharge
Spend some time every day or week doing relaxing stuff. Also, try to get seven, eight hours of sleep as much as possible. So far, it’s definitely been doable for me, and hopefully with proper time management it’s something one can keep up throughout most of college (zero guarantees here though).
5. Have fun
Everyone has heard the statement that college is the best time of your life, so it’s obligatory that I include this. Spend time with friends, explore your college town/city, etc. Enjoy yourself!
I’ve only been in college for two months now, so in a year or two I’ll probably look back on this and roll my eyes/laugh at myself. But for the time being, its a good record of my thoughts and takeaways, and hopefully it’s something seniors currently applying to college can learn from!