Own Your Freshman Year
By Jeremy Azurin | For StudentAdvisor.com
As a freshman, I was not excited to enter college. I had to deal with an hour-long commute, my AP credits did not transfer, and my classes were in random parts in the day with three to four hour gaps in between. While I was not looking forward to starting college, my sour attitude didn’t hinder my involvement in activities or negatively affect my studies.
I was involved with Student Government, started my own club, made Dean’s list and landed an internship, all while taking an hour-long commute to my school. I was going to make my freshman year one to remember, and with the following tips, you can too!
First off, own your freshman year
This is a bit vague, but make sure you completely dominate your own path at your new school. Don’t let your advisor make your schedule, don’t let the financial aid office rip you of your money, and most importantly, don’t let anyone walk over you. You may be a freshman, but no one has the right to stop you from your success.
Go into college with an open mind
If you’re coming into college with any preconceived notions about what college “will” or “should” be, then the only expectation is you should have is that you will be disappointed. College is diverse and I believe there is no way to truly predict what college is like until you are actually there.
Take a language class
This is my only regret of freshman year. I didn’t have any space in my schedule to incorporate my love of the Spanish language, or any language course, because of the way my school’s timetable was arranged. Languages are so important these days because of the expanding economy and globalization, so having one or two languages under your belt is highly advantageous when searching for jobs.
I didn’t do enough of this my freshman year, which is pretty sad considering it was a tiny school. It may sound silly to purchase business cards as a freshman in college but you’ll need them when distinguished speakers visit or when your school hosts career fairs throughout the year. Having this entrepreneurial spirit will get your name out throughout the university and will play in your favor whenever a research position or potential internship pops up!
Take an easy course load first semester
Quality over quantity, my friends. Do I suggest pursuing eighteen credits your first semester? Yes, but only with “subjectively” easy courses. I took eighteen credits of easy courses first semester and still managed to maintain a social life because I knew I could handle the work. However, if you’re an engineering, biology, or other demanding major, then a light course load might be more fitting with far fewer credits.
Don’t be afraid to be “that guy” or “that girl”
We all know that one student who embodies the meaning of the word “freshman,” who takes it upon him or herself to intentionally become the center of attention and be as outgoing as possible. Take note and be as amicable as possible. Freshman year is all about making friends and I guarantee it is easier than if you’re sheltered in your dorm room. Meet everyone and their parents in your hall during move-in, start small talk in the laundry room, leave your dorm door open during the first month, and join clubs that are out of your comfort zone.
Don’t slack second semester
I caught the ‘senioritis’ bug again during my second semester freshman year, which happened to be the same semester I decided to overload on credits. I was able to maintain a solid grade point average, but work became real annoying real fast. Additionally, I was planning to transfer to another school, which only accepted credits and did not transfer my GPA. However, my perfectionist spirit encouraged me to finish on a high note.
I still had a great time as a freshman, and I intend to make this year even better at my new school. It’s worth repeating: own your freshman year. You are the only one who can stop you from success as a student. You were accepted to your school for a reason; don’t let anyone let you question that.