Starting college is one of the most exciting times in our lives. For most first-year students, it’s their first time living away from home—the first chance they’ve had to start a new life, with no expectations or preconceptions. Many students use this as an opportunity for experimentation, a chance to find out who they are, and try new things.
Unfortunately, life as a freshman can be tricky. Everything is different. New people and new experiences surround you. There’s so much to learn, but so much fun to be had, too. It can be overwhelming, and often a bit of a shock to the system. Many freshmen suffer from stress and anxiety. They struggle to sleep and can even have a hard time with their mental and physical health.
If you want to get the most out of life as a freshman, here are some tips to help you out.
Make Sleep a Priority
If there’s one thing that you need to enjoy your freshman year as much as possible, it is sleep. You’ll want to enjoy parties, join organizations, study late and cram in as much as you can. But, sleep is an essential.
A good mattress and comfortable room will help, but stress is one of the main causes of sleepless nights. So, find ways to manage your stress levels, make sure you have someone to talk to and try to relax when you can.
Take Care of Your Health
Many freshmen lose at least a few of those first few weeks to illness. Students from all over the country are coming together, sharing germs and bacteria, and late nights, poor nutrition, and a lack of vitamin D mean that immunity is low.
If you don’t want to waste your first month battling freshers’ flu, take care of yourself. Getting plenty of sleep will help, but you should also eat well, exercise, and consider a vitamin supplement for an extra boost.
Take a Good Look Around
Go on campus tours, get a map, walk around on your own, and generally try to find your way around as soon as you can. This will help make sure you don’t miss classes trying to find your way, but it will also help you feel more comfortable and less of a newbie.
Meet Lots of People Knowing They Won’t All Be Lifelong Friends
Make an effort to introduce yourself to roommates and people on your course. Join organizations and clubs and generally get to know as many people as you can. They won’t all stay lifelong friends, you might not even speak to them after Christmas, but that early support network is essential.
By your last year at high school, you were on it. You knew your timetable, and all of the teachers, you knew when deadlines were, and your days followed a plan. At college, there are no bells, no reminders, and no carefully laid out plans. For the first time, you are in control.
Get organized with a diary and online tools so that you don’t miss deadlines, classes, or even parties.
Find Your Study Spot
Having a comfortable and relaxed spot to study in will help you to stay focused and work productively. It might be in your room, the library, or under a tree. Wherever it is, try to find it quickly.
Find the Right Balance
Your balance won’t be like anyone else’s, and you shouldn’t compare. Some people can party hard without it affecting their work. Others need to devote more time to study. Some people need more sleep, and others need to fit more exercise in to reduce stress. Find your balance, and don’t worry about anyone else’s.
Remember to take your time—things are bound to feel a little odd to start with, especially at the moment. Give yourself time to settle, call home as often as you need to, and let everything sink in. You’ll soon be thriving.