Heyyyyy!!! Yes, it has been a while but you all know my excuse by heart. I have a new-found respect for people who spend their lives working in a lab; really, for anyone who works an 8+ hour job. Whenever I get home, all I want to do is eat and sleep. All my energy is drained. Well that’s not the focus of today. This post is for everyone who will be going to college this fall, or anytime in the near future. First of all, congratulations on your graduation. You are about to become the glorified college student. Welcome, welcome *in my hunger games voice* I will be splitting the advice into sections, so read on.
- Choosing your major – Some of you know what you want to study, some have an idea what their interests might be, and others have no clue what they want a degree in. It’s ok to be in any of those phases. My advice for you is to look up your school’s general education requirements and take those classes first. In that process, you may find what you enjoy, and you would have already taken the requirements. Also, when you finally pick a major, you won’t have general ed. classes to worry about
- Make plans for graduation – Yes I know. You might be wondering why you should make plans for graduation when you haven’t even had your first day of class. Something I noticed coming into college is that people want to take all the fun classes ( which is totally ok), but forget that they came to college for a degree. Nobody wants to be in their junior year of college and realize that you may not be able to walk across the stage as expected. The plans don’t have to be definite, but they should be there. The best person to help you with this is your academic advisor.
- Go into office hours -I cannot stress how much of a saving grace this is to me. I go to a small school, where office hours are actually a thing that professors abide to. For larger schools, I cannot say the same. Office hours are not the only form of help one can get. Universities were created for people, and not people for universities. Make use of all academic resources available at your campus. Even though they say it is free, you have already paid for it in your tuition. Whether it is office hours, tutoring centers, writing centers, etc., you would not regret getting help.
- Attend the weekend of welcome events -My first year I opted out of almost all of them, and I wished that I had attended at least a few. Yes I know the leaders (wowies) might be a bit overzealous, but that is their job. Scan the programs and activities when you first arrive, and decide which ones you would be interested in attending. Go with an open mind, and be ready to meet someone new. Remember that almost everyone there is looking for new friends as well.
- Obey the 8-weeks rule -From my observations, it usually takes people the first two months of college to start revealing their true colors. Yes, make friends, but don’t be tied down to people who will ruin your college experience. People often feel that because they met someone early in their college career, they are obligated to stay friends with them, and fulfill some sort of college fairytale. Whether it be a roommate, floormate, or a classmate, don’t be afraid to cut people off if you think the relationship will be toxic.
- Make friends with upperclassmen -They have been at the college longer than you, and serve as a wealth of information. Questions such as which professor should I take?, Where can I find good food around here?, etc can be answered by these seasoned college students. You can learn from mistakes that they have made, and use their advice to shape your future in college.
- Be involved -I cannot stress the importance of involvement in college. I worked at the call center at my school, and it always saddened me when I would call an alumni and find out that all they did in college was attend classes. It can’t be that serious. We never had anything to talk about, especially if their major was not one that I was familiar with. Join a club or an organization. You don’t have to join a lot (like me smh..), but at least join one. I cannot stress the importance of having people who share similar interests with you meeting up and de-stressing.
- Be aware of resources-I always feel ashamed when a senior student, who is about to graduate asks me where the career center is. You have been here for FOUR YEARS, and you do not know where the career center is. It is like you are not ready to graduate. You don’t have to use all of them at the same time, but at least know that they exist and where you can find them. Have the cellphone number of Public Safety (I call them too many times, they are practically on my speed dial), and other emergency numbers.
My most important advice to all the incoming first-years: Don’t just pass through school, allow school to pass through you (one of my high school teachers told me that). Remember what you came to college for, not for relationships, not for parties, but for a degree. Good luck and enjoy the ride that is college.
Jeremiah 29:11-“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”