Nobody comes into college life fresh out of high school as a capable and professional know-it-all. NOBODY. Everyone will meet with the trials and tribulations that come with college living, starting on the first night of moving into the dorm. Even now, as a soon-to-be-graduating senior, college life is still tough. However, like how a blacksmith hammers down on glowing iron, the hardest hits can make the biggest impressions on us, especially when we’re 18 years old. College life has made me into a responsible student, a focused worker, a helper of the community, a loving boyfriend, a capable teacher, and an overall happy young man. Here are just a few of the basic tips I would give to any freshmen before embarking on their academic journey:
1. Meet people and make friends
- They say, “It’s not what you know that counts, but who you know”. That’s very true, especially in college. You’ll find yourself enjoying college and succeeding in classes if you meet people and talk around. Get to know the people sitting next to you in math class, go to lunch in the Galley with your roommate & their friends, and attend some of the weekly activities hosted by the organizations. Your friends in college will greatly help you to enjoy your time here.
2. Use your money wisely
- Your financial aid refund came in and, boy, that’s a lot of cash! Time to go partying downtown, after I finish playing my new Playstation 7! Wrong answer. That money you’ll be getting should go towards your essentials first. Use it to pay for your textbooks first and foremost, since books are not cheap but are essential for your grade. After the rent is paid, the books are in the mail, the groceries are in the fridge, and the phone and electric bills are paid, then whatever extra can be used for the fun stuff.
3. Make a schedule every week
- Class is not the only thing you’ll need to attend every week. College will give you less time in the classroom and more time for you to spend, so spend it wisely. Schedule when you need to study and for how long, what exams or papers are coming up, when to meet with your study buddies at the library, etc. Also make time to do the laundry, get groceries, clean the dorm, etc. You won’t go back to your dorm to find your mom mopping the kitchen floor (at least, I hope not)! Use your time wisely.
4. Eat healthy and stay in shape
- With our minds racing about class credits, a new schedule, enjoying Savannah, and hanging out with friends, our health is usually the last thing on our minds! Remember that a balanced and healthy diet, moderate exercise, and a good 8-hour rest will keep you feeling more energized than just a cup of coffee from The Perk. Use your Mandatory Gym Fee and take time to check out our amazing fitness center, offering weekly group exercise classes and a fully equipped workout area. While on the topic…
5. Take advantage of our school’s vast resources
- A college is different from a high school in many, MANY ways. For example, did you know that we have dozens of free-access computers in the library? Or free tutoring services for writing, history, math, and science? How about group camping trips and sea kayaking expeditions? Armstrong has a vast array of departments, clubs, and organizations that are always working to provide useful and fun opportunities to its student.
6. Get to know your professors
- This is probably the most important thing you can do early on in your career. Your professors are not the distant, cold-hearted, Professor Snape-type that we typically think of. Your professors want you to succeed and are more than happy to help you with subjects. Take advantage of your professors’ office hours and bring some questions to ask. Starting a good friendship with your professors now will help you get those recommendations you’ll need around graduation *nudge nudge*.
7. Try out new activities and hobbies
- Don’t just spend your free time in your dorm with your friends or, even worse, by yourself. Try out things you may have always wanted to do or things you never think you’d like. I, personally, fell in love with yoga after jumping into a class at the gym. No one would have ever guessed that I’d love yoga so much that I’d eventually teach it, not even myself! Ask around on campus for events or clubs that you may be interested in.
8. Make long-term plans with your academic advisor
- For every semester you take in college, you will have to take mandatory advisement sessions every semester. With the same person. Get to know your advisor (much like your professor) and they will help you choose the right classes. Take care of your core classes first, then your classes related your major, and you will thank yourself whenever you graduate on time!
9. Ask questions
- You will get confused at some point during freshmen year. Maybe it’s something about your dorm, the complexities of credit hours, or even with the professor’s lecture. What can you do? Ask questions! It’s completely natural to not know something. Don’t be ashamed! Ask your professor, your advisor, or your friends if you ever need some advice.
10. Enjoy life as a college student
- Plain and simple: your college years will be your best years, but only if you make them fun. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself after doing all of your homework. Be safe and know what’s a positive source of fun, then go for it!