Freshman 101 or How not to fear your first year at college

2013-08-20T00:15:00Z Freshman 101 or How not to fear your first year at collegeBy: Sara Labor Chadron State College Rapid City Journal
August 20, 2013 12:15 am  • 

As I signed up for fall courses this year, I had a strange mixture of feelings. Excitement and anxiety, stress and hope.

However, these feelings are nothing compared to the feelings of new college students. With a college freshman in the family, I have heard the ever-growing worries of new students.

What if I don’t like my classes? What if I can’t make friends?

What if I don’t like my major?

What if I don’t fit in?

I decided to write some friendly advice as a college pro to assuage the fears of this year’s Hot Springs graduating class. While college should be nerve-wracking, it’s not something to be terrified of.

First, it’s important to remember that there’s always somewhere to fit in in college. As a high school student, I often felt left out. Of course, in high school, popularity seems key. That’s not so in college.

With more clubs and activities, there’s always a place to make new friends and be a part of something.

I tried it all; choir, youth group, gamers club, you name it. It may take a while, but college is about trying new things until you find your niche.

I finally wandered into the newsroom and have been happily writing for the school newspaper since. College freshman should always be trying new clubs or activities until they find that one place where they feel most at home.

Second, the roommate issue. When I walked into my first dorm room and met my roommate, I was nervous. We had different political affiliations, different tastes in music, different schedules, and different lives. Our first semester, we didn’t do much hanging out. Three years later, she became one of my closest friends.

Some people think that it’s a good thing to room with people they already know. I can guarantee that this is a bad idea.

When people room with friends from high school, they don’t get the opportunity to bond with new friends.

New roommates may seem scary, but they introduce a person to new things outside of the normal comfort zone. A new roommate may even end up becoming a best friend.

Third, don’t worry about your major. Perhaps this is different advice than a parent would give, but as a seasoned pro, I have to impart this wisdom on a younger generation.

You think you’ve got your future figured out? Think again.

You’re only 18-years-old; your interests will change. Sixty-one percent of college students change their major at least once before they graduate. It’s okay to be part of that statistic.

Choosing what you want to do for the rest of your life is a big decision to make at eighteen. So make it after you’ve explored your interests instead.

Then there are the little pieces of advice that any college freshman may have heard already. Sit in the front, it impresses the teacher. Buy your books from Amazon, not the bookstore. The library isn’t that scary. Try to avoid eight o’ clock classes. Etc., etc.

Most importantly, it’s important for younger students to remember that college is fun. It’s not meant to be something huge and scary. There are always new friends, new activities, and new creative outlets. It should give you nervous butterflies, but in the excited way, rather than the terrified way.

College is about learning, not just in the classroom, but in life.

Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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