Freshmen, You Got This!

Fourth Estate/Billy Ferguson


The first couple of weeks of college are done. For some, it is the very first weeks of college in their life and for others it’s been the same old, same old. Upperclassmen? You have it all figured out by now and you’re a pro at this. Freshmen? Perhaps you have figured it out by now or perhaps you haven’t. If you haven’t that’s okay. 

College is a very stressful time for everyone with all the different transitions of independence, responsibility, friend-making and everything involving what to do with the next few steps in your life. A lot of people make mistakes here and plenty of others learn valuable life-long lessons. Some take longer to understand how to survive than others. That’s absolutely okay. If you’re one of the people who are struggling with something, I think I have a few tips to help you. I’ve learned through this very same experience.

The first thing that I think is absolutely helpful for freshmen is to get involved on campus. I remember hearing this phrase everywhere and to hear it again seems ridiculous, I know. 

However, I think it’s incredibly important to join a campus organization because it allows you to do something aside from focusing all of your attention on studying and classes. It gives you a break from it all with the additional opportunity to make friends. I remember hearing advice telling me that if I didn’t  get involved, I wouldn’t know anybody. I think this is absolutely true because I would not have met any of my friends otherwise.

The second thing I think is helpful for freshmen is to surround yourself with the right people — the people who you want to be like. I remember receiving this piece of advice from a teacher in high school who explained to me specifically how and why it was vital.

Both the world and college are so big, so why would you want to waste your time with people who cause you grief? Why wouldn’t you spend time with people who have the same interests as you? Why wouldn’t you spend time with people who inspire you? Why wouldn’t you spend time with people who have traits that you wish you had? 

My teacher gave me this advice because spending time with the wrong people can lead you astray of what you want out of life. If you spend time with the right people, they should uplift you and amazing opportunities will present themselves to you.

The third piece of advice for freshmen is to not be afraid of asking for help. I remember that I was endlessly told as a kid that asking for help was a bad thing. Surprisingly … it’s not! Asking for help is absolutely amazing because it shows a lot about you. 

It shows that you’re trying, engaged, willing to learn and cooperative — all traits employers are looking for in future employees. It’s absolutely and always okay to ask for help because you wouldn’t be able to advance forward if you did not ask.

The fourth tip for freshmen is to not be afraid of stepping outside of your comfort zone. In high school, I was constantly afraid to put myself out there and refrained from doing activities that made me uncomfortable even though they would impact me positively. 

I learned from that mistake and made sure it didn’t happen in college. So far, I’ve been loving what I’ve accomplished and loving the fact that I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone. These experiences have had  such a positive impact on my life, future career goals and academics, so much so that I still don’t understand what I was scared of. 

I sort of think of the saying, “big risk, big reward,” in this context. If I hadn’t  taken these risks, I think I would be regretting a lot by now.

The very final tip for freshmen is to pursue your own happiness. Do what makes you happy. Doing things that make you upset and unhappy can be very taxing on yourself in many ways. 

If you have spent time doing such activities, then you have  definitely struggled much more than you needed to. This can be applied to everything hobbies, academics, careers … you name it! You need to do what makes you happy because it’s your life. You shouldn’t be miserable while living it.