Strategies to Help You Thrive During Your Freshman Year

  1. Attend Orientation:  Is this just another glorified campus tour?  Possibly, depending on the campus.  However, the faster you learn your way around the school and its systems, the more comfortable and prepared you will feel.
  2. Introduce yourself to your hall-mates and classmates.  The people you live with and attend classes with are most likely going through similar experiences and emotions as you.  You might not find your niche right away.  Be patient.
  3. Get Organized.  In college, there is a certain level of independence and self-advocacy that is expected of you, whether you are prepared and practiced or not.  The best thing you can do is organize yourself in advance with whatever system works for you. Buy an organizer, use an app, or get a big wall calendar - whatever it takes to be set up for success.
  4. Find your ideal study spot.  It may be your dorm room or a certain corner of the library, or a table at the local cafe with your wireless headphones in.  The goal is to find some places where you feel comfortable and with minimal distractions for maximum effectiveness.
  5. Go to class.  This one may seem self-explanatory, however skipping class without your parents or school giving you a consequence will likely seem tempting at some point. Avoid the temptation - being in the room during a lecture or a discussion plus learning about any important due dates or expectations will keep you on the road toward success.
  6. Meet with your professors. Although it may seem intimidating, attending a professor's office hours has numerous benefits from getting to know your professor, him/her getting to know you, and a demonstrated interest and effort in the work. Office hours exist for this reason!  Take advantage of the time and opportunity.
  7. Get to know your academic advisor. This person is a key resource for you — and should be the person you turn to with any academic issues or conflicts. This is the person who will also help you with course conflicts, adding or dropping courses, scheduling of classes for future semesters, deciding on majors and minors.   In many colleges, your advisor will stay with you all four years so you will have ample time to work together.
  8. Seek a balance. College life is a mixture of social and academic happenings.  There are so many new and interesting and fun things to do.  Don't take too many on at once.  Explore one or two clubs or activities that you think you will enjoy and jump into them for a while.  See if they are a good fit.  You can always add more activities later on.  Remember, balance is key.
  9. Get involved in an activity that fuels you. Consider joining a select group-  something you are passionate about and have always been interested in. You’ll make new friends, learn new skills, and feel more connected to your school.  Make sure that this is an activity that has a greater reward than cost.
  10. Make time for you. Be sure you set aside some time and activities that help you relax and take the stress out of your day or week. Perhaps take a yoga class, watch your favorite TV show or take a walk in nature.  Even a short recharge can be very helpful.

Transitioning to college can be stressful.  There are numerous expectations, changes and pressures.  Follow the above tips.  Be gentle with yourself.  And ask for help when you need it!!