(Originally published in the August Orientation issue of the SJC Talon)
For most of us, college is the first time we truly venture out on our own and begin the journey of deciding what we want to do in life. As a freshman who has graduated from high school not too long ago, it may seem like a long four years, but in reality, time flies by!
Soon enough, you will be walking onto the stage to accept your undergraduate diploma and thinking about the memories you have made throughout your college experience. As a rising senior myself, here are some tips and pieces of advice that hopefully will help you start your college career off right!
1. College is a beautiful time of discovery and creating new experiences.
In your first few weeks, you will be swarmed with invitations to join clubs on campus and hear about different events, so why not go for it? “Joining clubs and attending events is a nice way to meet people and experience new things,” Keyla Ordonez, a rising senior majoring in biology, states. “It can be very overwhelming, but it is worth it and you will have fun!”
2. Look at it as a time to develop your interests, or even just figure out what they are.
For the most part, I knew what I wanted do when I first started college, but that may not be the case for you. The classes you take, experiences you have and the people you meet can guide or inspire you to make decisions that will lead you to
your goal. I even changed my major to better accommodate my needs to suit my goals, so do not be afraid to change your major or be undecided in your first year. Asking current students about what a certain major entails is a good idea so you can see if it right for you.
“There will be great times and there will be stressful times,” Imani Hall, also a biology major, mentions. “It’s an adjustment and you have an unlimited number of resources, so don’t hesitate to use them if you need to.”
3. Make sure to put in some down time for yourself.
While your grades are important to maintain, taking time for yourself is important too. By this I mean that once in awhile, find a place and time where you can sit and be still, without a care or worry on your mind. College can get very hectic at times when you have a million and one things to get done, but just taking a few minutes to calm down and essentially meditate on what you need to do really helps a lot.
4. Study packet, outline, record and repeat.
We all have different study methods, and for a few friends of mine and myself, creating study packets from lessons for an upcoming exam works. Recording the lecture and rewriting notes is also a big one for me because it further helps me to engrain the lesson in my head. The teaching style of the professor and how well you can take notes play a huge factor on what method you decide to employ. Planning out exams from the syllabus for the semester is also key methods that help me stay organized.
5. Become friendly with the people in your classes.
One of the best things about our school is that the class sizes are really small. This means that you have an opportunity to interact with your professor and your fellow classmates that students at bigger schools don’t have. Make sure to take advantage of that opportunity. “Talking to other students in your class gives you a resource for when you’re stuck on a homework assignment or unsure when a paper is due,” said Allison Kamel, a rising senior majoring in biology. “It also makes group projects less awkward.”
Overall, congratulations for starting an important chapter in your lives as official SJC college students! I hope that these tips will help you to have a great freshman experience. Most importantly, believe in yourself and all that you are and will become and know that there is something inside that is greater than any obstacle.