Freshman Five: Tips for the First Week of College

"Life is all about learning experiences." This is what one of my favorite high school teachers used to always say. To say the least, this past week has definitely been one huge and interesting learning experience. I have already met so many different people and the environment is truly unlike any other. Classes technically started last Thursday, but it already feels as if I have been here for months (If only that meant the semester was almost over!). Here are a few things I have found to be helpful in my first week as a bonafide college student.

It's *Kind Of* Okay to Talk to Strangers! // This is college! Although a large proportion of my high school graduating class came to the same school, it is very easy to drift off as if they aren't even there. Of my friends from home, I've only really been able to hang out with my best friend Theatre Geek. Coming to a new place means you are going to be around completely new people - it's okay to prop your door open once in a while when you're working on homework and just yelling out "Hi!" when somebody passes by. Sometimes people will respond and walk away while others will stop and share a pleasant conversation. The people on your floor could have similar majors or be in some of your classes. Don't be afraid to reach out! Sometimes people are just as shy and/or awkward as you might feel.

Pay Attention When People Talk About Navigating Their Schedules // A new campus means you will probably be the person with a color-coded copy of the school map plastered to your face. There's nothing wrong with this, but it is really helpful to listen when other people talk about how they get to their classes. You never know when you'll overhear the mentioning of a shortcut between buildings, or a street that has much less traffic and thus is better for using during a busy class hour. You might even find out somebody has a class down the hall or a building over from yours - BOOM instant walking partner!

Get to Know Your CAs // Instead of RAs, I have CAs! Community Advisors are upperclassmen living on your floor for the sole purpose of helping you in adjusting to college life. I live in a dormitory with a high concentration of Business majors. Coincidentally enough, one of my CAs and my floor's Peer Programmer are both Accountancy majors like me! The CA has studied abroad in Italy and held a prestigious internship last summer! Make sure to take advantage of the little opportunities that come your way, even if they don't seem to be very big at first. Talking to upperclassmen can be very helpful when trying to navigate the campus, deciding which classes to take, and how to adapt your study habits for certain professors.

Don't Be in a Rush to Rush // It's always in the movies, all over Twitter, and on the flyers plastered around your dormitory: Greek life. There is definitely a certain appeal to having a piece of family to fall back on while you're away from home, but don't rush because you don't want to feel left out. You have four years of college ahead of you, get your feet under you first, then decide if you want to join a House. One of the things I have seen when reading up on Greek life is that not too many articles put an emphasis on the actual time-commitment it is. If you adjust well and know what you want to do, by all means go for it. But, if you are unsure of how you feel, I suggest waiting until the Spring or even until the following Fall. There's no harm in waiting if you don't feel comfortable. The sorority or fraternity that's right for you will take you even if you're not a freshman.

Be Open-Minded to Trying New Things // High school was a very busy time for me. I had club meetings and practices every single morning and afternoon that I began to stop thinking in terms of actual days! Now that I am in college, I have found that there are thousands upon thousands of different student organizations at the university and it can be quite overwhelming. Don't be afraid to go talk to a member of a club you never thought you would be interested in because you think they are going to force you into a commitment. That isn't what club fairs are about. Club fairs are put on so that organizations can publicize their club and try to find new people who might like to join. It doesn't hurt to talk to somebody for five minutes about something they are passionate about - who knows, you might find something you'd like to try! This also goes for events - I never really went to football or basketball games in high school but I think I'm going to give them a try! Tonight is the first game of the season and I'm actually really excited so we will see how that goes!

Hope these tips help you in any way possible! Let me know in the comments how your school year is going so far! :)

Catch you next time.

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