August 26, 2019

5 Things I Wish I had Known as a Freshman

5 Things I Wish I had Known as a Freshman

It’s the second week of school and I hope that things are starting to settle down for you just a bit. I hope you are figuring out your surroundings, meeting new people, and learning how to be a college student.

Wait…what? Learning how to be a “college student?” Isn’t being a “college student” the same thing as being a “student?” Well, yes…and no.

Being a college student is quite different than anything you have experienced in your academic career so far. There are 5 things that I wish I had known as a freshman that I think will help you be a better “college student.”

1. If you did not have to study in high school, you will have to learn how to study in college.
College was quite the awakening for me. I never had to study in high school. I could glance at my notes, open the book to look at the pictures and its captions, and make sure I knew the key words in each chapter. I graduated with honors from high school. If you have not heard it yet, let me be the first to tell you that this study method does not work in college.

As a college student, you need to learn time management and study skills early. Buy a planner, write down all of your assignments, appointments, games, social gatherings, etc. Be aware of when your tests are and when your papers are due. Waiting until the night before usually does not end well.

If you know you need help learning study tips or time management skills, speak to your advisor, or attend some of our workshops this semester.

2. The Writing Center is not just for students who struggle in English class.
For four years, I thought the Writing Center was for students that were not doing well in their classes and were going to get extra help. I was making B’s, so I did not see a reason to go. If only I knew then what I know now!

The Writing Center is for EVERYONE. Tutors in the Writing Center can help you with papers, speeches, and even lab reports for Biology. Everyone can benefit from visiting the Writing Center. Tutors are available to help you improve your writing skills and help you to be successful in academic and professional communities.

3. Attendance actually matters.
I tell this story a lot. My Business 150 professor did not take attendance. The class was in an auditorium, so I was sure she would not even notice if I was there. I finally decided to show up for class one day and she was giving a test. Fast forward a few months later, and I was repeating the course in summer school. I went every day and sat at the front of the class. I replaced my original D with a B+.

I say all of that to tell you that attendance does matter. Missing one or two days (especially in a Tuesday/Thursday class) can put you behind. Get up and go to class!

4. The syllabus is important.
Please do not take this precious document and stuff it in the bottom of your book bag for it to never be seen again. Put it in a page protector and put it in the front of your course notebook. That is how important this document is.

The syllabus is your guide to success in each class. It provides you with important information about your professor, their expectations, what will be covered in the course, due dates, grading policies, and more. If you ever have questions about the course, the answer is probably in the syllabus. If you cannot find your answer, you can ask your professor. Use the syllabus to get your professor’s contact information.

The. Syllabus. Is. Important.

5. Healthy habits matter.
I was active in high school, and my metabolism was through the roof. I went to college, and I learned quickly that diet and exercise combined with a healthy amount of sleep actually matters. College is a new experience, and part of that experience is learning how to take care of yourself without your parents around to feed you healthy meals and make sure you are active.

Not only do diet, exercise, and sleep matter, but having healthy relationships do too. Go out and meet new friends and immerse yourself into college life. Get involved in clubs and organizations, and attend campus events. You need to have a healthy balance between your personal, school, and social lives.

These five things are so important to your success in college. If you find that you are feeling overwhelmed with the new college life, I encourage you to talk to your advisor. They are here to help you be the best “college student” you can be.

Good luck this semester!