Your freshman year of college is probably one of the most nerve wrecking yet exciting moments that you will ever get to experience. Being on your own for the first time, meeting new people and adjusting to campus life can feel overwhelming. But, once you get through it, you will be ready to approach new challenges and grow along the way.
I currently attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and boy has it been a wild journey. I could not have imagined that freshman year would have turned out the way it did. Initially the campus seems so large and crazy. You have no idea what to expect. But somewhere in you a strong desire for adventure and new opportunities ignites within. As someone who was a homebody and did not get to experience life outside of myself and family during my childhood and most of my high school years, university life was a chance for me to become a different person. While I still enjoy staying at home and just relaxing alone or with my loved ones, I am not as afraid to take certain risks and to try new things. I am more confident, open-minded and willing to venture out on my own.
Here are three tips that will help make your college career successful as you go through your freshman year:
Go to freshman orientation Attending orientation during the first week of school, campus-wide or in your residence hall, is a great and easy way to meet and get to know your peers as well as learn more about your school. From late night bonfires to trivia rounds to checking out your neighbors’ rooms, there are plenty of ways to form connections in the comfort of your own living space. There are also information sessions, held by upperclassmen, that you can attend in regards to learning about the bus systems on campus, the best places to study and eat, and so on. You will, in turn, be better prepared for your first few weeks at school. Knowing more about your campus and getting the chance to meet people through fun activities and icebreakers can not only help relieve some of the jitters that come with being in a new environment but also create comfort in knowing that you are not alone and that there are people to guide you if you need it.
Attend events around campus and in your residence hall If you enjoyed freshman orientation, did not or missed out on it, I would still highly encourage you to find and attend events that sound interesting or even unfamiliar to you. Go explore! Bring your friend with you! This is your chance to bond with others, make the most of your free time and learn more about your interests, which can benefit you in terms of your career goals and mental health. Finding and engaging in your favorite hobby/activity is a form of self-care!
Join clubs and organizations that sound appealing to you! Attend campus events or check out your school’s website for a complete list of all the clubs and student organizations there are. You will not only meet people and form new connections, but you will also have the chance to enhance or cultivate your own interests. I promise you will not regret it. Not only will you have the opportunity to grow as an individual, but you will also build and hopefully strengthen your support system – which is imperative to have as you are beginning your college journey.
When you feel as though things are not going your way or when you have felt like you have messed up, which is bound to happen at some point, finding the right group of friends and standing by positive influences in your life can help during this pressure-filled time in your life. Your friends and networking connections can also help guide you to your future career path. You can seek different opportunities and try new things together. This will make new experiences less overwhelming and more enriching if you are feeling hesitant.
The transition period when you first enter college may be very difficult. It is easy to feel isolated and lonely. But I promise that you can and will get through it! At Bodhi Counseling, we are always here to propel you towards what you are already capable of.
So, go out there and explore what college life has to offer. Cultivate new friendships while also maintaining existing connections, participate in events that speak to you and connect with others to ensure that you have a fruitful college experience your first year - and hopefully for the years to come!