My younger brother is getting ready for his freshman year of college, and asked me a great question: “What’s your #1 piece of advice for freshman?” I thought about it for a moment, and remembered my own freshman year experiences. There were plenty of things that stressed me out or made me nervous, but there were also a lot of valuable life-lessons I learned.
So my #1 piece of advice: Freshman, you have time.
When many students get to college they are overwhelmed (and excited) by the freedom. There’s so much to do and experience that they try to cram it all in their first semester. This, unfortunately, can lead to burnout. I saw students join three clubs, take 16 credit hours, go out almost every night, and stay up to three in the morning trying to finish a paper or study for a test.
You have four (or more) years to experience everything you want to. So take your time. Instead of three clubs right off the bat, try one. Instead of going out every night, take your schedule and classwork into consideration, and choose a less hectic day to go out and have (responsible) fun.
Avoid burning out by not over-filling your day-to-day schedule with activities and work. Take some time to just relax. Using a calendar can be a big help, too, so you have due dates, tests, work shifts, class time, and free time all mapped out.
I was so worried that I wasn’t doing enough as a freshman, but now I’m very glad I paced myself. I didn’t burn out like some of my overly-ambitious friends, and yet still had a great college experience overall.
Take your time, freshman.
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