By Vaneza Paredes
1. It’s OK to be undecided about your major
If you happen to be one of those people who has their entire life figured out-well lucky you! But for those of you who have absolutely no idea what you want to do in life, don’t fret. College is a time for exploration, so take advantage of the first two years by taking care of your general education units first. Try out a Freshman seminar class, or a leadership class to discover some of your interests. Don’t stress too much, you’ll find your calling in no time.
2. Get involved immediately
One awesome aspect of college is that there are so many different clubs, organizations, and ways to get involved on campus. Love playing soccer? Try out for an intramural team. Want to meet amazing ambitious women? Join a sorority. Sign up for new clubs/organizations during a club fest. You’ll be able to meet new people, and start discovering what you really care about.
3. Homesickness is normal
For many of you, it may be your very first time away from home. If feelings of homesickness start to kick in, know that it is a completely normal occurrence. Going out with friends and staying active can help combat some of the intense feelings of homesickness. Know that it’s OK to call home every so often, and you may also want to try finding things in your new hometown that remind you of home.
4. Find out what your campus has to offer
Many students are unaware of all the benefits their college campus has to offer. Most colleges have some sort of recreation center to work out in, that may even offer student discounts for yoga classes, or private trainings. Many colleges also have a health center, that offer free therapy sessions. Look around at flyers posted and take advantage of all the student discounts you can rack up.
5. Get Organized
College can be incredibly stressful-from running around from class to class, clubs, jobs, and so forth, so finding your own personal organization techniques that work best for you is key to managing your time. Whether that involves using a planner, downloading a homework schedule app, or buying a small whiteboard for your desk-find what works best for you and stick to it.
6. Sit in the front
Research has found that students who sit in the front of the classroom, typically tend to do far better academically compared to those who sit in the back. I learned this in a random psychology course I took my Freshman year and have always sat up in the very front since hearing this tip. Give it a shot, it can’t hurt.
7. Explore your college town
If you have moved to a new town, take advantage of the weekends by going out and exploring what the town has to offer. Try out a new café, spend an afternoon at the beach, or go out with friends to a new dance club. If you didn’t move to a new town, take advantage of having background knowledge, and show your new friends around.
8. Freshmen 15 is real
With so many food options available in the dining hall, tempting late-night treats, and the occasional stress-eating-yes, the Freshmen 15 is incredibly real. Don’t fret however, it’s totally possible to avoid. Going to the market and stocking up on healthy snacks such as apples and peanut butter is an excellent option for when hunger strikes. Try heading to the gym every so often as well, as working out can also help manage stress.
9. Remember to relax
Speaking of stress, college can be an incredibly stressful time in your life, and it may be easy to become overwhelmed. Remember to breathe, and practice self-care activities. Journal about your experiences, put on a face-mask, go shopping, do what you need to do to unwind. While school is incredibly important, nothing is more important than your mental health.
10. Be Open
And last but far from least, try to be as open as possible. Be open to trying out new clubs, open to meeting new people, and open to everything college has to offer. You only get to be a freshman once, so remember to be open to all you can.
Vaneza Paredes is an incredibly optimistic junior English major at Loyola Marymount University. Aside from being a student, she also works as a writer for LMU’s yearbook. When she isn’t writing or working, Vaneza can probably be found curled up, happily engrossed in a romance novel. Her dream is to write her very own novel in the near future.