college students discussing current events

Although exciting, entering your freshman year of college is a huge change. There are new people to meet, and you’re potentially living in a new town or state and may be experiencing newfound independence. Here are a few basic tips to help you make a smooth transition.

Allow yourself to be nervous.

nervous freshman

It is more than okay to feel a few pre-college jitters or even more than a few especially as move-in day creeps closer and the summer draws to an end. People tend to underestimate, as did I, the immensity of change that college truly holds. You’re living more or less on your own, there are hundreds of new people to meet, new subjects to learn, and the ever-looming prospect that you have to know what you’re doing 100% of the time. First, every freshman is feeling the same nerves as you. And, second, no one knows what they’re doing 100% of the time. Definitely take the time to prepare yourself for the change! This includes confronting your anxieties and recognizing them as normal. Breathe and get excited!

Don’t be afraid of letting go.

don't be afraid to let go

I went into college with a more bitter perspective than most when it came to forming new friendships. I was nervous because my heart was so full from relationships with friends from my hometown, and I didn’t want to replace them. I had my boyfriend, best friend, my close friends….I was completely content with my circle and was not ready to let anyone else in. The sad truth is you will lose contact with people you thought would be in your life forever. You get busy, you get stressed, it happens. A hard lesson I had to learn was to be completely present. Your childhood best friend will understand if you can’t text them back right away because you’re engaging with new people! Odds are they are doing the same. Don’t be afraid to let go of the past to make room for new people. Besides, those who are meant to stay in your life will never stray too far. I found out early on that in my attempts to remain close to many people from my past, I missed out on opportunities to form bonds with my fellow classmates. It’s difficult, but finding a healthy and happy balance of friendships is extremely important.

Develop a healthy sleep schedule.

man sleeping outside on the grass

Although it is tempting to stay up binge-watching Netflix or hanging out with friends, getting to bed at a normal time is very important. Those 8 a.m. classes are hard if you’re not a morning person, so getting enough sleep is crucial. Also, don’t underestimate the power of a nap! Although some people may frown upon it, I found that if I had some time between classes and was feeling sluggish, a quick nap helped immensely. Just make sure you don’t go overboard and that you don’t sleep through your classes!

Get serious about your schoolwork from the start.

woman typing on laptop

When it boils down to it, you are attending college to receive a higher education. Although there are a lot of distractions, making a point to prioritize school work above everything else will help you to stay focused. In high school, I was a HUGE procrastinator; I always waited until the last minute to write papers or do projects. In college, I’ve found that by using the syllabus each professor hands out and planning my day, including the times I will work on specific assignments, I am less stressed and more prepared for due dates. Organization and keeping on top of your workload is key.

Although the thought of entering college for the first time can be nerve-wracking, the memories you make and the experiences you have make it all worthwhile. Don’t stress too much! Enjoy every minute because before you realize it, it will all be over.

Rebecca Kate Oberstadt is a senior at The College at Brockport, SUNY pursuing dual degrees in Dance and Creative Writing. You’ll usually find her reading Sylvia Plath, obsessing over a cute sloth picture, or serving Sandy Hook’s finest coffee.

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