Freshman year is momentous. It’s the beginning of your adult life, and it’s supposed to be fun. Although, contrary to what you see in movies, it isn’t all parties. More often than not it consists of pulling an all-nighter trying to finish a ten-page paper due the next morning. Freshman year is hard. It’s easy to drown yourself in caffeine and stress.There are a few things I’ve learned since my freshman year that I live by. These guidelines have helped me stay afloat and can help you too.
Make yourself memorable to your professors.
Introduce yourself the first day of class. Sit toward the front of the room, and get involved in class discussions. Especially on days when the class is quiet, and you can practically feel the sleep deprivation coming from everyone in the room; on those days, put in an extra effort. Ask questions and make comments. Your effort will make you stand out, and your professors will remember that about you. They will remember you when a TA spot or scholarship opportunities become available. It will be the effort that you put into class that makes your professors more willing to help you if the semester hits you with unexpected setbacks. In college courses, you really do get out what you put in.
Exchange phone numbers with one or two people in your classes.
Find the nearest, most approachable person and start a conversation. Ask them to exchange phone numbers in case one of you misses class. Having those acquaintances has really helped when I’ve missed class or for group projects. It’s also just nice to know there’s at least one other person in your class who hasn’t started the essay due tomorrow. I’ve also made some good friends out of this.
Make sleep a priority.
As someone who spent most of freshman year sacrificing sleep for the homework I had procrastinated, sleep deprivation took its toll on me and that eventually showed in my grades. Naps are important, and as a last resort I’ll even take them on campus in between classes. Considering how many pictures are on @uvusleepers on Instagram, it looks like I’m not the only one.
Take one day a week for yourself.
Once the semester really picks up, self-care days become crucial to my sanity. One of the worst habits I had my freshman year is that I never said no, even when I was already overwhelmed. I didn’t set time aside for myself to catch up on things like homework, cleaning, sleeping or just giving myself time to relax and watch Bob’s Burgers. Friends are great, but we all need time to recharge.
The hardest part of freshman year is the balancing act between school, work, social and personal life. Those long nights catch up to you, and due dates will all seem to fall at the same time. Dealing with all of the changes that come with moving out and starting college makes it easy to let stress get to you. Adjusting to the changes that happen during freshman year is difficult, but it’s important to remember that you and your health need to come before anything else.
Want advice? Submit your questions to Bea in the comments below.