How will I survive my first year in college?

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Answered by: Claire, An Expert in the Surviving Your First Year Category
Your question is something thousands of high school graduates are searching - possibly even right now - wondering where to even start. Well, unfortunately the "What Do I Need For College?" question comes unanswered. What question I wish I would have asked prior to the stressful packing began was the "Wait, How Do I Survive My First Year?".

You are moving to a completely new city where you don't know where the mall is, where the closest golf course is, or any of the neighborhood families that you could potentially babysit for are. College is hard, but let me tell you - it's not even close to being impossible. You get more freedom being at school which comes with more responsibility which comes with more accountability for yourself. After 4 years of college, I've come up with a system (that I'm hoping will become an actual process) that will guarantee survival for your first year in college.

On your first day of class during your first year in college you will walk into a classroom and recognize nobody (most likely). Yes, I know - that's scary. Take it from someone who still gets nervous for the first day of classes... However, I have good news! Nobody else will either! Sit upfront, sit next to someone who looks just as nervous as you are, and you've just made your first friend in the class! It also helps having someone close in case you need someone to partner up with quick! Professors often will do group projects or partner work to help you meet other students! I know this seems 'mean', however it really will help you adjust to your class and learn even more because you are comfortable with your classmates.

I wanted to join a club my freshman year. I wasn't sure what it was going to be about - who would be there - I knew NOTHING. I went all by myself, too. I was so nervous and felt so out of place but I knew that this organization that I was going to meet with would eventually help my community. Best Buddies International was a great way to get involved. I not only met people from my university, but I met other families outside in my community. It was a win-win situation right there. I met some great students that I would never have came across because they either lived in a different residence hall or off campus, studied in a different college, or just were wanting to be apart of a great organization. You won't survive without getting involved - whether that is getting an on-campus job and building your network, joining a sorority/fraternity, a cooking club, a nature club, I mean you get the idea. Go without your roommate, have some confidence, and start your college journey!

You know how everyone is always like "don't study in your bed" or "don't study in your room"? Well, they are right. I'm sorry - unless you are the one rare student where studying for you actually works while resting in a bed, go on campus. Campus is so fun during the day! Not only do you get to people watch, but you get to see campus life and believe it or not, you get to meet other students. I remember going to the library and finding a peer mentor to help me with my first English speech assignment. With her help, I received an A, a big confidence boost, and hope that college classes are possible with hard work and dedication. Find a table you like on campus, whether that be in a quiet place, busy place, your college, etc. and study! Then when you get back to your dorm room or apartment, you can have that social time you are so wanting!

Kids, college isn't impossible. It's actually a fun challenge. Here you are - moving away from the place you call home and are expected to call a new town 'home.' You are thrown right into the mix - expected to succeed and expected to find yourself. After you get through that first class and meeting that first friend, joining a student organization and loving the new group of artists you met, and found your home away from home - we can talk about your potential and how happy you are that you sat next to that girl in your English class who just happened to be your maid of honor in your wedding...

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