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You’ve made it. High school is behind you and you’ve now entered a life of independence. Mom and dad aren’t there to tell you what you can and cannot do, to do your laundry, to cook you meals, to help you with your homework…you’re on your own. College can be confusing and independence can be scary, liberating and satisfying all at the same time. It’s important to keep your head on straight and not get lost in all of the new emotions that can come along with your brand new college lifestyle. I’m here to tell you that college isn’t always easy, but there are things to keep in mind that will help when embarking on this new chapter in your life.
Balancing new friends and homework is going to be hard. You’ve now entered a foreign place and you may be missing the comfort of home and the childhood friends you’ve grown accustom to. In order to feel like you have a place at your new school, you’re going to want to try and make a lot of new connections. While your mind is focused on making new friends it’s easy to forget about your homework, especially now that you don’t have every class each day. Please do not make this mistake! Make an effort to make friends and socialize but do not forget about your homework. People will always be around for you to make friendships with throughout your four years at school, but falling behind with your grades can be hard to fix.
It’s OK to miss home. Because guess what? You aren’t alone. Just because you’re living on your own and having your first taste of independence and adult life, it doesn’t mean you have to act like you’ve got everything under control and that you’ve fully adapted to your new lifestyle and environment.
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You should join a few clubs and then actually show up. Clubs are a great way to make new connections with people. During your school’s club fair which is usually held within the first few days of school, instead of signing up for every single club you see that you might potentially have some interest in, pick a select few and stick with them. Actually go to the meetings and make an effort to meet new people.
Alcohol will be present, but don’t feel pressured into drinking. As much as it may seem, not everyone drinks. And you don’t have to feel pressured into drinking just to make friends. Most college campuses have programs on the weekends specifically aided towards students who don’t like to go out and party but still want to meet people. Make an effort to find out information about these events and attend them.
It’s OK if you and your roommate aren’t the best of friends and it’s OK if you don’t get along swimmingly. College is all about new experiences. A lot of people have the impression that if their roommate isn’t their best friend, then their entire year is going to be awful. This isn’t true! Maybe you and your roommate don’t click, but that’s OK. You will have opportunities to make other friends. Your roommate doesn’t have to be your first one.
Make an effort to go to your dorm events. Usually each dorm on college campuses holds events in order for people in the buildings to meet each other. These events can be a great way to instantly make a few new friends who live close by! The friends you make in your dorm can be great to walk to class together or grab lunch on a minutes notice since they are so conveniently nearby.
It’s OK if you don’t know what you want to do in the future. College is about finding your true passions and discovering who you are. If you don’t know what you want to do with the rest of your life, that’s OK! Most people don’t. Try to pick classes that you think might interest you that also fall under your core requirements. That way, while you fulfill your core requirements you can also explore your interests.
If you don’t have friends by the end of your first year, don’t worry. You have next year! And now you know your way around your school and feel more comfortable there. You can join clubs or club sports teams and meet some new people! It’s never too late to make friends.
It may seem like it, but not everyone is having sex and hooking up. In our very prevalent hook up culture it may seem like everyone is having sex, but don’t be fooled, not everyone is. Don’t feel pressured to do anything or try anything you’re not comfortable with or ready for. You come first.
Take in all of the new experiences—enjoy the good ones and learn from the bad ones. College will be over before you know it and once you’ve graduated and are out in the real world left to look for a job, a place to live and to rely on your own paycheck, you’ll be wishing you were back in college.