We all remember that day, whether it was a few years ago or just last year, when we first stepped foot onto campus as an official college freshman. It was both a scary and an exciting experience. The freshmen of this year, the class of 2017, have a lot to learn during their transition into college.
Everyone is different — some people are more outgoing than others and have no problem socializing and making friends, while others may have a little trouble. However, we can agree that we’re all here for the same reason: to get an education. While college may seem overwhelming, here are a few things you’ll need to have a successful freshman year.
The key to surviving college is time management. As a freshman, you’ll be hearing this a lot. The importance of time management cannot be stressed enough. This isn’t high school: There’s more freedom and time between classes, and assignments can’t be put off. A simple, “Oh, I’ll do it later” turns into scrambling around in your room trying to finish the project or paper the night before or right before the class. So to avoid last-minute panic, when you’re assigned something, start it right away.
It may seem silly to say, but it’s also important to actually go to class.
“When you attend college, your parents aren’t around to tell you to get up and go to class,” said junior elementary education and math major Katelyn Pfenninger. “It’s important to get up and go because you miss so much when you don’t.”
Your professors won’t make sure you’re all caught up with the material when you miss a class, so it’s important to keep up with all of the work that you miss.
According to collegelife.about.com, the No. 1 aspect to managing time is to get a calendar or a planner and make sure you use it. By planning out your entire week ahead of time, you’re on the track to success.
Getting involved is just as important as managing your time on campus. There are dozens of clubs and organizations to join, almost endless possibilities to find something you enjoy. Every fall semester, Rider holds the Awareness Fair in which most of the clubs and organizations gather on the Lawrenceville campus mall to promote themselves and share information about themselves with the Rider community.
According to usnews.com, students should get involved outside of the classroom for five reasons: to make a connection with their school, build a community, discover something they love, add to a résumé and to do better overall in school.
If you aren’t the most outgoing person, joining a club or organization could help give you that boost to make a friend since you share a love for the same thing. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Who knows, you could find something that you never knew you liked before. It will also look fantastic after graduation when the job search begins.
During college, you’ll be sure to hear constant chatter about internships and how important they are. Start looking into internships early in your college career, because they can really benefit you later. According to forbes.com, 69% of large companies made full-time job offers to their interns in 2012. You could find your future job and give the company a chance to see your skills before it hires you.
Forbes.com states that students found that their favorite part of their internships was gaining the real-world experience they’ll need when they graduate.
Of course, there’s the college stereotype about students abusing alcohol. With all of the new freedom, the temptation to drink will be there. However, resisting the urge will pay off in the end. According to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 25% of college students perform poorly in their academics because of alcohol consumption. Avoid the alcohol and focus more on your schoolwork.
Also, decide on a major as soon as you can. By picking a major early on, you can make sure you continue to stay on track and not fall behind.
“You should find your major and stick to it, because if you don’t it could delay your graduation,” junior multimedia and web design major Crissy Glasser said.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. According to an article titled “36 Tips for the College Freshman” in The Huffington Post, “Don’t wait till senior year to do those things you want to do or become who you want to be. Ask people you want to meet for coffee now, take those interesting classes now, work on those side projects now, go on those dates now, join these clubs now, go on those crazy weekend road trips and ski trips now.”
With these suggestions in your back pocket, The Rider News wishes you the best of luck in your first year and beyond.
The weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the Opinion Editor, Danielle Gittleman.
Printed in the 9/4/13 edition.