Freshman year of college is both terrifying and exciting. It represents a world of possibilities for high school graduates that are ready to take on more responsibility as young adults. Navigating the world on your own for the first time can be intimidating knowing that choices you make have more permanent consequences as an adult. This makes striking a balance between work, school, and social life a crucial aspect of surviving freshman year. Luckily, several key tips will help achieve this balance.
- Scheduling and homework – Some first-year students are surprised that choosing a schedule that mirrors their old high school schedule does not typically work. Finding a schedule format that allows time for social interaction, work, and homework requires troubleshooting during the first semester. You can always alter your schedule for the current semester within a certain time-frame or choose a schedule that is a better fit during the next semester.
- Backing up work – Back up all of your work on a cloud service or some form of external drive. College professors have hundreds of students, and do not have time to find your lost paper. Keep copies of all assignments you turn in.
- Physical health – The “Freshman 15” is a phenomenon based on the premise that new students are so wrapped up in the different aspects of college life, that they don’t have time to address their health. Fast food is often the most convenient to eat on campus, and consistent exercise plans fall wayward to late night study sessions. Though it requires practice to schedule effectively, try to get out as often you as you can for a run, or visit the campus’ recreational center. And in terms of food, always choose the healthiest options when you can. For example, opt for fruits and snacks when you need a snack rather than a candy bar.
- Budgeting – Do not create your own money trap. Budget your expenses using an excel spreadsheet, or a similar platform, even through your busy schedule. Especially when handling a credit card for the first time, budgeting is a crucial skill that will prevent unexpected money woes.
- Routine – Finding your daily routine makes life more manageable. Although certain projects and exams will likely deter your routine, try to stick to a set wake-up and bedtime schedule. Though this may sound disappointing to hear, being an adult comes with having the choice to stay up all night but making the call to choose sleep over binge-watching Netflix.
- Joining clubs – Some of the most meaningful friendships are fostered between like-minded individuals that join the same clubs. Explore different groups of people if you have trouble finding a specific niche. The more people you meet and get to know, the more you will learn about yourself in the long run.
- Asking for help – Ask for help when you need it. This applies to more than just tutoring and meeting with academic counselors. The first year of college can be extremely stressful – address your own mental and emotional health before you become too overwhelmed.
Entering freshman year of college is an exhilarating experience, but it’s easy to let certain aspects of college life fall to the wayside. One meaningful takeaway from the college experience is learning how to achieve balance in the best way that you can, among the different aspects of your life. Keep motivated, and by the end up freshman year you’ll be one step closer to achieving this balance.