What To Expect The First Year Of College
You’ve just been accepted into college, and you’re excited, and with good reason too! Congratulations! When the initial excitement about being accepted begins to wane, there’s that nagging thought of apprehension and expectation that remains. Your most prominent thoughts begin to revolve around what to expect in the first year of college.
If that’s where your mind is at now, then this is for you.
What To Expect Your First Year Of College
One of the first things many students are ill-prepared for as they enter college is the amount of independence they’ll have. Now more than ever, you’re basically the boss of yourself in college as it stands, and it could go either way.
Superficially, it could mean partying all through the weekend and having a good time with friends, and that’s where many students miss it. Understanding that independence means being responsible is key to mastering this college thing.
You’re your own boss, but you’re still accountable.
2. Orientation Week Is Not Your Life As A Student
The first week of college, new students are welcomed into college, and an Orientation event is held in their honor. During this time, the authorities will go the extra mile to make you feel welcome, as well as prepare you as much as they can for what’s coming.
However, as soon as it ends, that’s it. You’re basically on your own from that point. It’s then up to you to make use of whatever resources you’ve been given during your first year in college.
3. The Stress Of Building Momentum In Unfamiliar Territory
In college, you’re going to make new friends, form new habits, create and maintain new schedules, etc. In the beginning, it might seem like too much work, but if you keep at it, you’ll reap the rewards.
As many first-year students don’t know what to expect in the first year of college, they tend to overthink and overdo at the beginning stages. The key is to work smart to build enough foundation to gather enough momentum for the coming years.
Create time-bound schedules to help you study and explore your new environment. You’re allowed to loosen up a bit. Try to familiarize yourself with different things and places around you before you need them, especially classrooms, routes, restrooms, etc.
4. You’ll Feel Homesick Quite A Lot
Being away from home for a long time is bound to create feelings of homesickness, which is perfectly normal even for college students.
Try to ground yourself in the present and accept that you’ll be on your own a good amount of your first year in college. Attend school gatherings and events. Participate in Orientation activities. Be actively involved in school projects and group assignments. Call home and soothe your homesick soul, and bounce back.
If you’re choosing to attend community college, preparing is just as important as well. The experiences of students in universities are similar to that of students in community colleges, so you already have an idea of what to expect the first year of community college.
You just need to:
- Get familiar with your professors and your classes
- Prepare to do in-depth research on topics on your own, as community college focuses more on teaching than on researching.
- Prepare for a different social setting. While community colleges offer several opportunities for students to work together and form social bonds, the social opportunities are not as extensive as four-year colleges.
- As not all community colleges offer accommodation for students, there’s a chance that you’ll have to provide your own accommodation.
How To Ease Your First Year Of College
Being thrust into a new system can be frustrating. As a new college student, it’s easy to get swept along with the tides of emotions and activities and get a possible breakdown. However, there are some things you can do to help you ease things up for yourself if you now have an idea of what to expect in your first year of college. They are:
1. Make Connections Early.
Have it in mind that college is a community of different people, and every new student is trying to find their balance the same way you are. When you start making friends early, you’re automatically several steps ahead in the college game.
Ideally, it is advisable that you create a group of friends with whom you share the same goals and possibly the same course of study. This will help form a social structure on which you can rely when school becomes a problem of some sort.
Where possible, letting in a senior colleague as a friend can help ease you into life in college. Since they’ve been through it before, they can help prepare you for what to expect your first year of college.
2. Gather Your Resources
When going to college, you’ll need materials to keep you on top of your game. In addition to the basic things you’ll be packing, you’ll need books, a phone and a laptop for classes, assignments, and research, and an emergency fund.
3. Know Your Professors
This may not seem as important as planning your schedule or memorizing your timetable, but it is. Taking time to know who your professors are will help you familiarize yourself with their methods. This in turn translates into putting in the effort to enjoy classes.
You don’t have to know them on a personal level, just know enough to pick up cues on what they would expect from students early on.
This is an extremely valuable point that would help you create a good rapport with them and answer questions according to their preferences.
4. Start Studying Early
One temptation students often yield to is putting off studying for later. As classes start, develop a schedule that includes studying because it’s never too early to start. What’s more, the more you study, the more familiar the concepts become to you as time goes by.
Studying early in the semester will give you enough time to cover your coursework extensively when compared to studying right before exams.
5. Make Time To Relax And Unwind
College life can be stressful, no doubt. Taking out time to just relax will help ease things up by a lot. Call home. Hang out with friends but don’t overdo it. Have days when you can just have put your feet up and rest. You’ll need days like those, so include them in your plans.
The emphasis is on the first year of college because the first year usually sets the pace for the following years of college. Now that you have a good idea of what to expect in your first year of college, it’s also important that you remember to take breaks. Rest. Relax and have fun. Build consistency. Things will work out in the end.