You avoided the top five freshman year mistakes, and now you’re seeing the light at the end of the freshman year tunnel. Be sure to take care of these five things before the semester is over, and you’re guaranteed to conquer your freshman year.
1. Re-evaluate your goals and interests.
At the start of college, everyone feels pressured to have a four-year plan, pick a major, and think about a career. You soon realize (hopefully) that you don’t necessarily have to bother with that for at least another year. As freshman year goes on, you relax and ease into the routine of taking general education requirements. By second semester, you may be comfortable in this routine.
Before the year is over, be sure to take some time to re-evaluate possible majors, different interesting classes, and so on. While it’s totally fine not declare anything yet and it’s great to explore, you also don’t want to wake up senior year with no idea what you’re doing.
2. Take advantage of dorm life while you can.
Photo courtesy of Matt Chan
For you, the end of freshman year may also mean the end of your time in a residence hall. Be sure to explore everything they have to offer before it won’t be offered to you ever again.
The bonding activities may seem lame, but they are a great way to make new friends. Plenty of dorms are more than willing to provide you with free food or free prizes if you look around and go to the right meetings. Take advantage of what’s being offered to you while you still can!
3. Develop a relationship with a professor.
I don’t need to tell you why this is important because you already know. It’s fine if you took first semester to orient yourself to your new life at school without focusing on anything long-term.
By now, however, you should be starting to feel comfortable enough with your university and your classes that you’re able to approach a professor or two and start working on those relationships. While first semester was a flurry of new things and excitement, second semester is the time to work on finding that long-term mentor.
4. Think about your summer plans.
After freshman year, most kids leave the dorms and go back home to work at the same fast food restaurant they worked at in high school (or at least I did). Consider if that’s what you want to do, and look at your other options.
Do you want to get an internship and be really ahead of the game? Would you like to do some volunteering to explore your interests and do more with your summer free time? Did you know most universities offer special summer programs that don’t exist during the year? Think of these possibilities now.
5. Perfect your studying methods.
Many smart students don’t have to study much in high school, and the transition studying in college hits them hard. If this happened to you, it’s time to get things sorted out.
If you feel you’ve been just barely hanging on or you’ve been relying on cramming to get through exams, now is the time to fix that. First-year GPAs are often lower than average GPAs, and you have three more years to bring yours up, but if you don’t figure out how to start studying now you may be in trouble. Take some time before freshman year is over to sit down and figure it out.
Do you have any other tips for freshmen? Leave them in the comments below.