Fall semester is my favorite semester now, but freshmen year it was nothing but stress, stress, and homesickness. Being prepared for what’s going to come is a huge help, and I recommend finding out what life will be like at your particular college (your college’s website and other blogs will help with this).
But fall semester can also be a ton of fun and more of a learning experience than a stressful one. Here are the five best things you can do to make your first fall semester awesome:
Talk to your professors during the first week. You’ll hear this advice from everyone: your mentors, your peers, your professors, your parents, and especially your school. But it’s the best advice you’ll hear.
Establishing a relationship from the start gives you an idea of what your professors are like and what they will expect from you in class. It also gives you people you can come to during the semester. When you have three tests and a paper due on the same day, you’ll feel better about coming to a professor and asking for help if it isn’t the first time you’ve seen them out of class.
Figure out a time management plan. I always say my high school prepared me for the difficultly of my work in college, but not the quantity. I was a mess trying to get everything done freshmen year. I lived in the library until 6:00 except for class and lunch. I did not need to do this. I over-planned, thinking I needed to put more time in than necessary.
The next semester, I developed a plan that worked for me (reserving the library for my hardest work), but life would have been a lot easier if I did that sooner. So learn from my mistake. Set up your study/activity plan before all your “to-dos” take over your life.
Study outside the library. As hinted at above, my university’s library sucked away my soul. (It looks like the 1980s touched it and never went away). But I assumed it had to be the best place to study- it’s the library! Not until later would I understand how much better I worked at the Starbucks in town. When you’re looking for a place to work, venture out from the library and try out several spots until you find the spot.
Go home (but not too soon). You need time to adjust to your new lifestyle, and going home the first four weekends isn’t going to accomplish that. But once you make it a least a month (or two), feel okay about going home for your sibling’s choir performance or your town’s winter festival. Taking a break away from campus helps you to recharge, and some time with people you love.
Also, if you find yourself getting homesick (like I did- heck, like most freshmen I know did), you can also ask your family to come visit you. My parents and sister drove down to see me two weeks after I moved in for a Sunday lunch. It was such a relief to see them, but I avoided the anxiety of “going back to campus” you can get when you visit home.
Say yes to (almost) everything. Now this goes against what most of you have heard: “Don’t be afraid to say no!” I’m here to tell you that fall semester is all about saying yes. When your floormate asks if you want to go to dinner, even though all you want to do is order pizza and watch YouTube? Say yes. When you’re overwhelmed by the activities fair and just want to run in the opposite direction? Say yes to at least three sign-up sheets. When your classmate asks you to study together even though you already have the material down? You got it- say yes.
Fall semester freshmen year is all about new experiences. You’ll never feel at home at your chosen university sitting in your dorm room day after day. Be willing to step out of your comfort zone this semester when given the chance. You never know what you might like.
Plus, meeting new people (even for you, introverts!) is so important those first few weeks. Friends going through the same changes as you make the whole process easier. Unless you know something will hurt you (i.e. a party the Thursday night before your chemistry midterm? Yeah, that’s a no. Or if you’re already an active member of two clubs and really can’t take on a third), a “yes” will never be as regrettable as a “no.”
What tips do you have for fall semester?
Below the Line:
- Four days until my big move in! I’m both excited and anxious for the new semester :)
- Took a food allergy test yesterday :( I feel like I need to stuff myself with bread just in case gluten is taken away from me…
- Cookie butter= DELICIOUS. But then again, what did I expect? It’s called cookie butter. ;)
- Coming up on Friday: a post for all you organizational/stationary fans out there.