Starting college is one of the most intimidating things before you actually do it. The night before my move-in day, I was so stressed out. I knew I would love Furman, but the thought of starting this whole new stage of my life was so scary. I’ve only been on campus for a month now, but this month has definitely been one of the best! As scary as it may seem to you now, just know that everyone feels the same way. When I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE. Even though I’m still making my way through my first semester, I wanted to share some of the best advice that has helped me!
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
When you first get to college, it might be intimidating to try and meet new people. The bright side is that every freshman is in the same boat. Even if you think someone has friends already, they still want to meet people! As scary as it sounds, don’t be afraid to just go up to someone and introduce yourself. Everyone is just as nervous as you and just as eager to meet other freshmen.
2. Manage Your Time
During the first few weeks of college, I thought I always had to be doing something. I never wanted to study because I always just wanted to hang out with people. You NEED to find time to study. You can go to the library with your friends, or find a room to have to yourself. Whatever works best for you, do it. Staying out late every night or constantly pushing your work off to the next day will never end well. Figure out a schedule that works for you to balance time with friends, class, extracurricular, and studying.
3. GO TO CLASS
As obvious as this may seem, sometimes it could be very appealing to just sleep in for that early class or skip a class you don’t feel like going to. Always make yourself go. It’s so worth it because missing one class could put you so behind in the material and being present shows your professors that you care. Since Furman is a small school, your professors will notice when you’re absent and it will just make your life better if you show up. In all honesty, I can’t say I’ve done a perfect job with this one so far… Sr. Friis, if you’re reading this, I am so sorry for missing Spanish that one time. (Also some good advice – set your alarms before you fall asleep doing homework and ALWAYS make sure your ringer is turned up!)
4. Get Involved!
Getting involved in things on campus is one of the best ways to meet people! You find people with similar interests and it gives you something fun to do during the week. During your first semester, there is almost no commitment to any organizations. Try everything you’re interested in and see what things you enjoy the most. Don’t be scared to apply for lots of different clubs or go to a ton of meetings and events. Things will work out the way they are supposed to and you will find your place!
5. Take Care of Yourself
For a lot of freshman, coming to college is the first time you’re on your own. You don’t realize how much you need to take care of yourself until it’s ALL up to you. “Freshman 15” is real. This may sound so cliche, but make sure you’re eating right, drinking a lot of water, and getting enough exercise. Don’t go to Moe’s and Chick-fil-A for every meal as tempting as it may seem, and when you get a famous DH cookie, try and get some vegetables with it. As for exercise, you can go to the PAC (Physical Activities Center) and use some of the machines or weights there, or you can do things as simple as a lake walk! I would 10/10 recommend lake walks with your friends. It’s so beautiful and such an easy way to get those steps in!
6. Be a “YES Friend”
Say yes to everything you can! Spontaneous outings with friends are some of the best ways to build those close relationships. If you know you can find time later to finish all your work before class, then say yes to the random ice cream trips or Walmart runs!
7. Don’t Worry if You Get Stressed
Everyone has moments of feeling stressed in college, especially first semester. It’s normal to be worried about school, friends, or anything else. Don’t let yourself get too worked up over the small things because in the end everything will work out! Take every day one step at a time and know that you have the next four years here. Things will change over time and you’ll find exactly where you’re supposed to be!
8. Reach Out to Your Professors if You Need Help
The professors at Furman want to see you succeed! If you’re confused or concerned about how you did on an assignment, don’t hesitate to reach out to them. Schedule a time to meet or attend their office hours because they will do their best to help you. It also never hurts to reach out before a paper or other big assignments are due. You can ask any questions you have and make sure you’re doing everything on the right track.
9. Stay On Campus!
Being on campus makes adjusting to college so much easier. Try to avoid going home every weekend or going to visit friends at other schools in the beginning. The more time you spend on campus and meeting new friends, the more it’ll feel like home! Of course it’s good to go home once in a while, but especially at the beginning of the semester, try and make the effort to stay on campus when you can.
10. It’s Normal to Feel Homesick
Homesickness is one of the worst feelings. Every freshman will experience this at some point whether it’s just wanting a hug from your parents or buying the next plane ticket home. It’s completely normal to feel this way! Just know that there are so many people on campus that are here for you. Call your family and talk to them, but also know that you can talk to your friends about it too because they’re probably feeling the same way. I also recommend family FaceTimes! If your family is anything like mine, it will be SO chaotic, but also so sweet to see their faces and chat 🙂
First semester is so exciting and full of new experiences! You’ll make some of the best memories of college and meet really amazing people. If you ever feel stressed about starting this next stage of life, or if you have any kinds of questions, please reach out! My insta is @andersen_wade – I would be happy to talk anytime!
ALL the love!