Tips For First-Year College Students

Since I finished finals a few days ago I thought I'd do a bit of reflecting on my first year at college and give you all some useful tips that will hopefully help if you are planning on going to college soon.

Stay Active
No one wants to gain the dreaded "Freshman 15" and it's really easy to with all the late night snacking and napping you do in college. In high school I was a competitive swimmer and when I came to college, the structure of organized sports was the thing I missed the most. For me, staying active has not only benefitted me physically but mentally as well. Whenever I'm having an off day or I just need to take a study break I find the best thing to do is go to my school's rec center and do a workout. If you stay active throughout the year your body will thank you.

Get Involved
When you first come to college you probably won't know that many people so it's important to really jump in and make an effort to meet people and get involved in clubs. I'm not a particularly outgoing person but I found that when I made an effort to get involved I would meet so many people I wouldn't have met otherwise. Joining clubs is a great way to get involved, but I also found that getting really involved with your major is great as well, because you are going to be interacting with those people for the rest of your college career.

Do The Reading 
Being a history major, I know all too well how important doing the assigned reading is. Homework in college is very different than the homework in high school; there's a lot less busy work and way more reading. Although it may seem optional to do the reading, believe me it's not, because when you sit down to take the midterm or final you might be missing a lot of the material. I found that breaking up reading homework in chunks is great because then it cuts down the boredom and you end up absorbing the information better.

Leave Your Comfort Zone
College is the time to experience new things and meet new people. Coming from someone who isn't a big partier, I found it difficult sometimes to have the desire to go out on the weekends. I have learned that saying yes (in most cases) to things you wouldn't normally do is incredibly rewarding and makes for some pretty amazing memories. So, take risks, because you are more likely to regret the risks you didn't take than the ones you did.

Set Aside "Me" Time 
College is stressful, especially when you are in the throws of midterms and finals. And to add to that you are normally surrounded by people all the time, especially if you live in a dorm room and have a roommate. The best way that I found to de-stress is to have a chilled out Sunday night, watch a movie, have a pamper sesh, etc. Exercise is also a great de-stressor, especially swimming for me, because you are by yourself and the only thing you are thinking about is the workout.

Hope these tips help if you are going to start college in the fall or anytime in the near future!

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