Freshman year is a time for new experiences. For me, it was especially challenging as a transfer student. My first semester, I was a second-semester freshman. So half my freshman year, I was really a sophomore. (Is that confusing yet?)
I kind of hated the ‘stupid freshman’ stereotype. I recently complained about it, saying, “I wasn’t a stupid freshman. Yeah, I was stupid, but not like that!”
At least, knowing you aren’t all knowing is the key to learning something. Here’s a few things I learned my first year in college.
Lessons from my Freshman Year
Friendship is what you make it
It’s harder starting college in the middle. Sophomores already have an established circle and I didn’t exactly fit into the freshman stereotype. I was a bit older, and had 20 credits so I wasn’t experiencing many freshman classes.
But like everything else in life, you get what you put in. Seeking out people for meal dates, asking questions, and getting involved with campus activities, were all a challenge. Though sometimes I was outside my comfort zone, it was worthwhile.
Get to know your Teachers
Professors are intimidating. But it is really worth your time to try and get to know them.
For instance, I really wanted to give a speech on government in the Hunger Games for my informative speech. My professor was dubious that the topic fit her criteria. In fact, she sent me a note instructing me to change my plan.
At first I was disappointed, but then I decided to change her mind. 😉 I jogged up to her office, scheduled a meeting, and chatted with her for close to an hour. While she was hesitant at first, I’m guessing my powers of persuasion worked. In the end, she gave my idea the go ahead, and I gave a fantastic speech.
Through all this, I really got to know my speech teacher. Now, I love dropping by her office, asking about her son, and chatting about politics. While it was a bit nerve-wracking at first, it was definitely a good idea.
Changing your Major is OK
I started my college journey as an education major. I love teaching, and thought it would be a perfect match.
But halfway through the first semester, I knew this wasn’t for me. My real calling is politics, and influencing public opinion.
I hate disappointing people, and I had invested a lot of time in my ed major. But I knew changing my degree plan would work out best.
My school requires you to chat with a major advisor, before you switch. So I did. I also talked to several professors, friends and family. In the end, I am super glad I switched over to Journalism/Political Science.
Don’t get OverInvolved
My first semester, I tried to not get in over my head. But by the spring, I thought I had everything under control.
So I really began to volunteer. First, I interned with Marco Rubio’s campaign. Then I worked backstage for 2 different plays. And I tried taking 17 credits, and working 12 hours a week.
All this was way, way too much. Looking back, I’m surprised I managed it. My grades suffered, and I certainly didn’t get to spend time on little things. Things like friendship and spending time with people I cared about. It was more like surviving than managing.
So, just volunteer for a few things. There’s always something people need help with, and they don’t exactly need your amazing talents. I realized after that semester, I should have learned to say no, and prioritize my schedule.
Now, I’m a second semester Sophomore, taking 18 credits, and excited for a full fall load. What does your semester look like?