Dear incoming freshman,

It’s hard to know exactly what to expect your first semester of college. For some, it goes smoothly. For others, it doesn’t.

You should look at your course schedule. What kind of classes are you taking? Are they classes you have generally succeeded in or struggled with previously? Knowing this will help you determine how much effort you might have to put into class. With that said, once classes start, you might find the effort is different than you expected. You need to be able to adjust your schedule, study time, homework time, etc. in order to be where you want to be with your classes.

I have a few pieces of advice for you.

  1. Get a planner. When you get your syllabi on the first days of your classes, take some time and copy the course deadlines down into your planner. Then, as you go through the semester, you’ll have a clear idea of what you need to get done each day or week.

  2. Actually use the planner. It’s good if you can get the planner and fill it out, but it’s great if you actually USE it. It’ll help keep away stress because you’ll be organized and able to strategically plan when to do assignments.

  3. Go to class. This is my struggle. I get so tired that I don’t want to go to my classes… I want to sleep! This brings me to the next point.

  4. Get enough sleep. You’ve heard the old statement that there are three things you can have in college: sleep, a social life, and good grades. The trick is, you can only have two of them at a time. HOWEVER, if you use the planner we already discussed, you’ll be able to find time for everything you want to do while also getting enough sleep.

  5. DO NOT take an 8:10 a.m. class. Just don’t do it. You think you can handle it because you did in high school, but you can’t. This was probably my worst mistake. Being tired all of the time doesn’t make it easy for me to get to my 8:10 a.m. class and sometimes even my 9:20 a.m. class. If you do happen to take an earlier class and find it hard to make it to class, talk to your professor about coming to the same class at a different time. A lot of professors will be fine with this, and you’ll most likely get the same amount of participation/attendance points (if applicable).

  6. Read. I’m not talking about textbooks and assigned reading (although you should read those, too). I’m talking about recreational reading. What?! Reading for fun? Yes. Not only does reading increase your vocabulary and writing skills (I’ve actually had a professor comment that she knows I’m reading by the way I write), it can be a major stress reliever. If you refuse to read, find some other outlet (working out, drawing, writing, etc.) and make time for it.

Best of luck to you,

A former freshman


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