Submitted Date 09/07/2019

No matter what kind of university you are going to be attending for the first time this fall, your freshman year of college is bound to be a big change. I graduated from my four-year university this year and it went by fast. When I think about my first day on campus I flood with emotions, memories, embarrassment, and lots of advice I would love to give myself. If you're embarking on your college journey, you should be excited! If you don't know what to feel or have too many overwhelming feelings, feel free to take my postgraduate advice.

1. Appreciate The People Who Helped You Get Here

Whether it be your friends, counselors, parents, or other family members– let them know how thankful you are for them. Even if you're dying to get away from your parents and start your new life at school, the first year will make you realize just how much they've done for you. Don't get too eager to say your goodbyes, take the time to make them meaningful and don't forget to call!

2. Give Everyone A Chance

While you might have your ideal college besties already imagined, you never know who will stick with you through the next four years. Don't aim to be friends with certain people or worry about not being social enough. During your freshman year, you will be meeting tons of new people every day and you might be surprised with who you get along with. Don't ignore your gut, if you are drawn to people either in terms of friendship or your future goals, put yourself out there and be open to new relationships. The connections and friendships you form as a freshman will shape your college experience, in an especially good way if you are open to meeting all kinds of new people.

3. Don't Feel Like You're Stuck

You may have thought you found the perfect college, but during freshman year realize that this wasn't exactly the environment you hoped for. Many people feel this way and that is why it is okay to consider transferring schools if you find yourself miserable during the first year. Don't give up right away, consider your decision deeply and seek out advice from others. If it isn't the right place for you, don't feel pressured to stay. During your freshman year, you are figuring out a lot about yourself and what you want and these realizations should lead you in the right direction.

4. Take Class Seriously– They're Seriously Expensive

While there are a million things that will distract you from studying when you leap into your newfound independence on campus, you are there for an education. An expensive education. Remind yourself what each minute of your actual college education is worth and respect it attentively. There may be some days where you dread going to class, but I promise that you won't regret these lessons in the future. Take class seriously and use it as a tool to inspire your personal goals and build your knowledge-based skill set. If you forget what these classes are worth, just look up your tuition to whip yourself back into shape.

5. Follow Your Interests

You may start college with an idea of your career interests in mind, but this could change quickly with each class you take. Don't let this stress you out, because freshman year is the time to explore what it is you are passionate about– despite what you may have previously thought they were. If you feel inspired by certain areas of study, contact your advisors and figure out the best field of study for yourself.

6. Have Fun

The first year of college might be scary at the moment, but if definitely won't be when you look back on it after you graduate. Let go of your worries and have as much fun as possible, you will not regret it. Each year will become more serious, so being a freshman is the best time to enjoy all that the college experience has to offer. Take advantage of this time and indulge in all the excitement surrounding you.

7. Be Yourself

This is the most important thing to remember when embarking on your first taste of independence. Never feel like you have to fit in. Only your authentic self will bring you authentic happiness.

Going to college is a life-changing experience and you might not have it all figured out. Luckily, these tips can help you stay grounded during your freshman year– a time you will always remember as the beginning of your journey!

If you would like to see more stories like this, check out my WriteSpike profile and be sure to comment your thoughts below. Also, follow me on Twitter (@emilyokonsky) for updates on new articles and writing projects. Thanks for reading!

Replace intimidation with curiosity. Be your authentic self with everyone you meet, so you make authentic connections.

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