Looking back on my freshman year experience, most of my recollections come in the form of snapshots and little flashes of memory. It really is true what “they” say, the first year of college goes by just as quickly as it comes.
Between classes and late nights, clubs and games, one’s first year of college is filled with new, exciting experiences.
But, with all the excitement, there are stressful days, difficult classes and the nights when mom and dad are just too far way.
There is really only one way to explain the first year of college, and it is best put into one word — new. With that newness comes good and bad days, friendships, professors and classes.
The phrase “the college experience” may seem a little cliche and overused, but it’s true — college is an experience made up of lessons and moments.
While is there is no formula for a successful freshman year of college, there is always advice to go around. From all the lessons and experiences gathered, here are just a few of the ways to make the first year of college a memorable and successful year.
Meet new people
This might seem like one of the simplest pieces of advice, but with large classes and busy schedules, it can be easy to fall into the routine of only sticking to the people you know.
College, although new and much larger than the high school setting, universities still have groups, clubs and cliques like every social setting. But, the great thing about college is that these groups are most often based on true common interests, not just who is who.
However, meeting new people in class or during lunch at the dining hall can lead to some of the greatest college friendships, or at the very least, a good study partner.
Through joining clubs and extracurricular activities outside of class, there are so many new people to interact and connect with.
Take interest in your interests
Freshman year is all about change and newness, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to leave all your old interests behind. One of the greatest things about initially picking a major or course of study is that it often correlates with what makes you happy or what you’re most invested in.
However, core classes are not always the most exciting, which is why the more interesting extra classes and supplementary courses are sometimes the most educational. It is obviously incredibly important to put stock in one’s major courses, but the additional art class, creative writing seminar or math refresher course is often where you can gain the most experience, and learn about new interests.
Meet the professors
If there was an actual break down to an average college day it would go like this. Fifty percent of a student’s time is spent with friends and taking part in student activities, the other 50 percent is spent with their professors.
Whether it be in the classroom or during immensely helpful office hours, we see our professors nearly every day. Forming a relationship with those professors and mentors is the best way to further your college experience. Not only will this help you feel more engaged in your courses, it will bring about new friendships with people other than students with a similar mindset.
Meetings with advisers, professors and mentors are often the most important aspects of my day. They are the one’s to talk to when school becomes a little difficult, when an extension on an assignment is needed and when you just need an “adult” perspective.
Explore your community
The University of Idaho is a small community of Vandals within a larger setting, but it is important to explore both in and outside of the campus.
The first few weeks of freshman year can be busy and nerve wracking, but taking the time to go out and experience what the university and the Moscow community has to offer is one of the first steps in making this area feel like home.
It wasn’t until my second month in Moscow that I even entered a coffee shop downtown. Now, after frequenting this little downtown shop so often, my week no longer feels complete without at least carrying a coffee out. It is learning about small things about Moscow, about college in general, that make the newness and change of a new year more bearable.
Grab some friends, old and new, and spend the day wandering around the Palouse. Moscow easily becomes home faster than you would think.
Everyone’s college experience is different. No movie, book or even column can predict the perfect freshman year. But, one thing is for sure, venturing out to embark on something new, something exciting like a first year away from home is one of the best ways to gain an experience fit for growth and learning.
Hailey Stewart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org