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The Top Ten Lessons I've Learned As A Freshman In College

Hey High School Seniors! If you're worrying about your first year as a frosh in college, please don't over-stress yourself. You'll get the jitters, nervousness and the anxiety, but that's only because it's a new experience in life. I promise once you get settled in you'll feel the momentum and won't be ready to go back home.

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1. Reminding Ourselves

Via Pinterest

Have an Agenda! Put it in your Reminders! Keep a Journal around!

The two most important things I had in my first semester was my laptop and my agenda. Professors will verbally distribute assignments or important notices in class so you have to make sure you're listening and write them down!

A piece of paper could get crumpled or lost, so if you're always on your phone, that works too! Your phone should automatically have some kind of reminder app, where you can set the date, time, importance, and even location of the event or in this case, assignment on your to-do list.

Overall, your top priority is your health. Keeping something to write on with you when no one else is there to talk to helps a lot with your thoughts. Anything can happen this semester, and many of you know it is extremely hard to focus on schoolwork when your're confused, angry, sad, or frustrated about certain things going on in your life. Writing, coloring, and doodling it all down helps to clear your mind and feelings for a while.

You can go to your University Bookstore on campus to get an agenda or journal!

2. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE

We've all heard it before, do it anyway, and still regret it--so why do it again?

I am sure all of us have felt some guilt procrastinating on assignments, handing them in with less effort than expected, or ending up asking the professor for an extension.

It is a little more difficult on the brain to plan everything out according to your due dates-- juggling your relationships, appointments, and work schedule! Professors do help us by making syllabuses but it is up to us to space our projects out. Use your syllabus and a calendar to mark up when your assignments are due, and based on how time-consuming it is, make sure there are days on your calendar devoted to "research", "drafting", and "revising".

Talk to peers and professors along the way to get their insight on when to start, when do be done with a certain part, or how much other students have written already.

Our schedules must be flexible enough to make time for certain things, unexpected emergencies and taking breaks in between because cramming or waiting till the last minute is not healthy for our brains or bodies.

3. Not getting it?

Use the resources you're paying for.

You have to search for them, but they're there! Tutors are available in each department, professors are there to help you, a writing center should be on campus, and the library is the perfect place to get in your zone and understand.

You're paying thousands of dollars to go here! Why would you come out of it without learning everything you were destined to?

Email or visit your professors during office hours to tell them what's troubling you and they will be more than understanding to give you a run through. Do not be shy! These people are extremely caring and passionate about their jobs, and part of their jobs are to help you succeed. The writing center helps with your writing ability and performance, with professionals who show you what is exceptional and what needs improving. If you still don't feel happy or confident in your work, you can visit your academic advisor to fix the small bump in the road. Somehow, they'll help you find a tutor, websites, videos, and other ways to better explain what you're having trouble with. It's not unusual to not understand.

4. Get involved!

Go to that club fair!

You will be exposed to different worlds and interests that people get to express in their clubs. You may like something that your friends don't, but that's okay because you can make some new friends that DO like what you like! Keep the old friends but make new ones too :-)

Joining clubs can also expand your resume and lighten up your life overall. It's a win-win (only if you actually participate!) do not just go to make yourself seem well-rounded and don't go overboard! Pick a few that stays close to home for you.

You'll be meeting new people AND gaining experience for the work force.

5. Know Yourself; know your limits!

If you're a sleepyhead, don't schedule yourself for an 8:00 A.M. class!

You might be a gym freak and need that time around 10:00 A.M. to start your day and head to the REC center, or you might feel better to work out after 6:00 P.M.--where you stuffed yourself with dinner and desert. Schedules are different for everyone, and you are not the "average".

Keep a mindset that you have have to create a schedule to maximize your health and needs--NOT someone else's. Not your boss, not your significant other, and even your professors. Register for classes that works with your life the best. You will be missing out on important tasks, events, and personal improvement if you let other people rank your priorities.

If you cannot schedule your first semester, the only thing you can do is endure and be aware of what kind of person you are at your best for the next semester. When are you most awake, most motivated, how big are your breaks, and how much time would you like in between classes.

Take a PEPS test to figure out your studying and learning habits, or take a personality test like www.16personalities.com to discover what kind of person you are, and what works best.

This goes with EVERYTHING you'll experience in college. Know how far you can go--you'll be tested on all the time with all the opportunities that come your way.

6. Financial Awareness

Being in college means that you will most likely be way more independent, having financial help from your parents or not, you'll be spending more money on your own.

Having a budget limits yourself weekly from what you WANT to buy versus what you NEED to get. College is unfortunately very expensive, so you should get the most out of your income, and wisely pick out your expenses. It is okay to splurge once in a while, but just make sure to save at least twenty percent (20%!!!) of your sources of income, whatever it may be.

It is going to be a tough transition your first semester, because you'll be experiencing the unexpected. What if your car gets a flat while your going to class? What if someone stole your books? Anything can happen, which is why you must be financially ready to deal with these kinds of emergencies.

Some tips to keep in mind is to: Keep your bills visible and remind yourself to pay them, not to have too much cash on you, and keep your credit card hidden so you do not spend on impulse.

7. Final Exams!

Prepare once the semester begins.

I say this in terms of the notes you'll be taking and the hints that your professors give out while explaining the readings or content of the class. Professors try their best to highlight the important things in class discussion, so make sure to pick up on it--that means to listen and pay attention!

Finals will come at you like a two-ton truck, and if you're not prepared enough you might find yourself getting closer and closer to a nervous breakdown. I am serious! If you care about not only passing but excelling, tears will be shed if you do not plan beforehand.

Cramming is risky, but it most likely comes out to not being enough. Content may be too overwhelming to jam in and fully understand in a 48 hour period. It is better to study a section of the exam based on your guide. I know students live busy lives, but studying little by little will definitely help your mental health and retain information. When you're not stressed, you're focused on your studies.

Your college or university might also have a De-stress for finals week! At Montclair, our department of Health Promotions gave out trail mix, had dogs and a pony ready to be petted and play with, and programs open to all students like a free therapy session or Tea Talk. It doesn't hurt to take a break, it won't affect your grade, and your body will thank you for it!

8. Just say it!

No matter how embarrassing, risky, or stupid you think your questions or concerns are, you're wrong about them. Professors will understand and try to help you no matter the situation.

Even though I love talking to people in person, my biggest weakness is saying "No" to people, and asking for help. It is a slow and treading process to diminish these habits, but it makes life easier for YOU.

You must learn how to speak up to your peers when something you think something isn't right on the group project Whether it be for a group project or just expressing your feelings towards someone, you must speak up if you feel like you deserved a better grade on a quiz or assignment, and you must express your ideas no matter what. Even if it doesn't work out in the end, you put it out there for discussion and gave it a chance to be altered. Do not let your presumptions rule out your decisions. Staying quiet about things can potentially hinder your work or relationships with the people currently in your life.

For any type of group project, gathering, or event, always be communicating. Let people know where you are, what you're working on, and what your thoughts are on current ideas. Make group chats so everyone can be on the same page. Be sure to let your peers open up as well, everyone getting along and being on the same page will result in much better work ethics and usage of time.

Do not be a stranger to your professors either. Make sure you e-mail them, go visit them during their hours, or mentioned something small after class. If you don't get an immediate response, they'll reply eventually. Don't worry!!! Be a social butterfly!

9. Depending on who you are...

You could say that there are two type of people in this world: the ones who prefer going out and the ones who prefer staying home.

There are a lot of movies and songs about the party lifestyle. When you're in college you're considered to be in your prime--I get it!

But!Just to make sure you know, if you really don't like going to parties every weekend, it's okay to just stay home or in your dorm, catching up on your shows, playing some video games, or just flat out taking care of yourself. You could say you can't to your friends every other week...make an excuse!

If you do like partying, that's cool too! Just make sure to think about the couple of days ahead of you. Do you have any tests scheduled? Any big assignments on the syllabus? Did you plan on doing something that requires a lot of energy? You do not want to be drained out the next day, preventing you from doing your best.

College is fun time-- a place for learning! Make sure that your studies come first, because you're ultimately paying for an education and not for the parties.

Remember to party hard, but to study even harder.

10. Love it all, love it all.

"Be happy in your work." -Mr. Dunn (My high school history teacher)

Make sure you find happiness in your work and what you plan on doing in the future. Yes, it is okay to make mistakes, or to be unsure, but the little decisions you have to make everyday must be decided with a good gut feeling. When you have found something that sticks, grab it and let it grow. Cultivate it. No one can tell you what makes you happy more than yourself can. Whether it be a hobby, activity, sport, subject, or club--find what interests you and enjoy it.

Make sure you hold tight to the people that supports you and your decisions too! They'll only help you become more confident in achieving your dreams. Let go of the toxic people that try to bring you down, or that hurt your feelings. If you still love them as people, try to talk to them and make them realize that you have a plan, and you're absolutely sure you want to being doing _____ because it makes you happy.

Make your 2, 4, or even 12 years of studying as enjoyable as possible. It's your life we're talking about!

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