My College Experience: 5 things I learned my freshman year

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OLIVIA Munson • College Times

Before my freshman year at Arizona State, I had mixed emotions. I was afraid I would not make friends, anxious to be so far away from home, yet excited to start a new chapter in my life.

As my first year comes to an end, I look back at all that has happened and wish I was given more advice on the ups and downs.

So, I created a list of what I have learned to help incoming freshman.

It’s OK to not be friends with everyone

I went to a very small high school with a graduating class of 49, so the transition to Arizona State was huge.

During the first week or so of college, I desperately tried to introduce myself to everyone. There was a constant dialogue of, “Hi my name is Olivia, nice to meet you. What’s your name?”

Because ASU has a large student population and four campuses, I wanted to make myself known. I wanted to have people smile and wave when I walked by them.

Looking back, virtually none of the people I randomly introduced myself to in the beginning of the year are my friends. My closest friends were made through sharing classes, living on the same floor, and having similar likes and dislikes.

I clicked with one of my best guy friends thanks to our English class. My closest girl friend and I met through our internship.

Try not to overthink making friends. Try to find similarities in the people you are surrounded with.

Wait to buy your textbooks

Possibly the worst thing you can do is rush to buy everything you need before the semester starts.

For most classes, the required texts are not posted until a week or two before the semester starts or the professor will tell you on the first day of class. In other words, wait to buy your books!

After two semesters of college I can safely say I have made the mistake of buying or renting books I did not use or need.

Budget your money wisely

I took a financial literacy course in high school, so I like to believe I’m cautious with money.

I can say I initially spent too much on Chipotle and Starbucks. Second semester was my chance to prove I can budget on my own. I am proud to say I did a better job this time compared to last.

One tip I have is to download a mobile banking app. I did not have one first semester, so I did not keep track of my finances. Now, with the mobile banking app, I can check my activity anytime. Thanks to this, I have been more conscious about how I spend.

Remember, it is important to have fun and it is OK to spend money on yourself. However, what is even more important is to make sure you are not frivolously spending.

Do not stress about your social life

Unlike high school, no one is popular in college. People may know who you are, and you may have a lot of friends, but social status does not exist in college.

Your attendance at parties isn’t going to dictate your social life. Trust me, after a while, frat parties lose their novelty. Sometimes it is better to kick back with friends and watch a movie. No one should judge you for what you decide to do with your social life, and if they do, consider removing that person from your life.

Practice time management skills

The pace of college is much different from high school; everything is fast.

I took an online journalism class that was half a semester, or seven weeks. Because it was self-paced, many students forgot about the homework, exams and due dates. I knew students who waited until the day everything was due to finish the course and they barely passed.

To do well in the class, I made a schedule of everything. I would space out watching the online lectures and completing assignments to fit into my day-to-day routine. By doing this, I was less stressed about the class in comparison to my peers. In the end, I received a high A.

In college, the syllabus is the rule, not the exception. Do not expect your professor to move a due date back if you have a lot of assignments from other classes.

Assignments are set in stone for a reason. Due dates are chosen to keep the class at a steady pace and professors are even stricter when it comes to missing classes or making up exams.

Like I said before, you are on your own in college. You won’t have anyone checking in to see if you did your homework. It is up to you to make sure whether you can finish your work on time.

You do not have to follow my advice word for word. College brings the opportunity for new experiences, but you want to make sure you are prepared for anything thrown your way. CT

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