Life Hacks

A Guide for Incoming Freshmen

In high school, many people were taught what to expect when entering their first year in college. Most were told to get ready for twenty-page papers and that those papers will consist of five-paragraph essays.

In other words: For most first-year college students, what to expect and how to prepare for this point in your life was not explained thoroughly. So I created a guide that will assist and lead incoming freshmen in the right direction.

Below I have listed tips on how to have a successful first year.

What to do in class

I believed that I had the entire thing figured out, until my first day of classes. Being the shy person that I am, I sat in the back of the class. That caused me to look at what everyone else was doing and their version of learning. That means I didn’t have my own style of taking in new information.

I now believe that one major key to having a successful freshman year is sitting in front of the class. Sitting in front of the class gives you the benefit of taking in every word your instructor says. Your notes will be the best of the best, and your homework assignments reflect how well you pay attention.

How to maintain a schedule

The first thing that I did was invest in a planner and a numerous amount of sticky notes. I had sticky notes posted in my bedroom, closet, in the bathroom and even on my television. The point of having all of these sticky notes everywhere was because they served as a constant reminder of important tests and homework assignments that were approaching. Having these small reminders throughout your environment will keep you on top of your schedule.

Creating a self-care schedule

From laying down and relaxing on the hammocks to grabbing an espresso at the library coffee shop, Fontbonne University provides numerous ways to unwind from classes. I often found myself becoming overwhelmed with classes because I was unaware of some of the university’s resources. Fontbonne University’s Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Janelle Julian recommends that students create a self-care schedule to keep themselves balanced throughout the year.

Your self-care Could include the following.

  1. Take as many breaks as possible.
  2. Have a mental health day.
  3. Take naps.
  4. Visit the Doerr Chapel at Fontbonne to gain peace of mind.
  5. Schedule an appointment with the counseling and wellness center to relieve some stress.
  6. Eat healthy.

I have personally tried numbers four and five listed above. What I have learned from using those two resources is that Fontbonne faculty and staff are always willing to listen and lend a hand when you take the initiative to ask for assistance.

Get out and meet people

Julian also advised students to avoid staying confined in their rooms. She says that the more students linger around and meet more people on campus, the more eventful and easier their college experience will be. I recommend sitting in the library and catching up with friends on homework assignments or even staying after class to chat with your professor or your other classmates.

Your first semester of college will be challenging; however, you don’t have to make it stressful. There are many people and resources that will be more than happy to assist you with your academic journey because they want to see you succeed.

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