Congrats frosh, you are now entering into one of the most exciting times of your life as a first year college student. The next four or five years will afford you the space to figure out who you want to be all while gaining a formal education. You will party, laugh, cry, cram, and ultimately experience some of the best years of your life. Here are our five tips for surviving your first year in college.
- The Library Is Your Friend- Time Management
The biggest factor between failure and success for any college student is time management. Managing time is difficult for the average person. Factor in parties, new friends, a new environment; challenging classes and it becomes almost impossible to properly navigate this age-old paradox. However, those who are able to strike the right balance between social life and book life will find success.
Take it from someone who went from academic probation to graduating with honors, the first step is in setting priorities. There are twenty-four hours in a day. The average person may effectively use five to eight of them. Try spending an hour a day per class studying, doing homework, or reading. Find the library! Albert Einstein once said, “The only thing you have to know is the location of the library.” Get all your work out the way during the day so you can free up the late afternoon and nights for yourself. Lastly, invest in an agenda book or an app where you can track your daily progress, assignments, and goals for the day. Remember, we have “Just a tiny little minute, but eternity is in it!”
- Your Dorm Room Is For Sleep- Get Involved
In order to enjoy college life to the fullest you have to get out of your dorm! Don’t get me wrong, you will meet some close friends and have memorable moments goofing off in your dorm. However, I have seen many persons skip event after event, locking themselves in their dorms barely escaping to attend class.
Explore your new environment. Do not be afraid to meet new people. Remember, you are not the only newbie. With the exception of those having prior relationships or having met in pre-college, everybody is new! It is essential that you get involved in clubs, organizations, student leadership or government programs, etc. Joining clubs gives you the best opportunity to meet other people with similar interests as you. It will also help alleviate anxieties while helping to build your resume.
- It’s Ok To Be Yourself
Quite possibly the most important piece of advice. There is only one you and nobody can be better at being you than you! It is easy for people to try to recreate themselves upon entering college. Which in some instances is fine. We all must grow and evolve, that is what college is about. However, wearing a false mask is wack and detrimental to true positive growth. “Know thyself.”
- Take an African American History Course
Maybe I am a little biased here, but this is essential! African American history IS American history. It is also the history of a people’s struggle to overcome. Unfortunately, many high school curriculums have altogether failed and or stopped teaching Black history courses. This will be the first (and possibly the only) time many of you will have the opportunity to celebrate and learn the rich cultural, social, and political history of African Americans. This is essential to our previous point about being yourself. No matter your major, African American history courses help us all to better understand where we came from and where we are going.
- Get Politically Involved
Be reminded that students such as Diane Nash, Stokely Carmichael, Charles McDrew, Marion Barry, John Lewis, Julian Bond used politics to spark a Movement. These students recognized their social, political, and economic conditions and used (or fought against) the political system to change it.
Make a difference in your local community. When I was in undergrad, I was able to host voter registration drives, voter awareness programs, and put pressure on our local congressmen to enact change. If you are not registered to vote this should be among the first actions you take. Familiarize yourself with your local councilmembers and congressmen. Lastly, take a stand against something and leave a legacy bigger than yourself. You see what’s happening in Ferguson, don’t be afraid to speak up!