Freshman year is exciting but also terrifying. And unfortunately, those fears don’t totally go away even once you’ve started university. You may be left with several questions and concerns after your freshman orientation. Luckily, we’ve done our best to answer some of your questions and reassure you that everything will be alright.
1. It’s alright if you don’t make friends right away
Honestly, the closest friends you make in university won’t come right away. They may not even come in your first year, and that’s ok. As the years go by, you will learn more about yourself and become more confident, which means the friends you choose are likely to be more similar to you in the long-run (beyond the fact that you’re both nervous for your first year of university).
2. Do not let your mental health fall by the wayside
This is something that college staff and orientation week coordinators should be stressing as much as possible. If you’re feeling stressed or sad, go talk to someone. Don’t feel silly for needing help and don’t wait until it’s too late. Most universities have free mental health services.
3. Speak to your professors (or at least your tutors/TAs)
I know they might seem super intimidating but they really are there to help you, both academically and personally. Most professors hold office hours throughout the year, but you could also send them an email, see them after class, or arrange another time to meet. Plus, the earlier you get into the habit of speaking with your professors, the better your grades will be and the more you will enjoy your classes.
4. It’s ok not to attend a party or event in your residence
Now that “FOMO” is a real thing, it’s quite possible that you feel anxious at the thought of not being able to attend a party, event, or even a group study session at your residence. But please try not to worry if you can’t make it to an event (in fact, you should probably take a break once in a while). You won’t miss out on anything.
5. Join a club or society (just one!)
I’m sure your orientation leaders recommended that you join some of the university’s clubs or societies, and they are correct. That being said, maybe only join one during your first semester. By only joining one you won’t get too busy with extracurriculars while you’re adjusting. Plus, you can commit to attending the club’s meetings regularly since you won’t have others vying for your attention. This will give you a much needed outlet from residence life, allow you to do something you’re interested in, and meet new people (especially if you join the club on your own).
6. Don’t be afraid to change majors
Believe it or not, it is very common for students to change majors. This ranges from more similar majors such as switching from History to Philosophy, or changing faculties entirely, such as switching from political science to biology. It’s never too late. And remember, you’re paying for the degree. Take something you enjoy studying, and ideally, something that could lead to a future career you’re interested in.
7. Do not compare yourself to others on social media
It’s very tempting to constantly check your Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat newsfeeds, - and it’s ok if you do - as long as they don’t get you down. Never compare your life to someone else’s on social media. First off, social media is wildly misleading. Secondly, everyone in first year is going to be trying to show off to their old high school classmates. Everyone wants to be the one having the best time in university. Pay no attention to them. It only matters if YOU are happy with yourself (your friends, where you’re living, your courses, the college you chose to attend, etc...).
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