From High School to Higher Education: A Freshman’s Guide to Thriving in College

Unleashing Opportunities, Navigating Challenges, and Crafting a Successful Journey through Your First Year at University!

Congratulations on starting college! This is an exhilarating time in your life where there are many opportunities to learn, make friends, and grow. Understandably, sometimes it can be hard moving away from home. Although it can feel overwhelming, there is much hope for your college experience. At Zinkerz, we want to ensure you get into your dream school and prepare for your college career. We’re here to provide advice to help you make the most of your freshman year!

Making Friends Online

Social media can be a game changer when it comes time to meet new people at your school. Universities and colleges have social media pages where you can post about yourself and meet others before the fall. Typically, these pages are on Facebook or Instagram. Take advantage of these pages! Find people with similar interests, hobbies, or majors. Joining first-year groups is a great way to connect with your peers. Introduce yourself, comment on other student’s posts, ask questions, and start making new friends.

Get Involved

Join clubs, organizations, study groups, or sports teams that interest you. This is a great way to meet new people, make long-lasting friendships, and create skills outside the classroom. In the fall, schools have involvement fairs where you can explore clubs and organizations. It is an excellent opportunity to find clubs you are interested in. Most colleges and universities also have their extracurricular activities listed on their website. Go to your school’s website, and take a look.

Manage Your Time Effectively

College can be time-consuming, with many new tasks and assignments. You have many new responsibilities. Take time to organize. Manage your time by making to-do lists, creating a schedule, and prioritizing tasks. Set aside time for studying, attending class, and engaging in extracurricular activities. Depending on your classes and their credit hours, there will be a certain amount of study hours. Research suggests that students should spend 2–3 hours a week studying per credit hour to be successful in their courses. STEM classes often require 3–4 hours per credit hour studying to be successful. 

Attend Classes and Be Proactive

Attendance and active participation are crucial to being successful during college. Take thorough notes, ask questions, and engage in discussions. Professors are great resources to learn and get help when needed. Take advantage of their office hours. Assure you will make it to class on time, as you want to attend all lectures and essential information regarding exam dates and classwork due dates. If you cannot make it to class, contact your professor, letting them know you will not be able to attend class. Make alternate arrangements with your professor for missing work. Sometimes professors record classes or will let you join a Zoom meeting for class. Either way, always let the professor know before not attending a class. 

Take Care of Yourself

College can be overwhelming, so ensure you correctly care for your mental and physical health. Always get enough sleep, eat nutritious meals, and exercise. Many schools offer nutritionists and alternate meal plans for your needs. Make sure to be eating fruit and clean foods to feel your best! Exercise at your school gym, find yoga and workout videos online, or walk! There are many ways to get exercise on your campus. If you are stressed, schools offer counseling to help you through your tough times. You can find these resources on your school’s website. Take advantage of your campus and the resources they provide to help you.

Explore Different Opportunities

College offers so many opportunities beyond academics. Take advantage of internships, research opportunities, study abroad programs, and volunteer work. All of these opportunities will help to broaden your horizons, enhance your resume, and help you discover new interests. Find these internship opportunities at your school’s career center, career advisors, or career fairs.  There are also advisors to help you when planning to study abroad, and many programs can be found on your school’s website. Volunteer work can also be found through career centers and fairs. 

In conclusion, starting college can be both exciting and overwhelming. It marks the beginning of a new chapter in your life, filled with many opportunities and self-growth.



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