Amherst Wire

Five tips for new students

Talk to professors, socialize and fend off the freshman plague.

Faith Cardoza / Amherst Wire

Faith Cardoza / Amherst Wire

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The months leading up to college can be both daunting and exciting. Going to a new place with its own unique environment and culture is nerve-racking — new students face countless unknowns. So take it from someone who is going through it now. Follow these guidelines, and you’ll be far more prepared than the average newcomer.

You are going to meet a ton of people, many of whom you’ll never see again.

This is especially true during orientation, where everything is thrown at you at once. The new social aspect is intimidating, especially when you’re grouped with thousands of students who are in the same boat. Don’t panic if you can’t seem to find people you really connect with — there are plenty of opportunities to meet people with the same interests as you. The first month of college is chaotic, which can be hard if you don’t have a friend group to rely on just yet. But persevere! Get out there and meet new people.

Every other new student is just as clueless as you are. You are not alone!

Many freshmen may act like they know what they’re doing all the time. I am here to tell you that they’re faking it. Doing research on your school and its resources is a great way to prepare yourself. However, the only way to learn all the ins and outs of college is to experience it. Most (if not all) new students have no clue what they’re doing, whether it’s finding classes, bonding with roommates or finding parties. Don’t feel bad if you don’t know what’s going on, because chances are a lot of people relate.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek help.

It’s a common and unfortunate mistake to think you can figure everything out by yourself. Asking for help is difficult, especially when it seems like no one else is asking for it. But reaching out can help you perform better, both in school and with other responsibilities. Asking questions when no one else is sets you apart. It helps professors get to know you. Professors and staff are all there to help you succeed. You might as well take advantage of the resources you’re already paying for. There are various resources on your campus that can help with all kinds of problems ranging from academic to adulting. All you have to do is ask.

Manage your time.

Time in college means time spent away from your parents and family. You’re solely responsible for yourself. Your daily schedule will be drastically different from high school. This newfound independence can feel liberating. But be careful with how you allocate your time. Time management is one of the most important skills to learn in college. Invest in a planner. Strike a balance between classes and social life — think before you party every night. College is a great time to learn your limits and use your time wisely.

Be open-minded.

You’re about to share a community with people from many parts of the United States and around the world. You’re going to meet plenty of people with different views and perspectives. Instead of closing yourself off to other outlooks, learn more about other people and their views. This doesn’t mean you have to agree everyone, but it’s a great learning experience to discover and consider different world views. Branch out and try new things. 

Bonus: The freshman plague is real.

Come prepared with hand sanitizer, cold medicine and anything else you can think of to prevent and prepare for potential sickness.

Email Faith at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @faith_doza.

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Five tips for new students