Going off to college is exciting but scary. You are moving out of the home in which there was always food in the frig and clean sheets on your bed; you are leaving friends you have grown up with and moving to a foreign land where you know no one. So many things to be a bit nervous or sad about.
On the other hand, you have made a choice of schools, along with college admission help, that will probably be a good fit for you, based upon the admissions requirements and your investigations. So trust that much – your choice was based upon rational thought. While you are being a bit nervous, you should know that there are some real advantages of being a college freshman. Here are ten of them.
Think back to high school. You had to be at school at a specific time every single day and stay on school grounds until the day was over and you were dismissed. This is probably the biggest change you will face when you go off to school. No one is checking on your whereabouts during the day. You go to classes and then you have your own time. In many ways, you have more time for study and activities, so long as you budget that time well. And if you don’t have class until 11:00 a.m., no one is bugging you to get up early. But you will learn quite quickly to be on time for class, and this is something that will serve you well forever.
You don’t have to account for your whereabouts to adults anymore. At the same time, you will discover that you don’t behave that much differently than if you were back living at home. The values you learned growing up do carry over, and that is an important lesson to learn as a freshman.
Being responsible for everything – from laundry, to cooking, to cleaning – may be a bit of a pain in the arse, but let’s face it. It’s time. Learning these things now at the age of 18-19 is a huge advantage over kids who stay at home. You’ll be a complete expert by the time you graduate and really get out on your own
High schools and neighborhoods that feed into those high schools are rather closed communities. Large high schools do have diversity of demographics, of course, but nothing like college campuses which house students from all over the country and the world, of every ethnicity and religion, and of a variety of socio-economic classes. Navigating relationships and cooperative learning and social activities will give freshmen a much broader view of the world and develop a sophistication that will serve them well the rest of their college years and beyond. Who knows? It my even motivate you to take a semester or a summer abroad.
While most do not look upon this as an advantage, it truly is. If you can learn both of these your freshman year, you will have much smoother road ahead. NO one is asking you to be perfect. And there will be times when you get so far behind in coursework that your world will be crashing in. That is the time to look for resources to help – whether that is the campus tutoring services or an online writing service to get help with a term paper you know you will not be able to finish.
When you have lived on ramen for a week, you will get serious about budgeting and that is a good thing. Learning to budget is a process and you’ll make mistakes ad runout. Fortunately, your parents probably expect it during your first year, so you may be able to tap them at least a few times if you are desperate.
Campus social life is like no other at any other time in life. There will always be a party, an event, a club/organization activity, not to mention much more opportunity to just hang out. While this is great, it is also a time to learn moderation. If you learn it as a freshman, by making some mistakes and living with the consequences (hangovers, love affairs gone bad, maybe a bit of law involvement for drinking underage, etc.), your next three years will go far more smoothly.
There are just more possibilities for making money in college. If you improve your imagination a bit, you can come up with some pretty unique ideas. If you’re especially good in a subject, you can offer to tutor or write essays; if you are great with computers, you can contract yourself out to repair them; you can clean dorm rooms or other students’ apartments; you can run errands or do laundry for people; you can even attend classes and take notes for other students; if you’re a good writer, start writing blog posts and submit them to large blogs that pay for them; if you like physical labor and are good at it, you can mow lawns, paint, and do other handyman types of thing for the locals. You can also house sit for local when they are out of town.
All campuses realize that freshmen in college go through adjustments. They have planned for this and usually offer a wide array of activities from orientations to “mixers,” etc. (and there is often free food too). When freshmen struggle with anything, there are RA’s, tutors, counselors and more available to help out. Some schools assign upperclassmen/women as mentors. These are great resources to take advantage of.
If your campus has sororities and fraternities, and you are inclined to take part, there is always the fall “rush” season where you get to go to parties, meet lots of new people, and decide if you want to be a part of Greek life. Even if you decide that this is not a good option for you, you will make some acquaintances that could turn into friendships or romantic relationships.
There were a limited number of clubs and organizations in high school, but that expands a great deal in college. And where they may have only been a few friends in high school who shared your same interests, there will be many more on campus. As a freshman, you can explore all of the possibilities and hook up with those organizations and activities you have interests in.
This is just added because it is something to look forward to through your first fall away at school. It’s one thing to keep in touch via phone and social media but quite another to get together face-to-face and share your “war stories.”
Will there be setbacks? Of course there will. Will there be times when you are ready to quit? Of course there will. But here’s the thing. Whether you ever use that college education or not, and many celebrities graduation have not, you will have had an experience that cannot be duplicated at any other time in your life.