Freshman Year Survival Guide

Hey! It’s me. Your college tour guide. I know freshman year can feel overwhelming because it is way out of your comfort zone. Well, I’m here to tell you it only gets worse.

I’m kidding of course, but it will definitely be a rollercoaster ride. There will be ups and downs, but trust me, it will be worth it!

As my final year as an undergraduate student winds down, I have begun to reflect upon the last few years. Looking back, there’s nothing I would want to change about my college career, but some advice on certain topics would have been useful. That’s what I’m here for – to give you the 5 tips I believe can be useful to get you through the next 4 years.

  1. Your Mental Health Is Important!

Yes, good grades are important, but they are not everything! Like every other college freshman, I spent most of my time stressing over grades and I put my brain on overdrive not realizing the effect it was having on my mental health. There must be a balance in your life. Make sure you take the time to destress, take study breaks, get enough sleep and socialize! Yes, your GPA should matter to you, but you need to be in a healthy state in order to reflect productivity onto your work.

  1. Do Not Compare Yourself to Other Students

It can be easy to fall victim to the pressure of exceeding the standards – after all, we are UT students. You will meet students who have higher GPAs, who have internship experience, who have job offers or any other impressive accomplishments. You may feel like you are not doing enough, but the truth is everyone has their own pace. Every student has a unique college experience and yours will be valid! You will graduate and land that job you want, but you will just do it your way, not the way your classmates will. Don’t overthink. You got this!

  1. Get Involved

Look, it is perfectly okay to have no idea what you want to do with your life. We’ve all been there. Very few people start college and have their futures figured out. The best way to find your interests is by joining orgs or clubs around campus, or at least attending info sessions to see if they spark further interest! I personally met some great friends, mentors, and even decided my major with the help of orgs. Being involved can help both your social and professional life by making you a well-rounded, knowledgeable individual. Volunteer, play intramural sports, join clubs – if time allows, of course. This leads me to my next tip…

  1. Time Management Is KEY!

It’s pretty great that we don’t all have school 8 to 4, Monday through Friday. But you will find that time gets away from you regardless. Just because your assignment is due next week doesn’t mean DO it next week. Procrastinating never helps (I know this, trust me). You will find that planning out a weekly or even monthly schedule will do wonders for you. Do your work on time, figure out your best study habits, and find resources on campus. Time management will help you find that balance that you need which equals, you guessed it, less stress.

  1. Have Fun!

Yeah, I know, corny. But it’s true. College is so much more than constant studying and testing. It’s a brand new environment with so many opportunities. Many of us come from other cities, states and countries and are all looking to grow and make some fun memories. You will make lifelong friends, try new food, listen to more music, and get a degree!!! Awesome right? Surround yourself with like-minded individuals and find your passions. College went by for me in the blink of an eye and, honestly, I would relive it all over again. Make these the best 4 years of your life.

I caught on to these tips late in my college career because I didn’t have guidance, but I want to make sure you get the help you need early on to enjoy college to the fullest. If you ever feel anxious about college, please reach out and get some help or advice from upperclassmen or counselors. You have the resources needed to succeed (including these tips) so please take advantage of them. Enjoy!

By Evelyn Gonzalez

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