Author: Gracie Singleton
The beginning of the school year is quickly approaching, and with it, comes a wide range of emotions. Parents are ecstatic, kids are sad to see summer go, and teachers are desperately trying to convince themselves they are ready for another year; however, there is another group that is scared and excited and unsure of what is to come: First Year College Students. Being a newbie anywhere can be daunting, but we compiled some tips from recent first years in order to set up this year’s class for success.
Advice From Recent First Years
Aermon Hanna, our Business Development and Videographer Intern, just finished his first year at Belmont University. He is a full-time student and enrolled in the Vanderbilt ROTC program. His advice for new college students is to allow for the adjustment process to happen. Aermon suggests everyone give themselves the grace to see what works and what does not. Each person is different, so it makes sense that what might work for a friend, may not work for everyone. While he does advocate for a slower start, he also advises that everyone join clubs and explore new opportunities. He says that “college is a time for experimentation,” so everyone should try as much as they can. Throughout this exploration is where one might discover their passion. Aermon strongly reminds new students that they are not in high school anymore. It is okay to do things alone. It is okay to feel lonely and out of place. It happens to everyone. It is incredibly important to get involved, so when feelings like this arise, there is a community available for support.
Another recent first year, Lexi Waid, shared her thoughts on her first year at West Chester University. Her biggest piece of advice is to “be yourself and do anything you want.” She highlights the importance of finding the right crowd and how impossible that is if someone is not their authentic self. Lexi says to do anything! She says to try new things and get out there. The one thing she would change about her year is her living situation. Finding a roommate can be challenging when initially entering college. Do not be afraid of changing rooms or moving out after the first semester. It is better to be happy than to suffer for nine whole months. The one thing she took away from her year was time management. Lexi says that it is necessary to learn “when to be social and when to study.” College is filled with lots of fun opportunities, but it is important to make school the top priority.
Secrets From A College Professional
In addition to students, we had a professional weigh in on the matter. Christy Ridings, Belmont’s Associate University Minister, says to give grace. Not everyone is going to figure it all out in the first month of school, not all new things are the right thing, and college is a huge transition to independent life. She says that throughout it all, everyone needs grace for themselves and others. Christy also advised that what someone did in high school may not be the thing they do in college, and that is okay. She says to get out there and see what there is. Additionally, she says to find a routine. Christy says that some kids like to sleep during their extra time, but all that does is set a person back. Naps are good, but they are not everything! Finally, Christy says to remember that the workload increases and can seem overwhelming. She likes to say that “inch by inch is a sinch, but yard by yard is very hard.” What she is saying here is that the work can be broken down. Do not let the whole semester overwhelm someone in the first week. Her last piece of advice is “to go to class!”
While we love our professors, US News & World Report also has some secrets for a successful year. They say to be prepared for class early and to get ready to be treated as an adult. Up to this point, most kids have never had to fully care for themselves, and it is a huge transition as everyone adjusts to life without parents. Make sure to prepare for this! US News & World Report also says to make time for communicating with a parent or guardian. Remember that this is a huge adjustment for them too, and they need as much help through this transition as the student!
The tips so far are all incredibly useful for day-to-day life, and it is important to know how to put them to use. To start, almost all student resources can be found somewhere online. Just google what is needed followed by the school name, and boom! It is probably there. But what services are available? There are student learning centers, mental health services, religious groups, fitness resources, and more! College is truly set up to help everyone succeed, but as Christy likes to say, “Students need to be proactive, not reactive” when using these resources. Do not wait until it is too late to get help. Get help when it is first evident that it is needed.
There are also many off-campus resources as well as on-campus ones. For career building, there are many networking events around town or Handshake for internships and online events. Handshake is a great platform used by many schools to connect students to employers and mentors.
ASA Can Help
Overall, we want each first year student to have a great first year and a great college experience. Asian Student Achievement has many resources available from mentorship to internships to jobs on our diversity-driven job board. Click here to support the organization and learn more!