Going to college is an exciting opportunity! But college can also be confusing and stressful at times. Trust me I have been there and I want to help you with the 7 things I wish I knew before starting college.
It is okay to not have a major starting out.
During my freshman year, I knew what major I wanted to go into but I met a bunch of people who were “undeclared” and this is perfectly fine. You do not have to feel pressure to pick a major right when you start. During your freshman year you start out taking your general education requirements classes first so you typically won’t start taking your major classes until your sophomore year. During your freshman year be adamant about researching careers that interest you and speaking to your advice.
Changing your major is common.
I originally went to college with a major in Psychology but after taking a Sociology class I decided to change my major to that and have a concentration in Social Psychology. I have a ton of friends who changed their majors once or twice and that is absolutely fine. You won’t know if you really want to major in something until you start to take the courses. Your interest may change while you are in college and that may cause you to look into a different career direction. It is important to communicate with your advisor who is there to help you. But know that changing your major is completely normal.
Have fun, but get your degree.
College is a fun time to meet new people, go out, and be independent for the first time but it is important to keep your priorities in check. College isn’t free, for most people, so it is important to really go into college focused on obtaining your degree and not going into it just to party. Sometimes you will have to say no to hanging out with your friends but when you walk across that stage your sacrifices will be worth it, trust me!
Study, Study, Study.
This seems like a no brainer but when you go to college you don’t have your parents to keep up with your homework. You have to prioritize your time and make sure that you get your work done and are prepared for your exams. Planners are always a good option to stay organized with your assignments and life in general. Find a place (the library, coffee shop, your room, etc.) where you can effectively do your work with no distractions. Give yourself breaks and reward yourself as well. Study alone or in groups, whichever you feel will help you.
Go to class.
Just do it! I know that most of the time your professor will probably not take roll so you may not feel like you really need to go but get out of bed and go! Attending class gives you the opportunity to ask questions about the material and sometimes your professor gives extra credit for coming to class. You may not think that your professor doesn’t know who you are but they do and you never know when you may need a recommendation.
Ask for help.
You know better than anybody when you don’t understand your work so it is important to seek help. Go to your professor, classmates, advisor, or get a tutor. Professors normally have office hours so take advantage of this so that you get one on one help. Your college should have a building specifically for tutoring and you can sign up for free. Take advantage of the resources your school offers so that you are not stressed out by the material.
This is something that not a lot of people talk about and networking is such a valuable opportunity. The connections you are able to obtain can potentially benefit you after graduation when looking for a job, internship, grad school, etc. Getting involved on campus is a great way to network and connect with other people. Make a trip to your campus career center and create a LinkedIn profile that will help connect you with people and build your online presence. Above all, have fun and don’t get stressed out. Networking is all about having an organic conversation with others, so have fun doing it!
I hope these 7 things are able to help you as you start your journey in college. Comment below and let me know what do you wish you knew before starting college?