Guide to New College Freshman 101

3 Sep

I knew almost no one at college when I entered my foot at the University of Washington in Seattle. On the huge campus, my eyes were locked on a campus map. I was navigating myself like a lost tourist in a big city. Find a right building and classroom by swimming through nearly 20,000 students with backpacks was a daunting task. As soon as I got a classroom, oh no! It did not look like a classroom. It was more like a coliseum! Some classes had massive number of students, something like over 200 people. It was overwhelming. I realized that I became invisible – just a number in college.

In a class, it seemed impossible to even ask questions in the classroom. So many thoughts started popping up in my head. “I need a help but who can help me?” “What did a professor just say?” “Do I need to read 3, three! chapters by this Friday?” There is homework due next week, already? Really?” It was too much, too fast. I thought I was only one who were not keeping up. There were no reliable and trustworthy friends I knew. New school, new routine, new place, everything was new in refreshing and puzzling way. Everyone in my class appeared smart but me. “Can I survive in this environment?”

If you ever feel jittery on the first day of college, don’t worry. I survived and thrived. Everyone can do it if you follow steps below.

  1. You are not alone. Almost everyone feels the same way as you are. They are not all figured out yet. Breath.  
  2. After a week or two, you will know who you can depend on in a class. You just need to be open and start talking to other students.
  3. If your professor is not helpful to you, go to Teaching Assistant (TA). If that fails, then find a smart person in your class. You will know who the person is after a couple of weeks observing in the class.
  4. If your school has tutoring service, use it.
  5. Some colleges have psychologist available for you. Use the service if you need a safe place to talk about your problems and struggles.
  6. Join a student club or participate in sports, music, or something you love to do with like-minded students.
  7. Study and have fun. You need to do both. Go for a walk or have fun at student events on campus.
  8. Work part-time and make friends.
  9. Call your parents or childhood friends. And go home and see your parents once in a while.

After one quarter/semester of school, you will learn the rhythm of college life and you can make it!

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