WES Advisor Blog

Trusted Advice for Academic and Professional Success

How to Survive Your First Year of College

Monday | August 13, 2018 | by Maddy Lavoie

survive first year college

When initially thinking of starting college, many students feel a rush of excitement. College is an opportunity for students to pursue their dreams, try new things, and become independent. As excited as some students get when they think of college, there is usually some nervousness as well. This blog post will provide tips for incoming freshmen (first-year college students) on overcoming any nerves they may have about starting this new journey. These tips will help ensure a smooth transition and, most importantly, a successful first year of college.

Talk to a Friend

Talk to a friend or close relative who has already been to college and ask for their advice. Talking to someone who has been through the process can be useful. They can advise you on what to pack, how to study, and how to manage your time. Getting tips from someone close to you can also help raise your comfort level about college, so you feel more prepared.

Go to Orientation

Some colleges offer an optional orientation for international students. It is important to attend orientation so you learn the ropes of your institution. This includes finding out where your classes are on campus, which will ensure you do not get lost on the first day! Orientation also exposes you to all the tools and resources your university offers students. These tools may include:

  • Access to an academic advisor
  • One-on-one tutoring
  • Printing services
  • Study hall

These tools can ensure success in all of your classes if you use them. Orientation is also a great way to make friends before classes start. When you make friends before classes begin, you will already know some familiar faces in your classes. Having friends within your classes can help you achieve better grades and makes your classes more fun to attend. This may require you to get out of your comfort zone in order to meet new people, but I still encourage you to do it!

Join Clubs or Teams

By getting involved in a club or team, students typically feel a stronger sense of belonging on their campus. Joining a club or team is a good opportunity to meet new people and make the most of your college experience. Colleges host many events around campus as well, and participation in these events are strongly encouraged. Not only can attending these events boost your self-esteem, but they also beat sitting in your dorm room.

Try New Things

As an international student, you will be exposed to many other cultures. Do not be afraid to try new things in the U.S. and make the most out of your experience. But most importantly, do not forget who you are. Do not lose yourself by attending school in another country. Share your culture with others, but also learn about theirs.

Do Not Forget Why You Are at College

Lastly, remind yourself why you are at college. The end goal of college is to get your degree. Do not sacrifice your academic ambitions by attending too many parties or putting off your schoolwork. Try to find a happy balance between your social and academic life. Both of these aspects are very important during college, but finding that perfect balance between the two is key.

College is a great place to become independent and grow as an individual. You obtain personal connections and knowledge that will prepare you for the rest of your life. Make the most out of your college years and have fun!

Related Reading

How to Get Involved in Social Activities on Campus

Finding an On-Campus Job

Maddy Lavoie is an international student-athlete at Delta State University in Mississippi. She is also a WES Ambassador.