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  • Shannon Brault

Advice to Incoming Freshmen (and anyone who needs to hear it)



Last Tuesday I had my first guest blog published (exciting stuff!!) and I wanted to share a similar post to it on here. SO, as school is starting up soon some are preparing to (hopefully) be on campus in the fall starting their college careers. While there is so much to learn and everyone experiences this time differently, here are 10 things I wish I knew and fully believed before I started college (I do think that all of these apply to life outside of college as well, so this post is for everyone, regardless of whether or not you are in college or not)


1. Ignore the thinking that you need to completely reinvent yourself - College is a time of growth and change. There is this kind of aura around some people and an ideology that you need to completely reinvent yourself as a person, and you don’t. This idea can get to toxic levels thinking that you need to be someone that you’re not or “reinvent” yourself into this person overnight or even in the span of a week, month, or year, and that simply is not sustainable. Chances are, you will change in college. Your interests will change, your ideas will change, your behaviors may change and the people you surround yourself with may change, but that does not mean that you need to actively and fundamentally change who you are. College is glamorized, but it still is a time of self-discovery and growth for many people, and you need to roll with the punches and figure it out as you go


2. It’s okay to change your mind - I’m not sure what the actual statistic is now, but a good portion of people end up changing their major or even change their mind about college in general. Everyone is on their own path. You may know what you want to do in life right away, and you may have no idea at all. Both are totally fine and normal! You may go in thinking you want to do one thing and end up changing your mind multiple times. This is okay and honestly should be encouraged. You change over time and your interests do too. Feel out what you want to do and if you end up thinking it’s not for you, try something else. Collect data on things you try and navigate your way to what is best for you - a common theme in college: figuring out what is best for you personally.


3. It’s okay to have doubts - It is more than okay and perhaps necessary to question if you’re on the right track, if you really want to major in what you’re majoring in, if you chose the right college, if you have good friends or if you want to go to college at all. It’s okay to question things and have doubts as long as you think through these situations and come out reaffirmed in whatever is best for you. You’re going to get a lot of conflicting opinions from people on what’s best for you, but YOU have to decide what’s best for you. Questioning can lead to growth and while glamorized, college is a time of growth and change.


4. Set a Schedule - you’ll naturally have somewhat of a schedule with your class schedule, but set a schedule and stick to it the best that you can. Make sure you’re taking care of your body by getting sleep and getting acclimated to a decent sleep schedule - whatever that looks like to you. Schedule time in between your classes for meals and snacks and make sure you’re fueling your mind and body with food, water, and sleep. It makes the world of a difference.


5. Find your favorite study place - While there are a million things to navigate in college, you are there for an education. Finding a place you feel safe and can concentrate on studying is of the utmost importance. It is different for everyone. Maybe you can study in your room, but if you’re like me, you may need a tranquil space with natural lighting like a coffee shop or a library. Look around and find some places to study until you find your favorite.


6. Don’t be afraid to try new things, but know that you don’t need to try EVERYTHING - you’re going to be bombarded by an endless amount of new opportunities. You may want to join a few clubs, do an intramural sport, volunteer, party, etc. You’re going to have all these new things that you can try and you may feel pressure to try everything, but you don’t have to and you shouldn’t. Try the things you think will make you happy, align with your interests and beliefs. Trying everything that is presented to you will only burn you out.


7. Listen to your gut - College is a time where you get to take the next steps in becoming the person you want to be and finding the things you want to do. You may go in thinking you have it all figured out and get there only to figure out you might enjoy doing something else more. Listen to these feelings and do what is best for you in situations.


8. Your roommate does not need to be your best friend - There is this idea that is painted in different movies and TV shows that your roommate will be your best friend. Sometimes this is true and you’ll get lucky living with someone that you mesh with so well, but other times it won’t be like that, and that is 100% okay. All you have to do is find a way to peacefully live together and if the worst-case scenario happens and you get someone that you cannot live with for whatever reason, reach out to your campus’ housing department and most of the times they can work with you and figure something out. If you are living in the dorms at your school, your Residents Assistant on your floor is there to help you, as well as your Hall Director and the entire office in housing life.


9. Reach out to your professors and find the resources you need -Talking to your professors can be scary, but building a connection with them can open up so many doors for you both in the present and in the future. It’s easy to forget that your professors are people too and that they have lives, families, and interests of their own. Find out what they specialize in or what they are researching, and if it interests you, reach out and see if there are opportunities for you to get involved. Each college campus also has a wide range of resources that are made for you as a student. Whether it’s a multicultural club, a mental health resource center, the office for disabilities, or any other resource from the wide range available to you, use them. They are there to help you, but you have to find them and reach out in order to receive the accommodations you need.


I hope these help you in whatever stage of life you're in and you continue to look at the growth side of things since you're super awesome.


With much love,


Shannon

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