College life can be overwhelming for incoming freshmen. I learned a lot during my freshman year, and not just academics. Adapting to the college lifestyle can be challenging, but there are a few things can help make that transition smoother, which I wish I did more of.
Unlike high schools where the student body consists of the surrounding local population, colleges and universities are a melting pot for different cultures, interests and backgrounds. In high school, it is easy to feel pressured into conforming to fit in with the other students who, for the most part, are all similar due to their hometown upbringings. Colleges contain students from all over the country, and even students from other countries. Because I was so accustomed to my high school life when beginning my freshman year of college, it took me a while to branch out. Especially coming from out of state, I didn’t know a lot of people, so I only hung out with the people I did know. Once I did make new friends, I realized that I was freer to develop new interests and do things that I would not have in high school. The saying, “Your college friends are you friends for life,” could not be truer. I love my high school friends, and I am still good friends with a select few, but my relationships with my college friends are going to withstand the test of time.
Getting involved on campus is a stereotypical piece of advice that all college freshmen hear. But, it is said so frequently because it is so true. Getting involved helps to meet people and gain experience to add to a resume. Most schools, including Auburn, have an online platform for learning about and applying to different campus organizations and clubs. These are a great place to get started with campus involvement. Coming from out of state was a challenge, but the organizations I joined allowed me to meet new people and experience new things. I wish I had done more my freshman year, instead of waiting until my sophomore year. This is why becoming involved as soon as possible is so important. College only lasts for four years (usually), and time really flies.
Many students, especially freshmen, don’t realize exactly how much goes on at universities. As a freshman, I had no clue about a lot of things happening on campus that weren’t part of my usual schedule. Organizations like Auburn’s University Program Council (UPC) hold many events year-round for students to learn new skills, experience new things, and meet other people with similar interests. The events include workshops, concerts and other events. Another great campus resource is the recreation center. At Auburn, every enrolled student has access to the state-of-the-art recreation and wellness center. However, many of those students rarely visit the rec center. Adapting to the college lifestyle can be tricky, so visiting the rec center can be a great way to relieve stress and work off the inevitable “freshman 15” (which is real, believe me).