Dear Incoming Freshman,
Deciding on a college and major is scary. No one wants to mess up and have to change their decision, but here is the thing, it is okay if you do. Study something you are passionate about and will allow you to pay your bills and be self-sufficient. In the end you will be happy that you don’t have to rely on someone but you can enjoy your future job.
Find something that relaxes you. You will have those days that you are drowning in three presentations and multiple exams, but having something that will allow you to eventually focus will allow you to get it all done. It could be running, going to your favorite coffee shop or calling your mom. You will be thankful you have that escape.
Remember that you won’t be in college forever. It may seem like the semester takes forever but sooner than you know it you will be going into your final year of school.
Make your advisor your best friend. They are going to be the person that helps you graduate on time or tell you about the cool new classes. Don’t be afraid to tell your advisor the cool programs you want to do and have them help you figure out how to fit it into your road map. Graduating on time may be your goal (or your parents) but there are some things you can only do while you’re in college (like studying abroad).
MAKE GOALS. I cannot stress this enough. During the first weekend of college, make goals for the things you want to accomplish during your four years (or more) in school. It could be finishing a twenty-piece nugget meal by yourself or staying in the library for 24 hours straight or studying in Geneva for a semester, whatever it is write it down somewhere that you can refer to.
Do something productive during the summer. An internship, a part-time job, studying abroad or summer classes but if you do something during the summer you will thank yourself during the school year. You aren’t going to benefit from doing nothing for three months.
Join activities, it is the best way to meet people you have something in common with. There are so many organizations at Kent that you can’t go wrong with any of them and it is a great way to get to know other people and have familiar faces on campus.
Don’t be afraid to go home. Too many people their first semester are either very homesick or really avoiding going home. If you are able to go home for a weekend, do it. Often times you’ll see the different lifestyle between your life at school at home and appreciate the differences. I wouldn’t recommend going home every week because you will miss out on a lot but if you’re feeling homesick, don’t feel like you can’t go home, but make sure you come back.
One of the things that has helped me through college has been finding mentors. Find a student mentor, they will help you know what classes to schedule when and which professor may be tougher than another. Find faculty mentors, they will teach you lessons everyday outside the classroom.
My last piece of advice is ask for help when you need it. College is a difficult time and it is very different from real life. You will have times that you are up all night or sleep all day. It will be different from what you have experienced and that is okay. But if you need help in class, ask for it. If you need help mentally, ask for it. If you need help adjusting, ask for it. There are so many people at college that can help you like RA’s, advisors or faculty members. You are not alone in this strange experience.
Remember, very few decisions are permanent; you can always fix your mistakes. Don’t be afraid to take risks and be different.