Going into your first semester of Freshman year can be both exciting and overwhelming. There are so many new friends and great experiences awaiting you at college but also a completely foreign environment and rigorous demands on your time and energy. Sometimes the unfamiliarity can seem daunting.
Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to make the most out of your first year of college and avoid stressing about the workload.
1. Get a Semester Calendar
During the first day of classes, you can find semester calendars for free next to the faculty offices in the Barbara Hodel Center. Make sure you grab one quick, because they go fast! After the first week, you will have a basic idea of what your classes look like and have access to the syllabi. Use the calendar to make note of big due dates for your classes, so they don’t take you by surprise.
2. Get Familiar With Campus
PHC’s campus isn’t hard to navigate, but knowing where your classes are before they roll around helps to decrease stress on the first day. Be sure to ask your RA for help if you’re not sure where a classroom is or grab friends and walk around to find your classrooms the day before. That way you won’t get lost when it’s time to rush to class!
3. Don’t Over-Commit
College is a big adjustment, and that makes it easy to underestimate the amount of time and energy things take. Don’t let yourself make this mistake! Be careful how many classes and extracurriculars you sign up for. Remember that you need time to rest.
A good plan for freshmen year is to cap school courses at a few credits. The college catalog makes a clear plan for you so that you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll take the right courses to graduate. By avoiding taking on too many credits, you’re able to spend the necessary amount of time to thrive in your classes instead of doing the minimum amount of work to get by. Plus, exhausting yourself during freshman year will negatively impact the rest of your time at college. Set yourself up for success and maintain a manageable schedule.
4. Keep a Prayer List
College is a time of growth, both mentally and spiritually. The challenges you’ll face at PHC, the rich spiritual environment, and the close friendships you’ll have will mold you into a stronger and wiser person. A huge part of this is having time to invest in your spiritual life.
Keeping a prayer list can be helpful for keeping yourself accountable in your prayer life. It can be for friends, people in your church, the faculty, and yourself. Writing prayers down helps bring a permanence to those requests and are a great reminder to continuously come before God in prayer.
5. Balance School and Free Time
One of the hardest parts of college life is that every commitment can consume all of your time, if you let it. Whether it’s a hard class or a time-consuming extracurricular, there will always be something or someone demanding your time. Learning how to balance school, relationships, and extracurriculars is key to making the most out of freshman year.
One helpful tip is to ask yourself, “What is this worth to me?” Why are you doing it? How important is it to you? Will it help you grow in the long run? Take the time to evaluate your priorities and choose what to spend time on. You cannot do everything, so make wise decisions on what you want to spend your time doing.
Freshman year is a wonderful time of setting off into the great unknown to discover many things about yourself and what God has in store for you. It doesn’t have to be a white-knuckled race of survival. Hopefully these tips help you avoid merely surviving and instead, enable you to make the most out of your freshman year.
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