lysa-85It’s amazing how time flies. Looking back on this past year, I remember how homesick I was at first, until I was truly able to find my place at Williams. This year has been full of discovering not only life as a college student, but who I truly am as an individual.

Although leaving Williams has been bittersweet, I’m excited for summer. I will be interning at two pediatric offices throughout the summer, and working for a local business. I am excited to return to Williams as a sophomore in the fall, and I’m ready start my second year off right, knowing what I know now about college. As this year comes to an end, I’ve reminisced about my own experiences and what truly made my freshman year unforgettable. I’d like to share my top 5 pieces of advice that have truly helped me along during my first year:

  1. Get to know your roommate and others in your residence hall. The people you live with, most of whom are going through similar experiences and emotions, are your main safety net — not only this year, but for all your years. You may change roommates after the first semester or you may stay roommates for all four years — just take the time to get to know your fellow first-year students. I didn’t do this at first, and it made adjusting that much harder for me.
  2. Find the ideal place for you to study. It may be your dorm room or someone where no one can find you in the library, but find a place that works best for you to get your work actually done. It is important to avoid all potential distractions, such as rooms with televisions in them, your roommates, and anywhere facebook and email can be accessed (from my own experiences).
  3. Get Organized. In high school, the teachers tend to lead you through all the homework and due dates. In college, the professors post the assignments (often for the entire semester) and expect you to be prepared. Buy an organizer, a PDA, a big wall calendar — whatever it takes for you to know when assignments are due. I distinctly remember two occasions when I was running across campus to turn in an assignment that was late, which was not a good experience. You cannot procrastinate in college, because eventually you will just have too much work and reading to catch up on that you will have to sacrifice certain assignments for others, which is not a good option!
  4. Go to class. Obvious, right? Maybe, but sleeping in and skipping that 8 am class will be tempting at times. Avoid the temptation. Besides learning the material by attending classes, you’ll also receive vital information from the professors about what to expect on tests, changes in due dates, etc. I even had a professor give me extra credit once for those who attended class; go figure!
  5. Get involved on campus. A big problem for a lot of new students is a combination of homesickness and a feeling of not quite belonging. To avoid this, consider joining some groups, but be careful not to go overboard. You’ll make new friends, learn new skills, and feel more connected to your school in the long run!

MOST IMPORTANTLY, make sure that you are truly in the right place. Some colleges just aren’t for everyone. Maybe you didn’t realize it before, but you do now. That’s okay! Don’t spend four years of your life miserable because you’re too nervous to do anything about it! It’s your life!