Well this isn’t bad at all….I’ll go to my classes, work out at the gym, attend one of my club meetings, grab something to eat with friends, come back to my dorm to finish my latest Netflix addiction, and get a good night’s sleep. This doesn’t feel like college. My older friends had always told me that there was so much more freedom than you would expect in college. I have realized how true this statement is, especially during the first few weeks of the semester. I would urge first generation college students to get involved as much as possible during these crucial first few weeks because you have the extra time to do so. The University of Virginia holds an activities fair as most colleges do in the beginning of the year. I signed up for over twenty clubs, knowing that it would be impossible to truly keep up with all of them. However, during my first few weeks, I was able to go to interest meetings and test out the clubs. This gave me the opportunity and time to weed out the ones I wouldn’t have space for and narrow my list down to a select few.

The honeymoon period at the beginning of the semester is a nice transition from summer or winter break into the school year. It gives you time to settle into college life, make new friends, and set a schedule (and possibly devour a whole series on Netflix like I did). Sadly, the honeymoon period is over. The overwhelming newness is evolving into normalness. Last week I had a midterm and two research papers due, my first real introduction to college. It seems like workloads come in groups and there are good weeks and bad weeks. Enjoy your good weeks and even during the bad weeks, realize that there are good days ahead.

I remember being stressed out all the time in high school. Taking eight classes each day almost inevitably led to a test everyday, but college is much different. For most of my classes, I have a few essays to write and a midterm and final to take. Therefore, it’s not stressful every day like high school, but there is a lot of pressure to do well for the midterms and finals because they make up a large percentage of your grade.

“Work hard, play hard” seems to be the motto of college. Make sure you put emphasis on the “work hard.” Messing up on one test is really going to negatively affect your grade. Work hard when the time comes so that you can appreciate the “play hard” aspect of college. The honeymoon period is the beginning of the semester and that has sadly ended. With that being said, there are certainly times throughout the year that seem like “mini” honeymoons. Enjoy these stress-free days whenever you can and realize that there is more to college than just studying, reading, and taking tests. It’s a life changing experience and I hope all you first generation college students make the most out of your four years!