How to make the first year of college the best

Anthony Strominger, Staff Writer


As college creeps closer for many Milford seniors, some may be unsure as to how to make the best of their freshman year and beyond. The transition from high school to college can definitely be a struggle, as students face living on their own, different schedules every day and sometimes being far away from friends and family.  In order to help with this very challenging transition, here are various tips that should make this process easier: Academics is obviously a good place to start since that is the primary reason  students go to college in the first place. As such, it is important to make your classes the top priority.

In fact, according to Psychology Today, the most successful students employ this method. It may be helpful to think of your classes as the foundation of the college experience – if it is not strong enough, your entire college life may fall apart.

A crucial part of this is attending class every day it is scheduled. Although it may be tempting to sleep in an extra hour or two or hang out more with your friends, this easy idea is far from the best.

However, simply just being in class is probably not enough. Rutgers University professor Mark Beal strongly suggests that one should be an active participant, whether that be taking notes, asking questions or stopping in during office hours. Lectures, however, are only a part of the college academic experience.

The truth is that you will likely have more work to do outside of class than you are used to in high school. As such, making a schedule, resisting procrastination and working ahead will be just as important, if not more important than in high school due to the increased independence that comes with the college experience.

Alternatively, if you have a method that makes you the most productive you can be – take it with you! Not only that, but if you have not been studying much for tests and exams throughout high school, consider changing that habit because the material will only get more and more challenging.

If you are still struggling, the next logical step would be to ask for help, whether that be from a professor, tutor or even another student. Do not be afraid to ask a professor for assistance; they are there to help you. However, it is definitely a good idea to get other students involved if you still have questions. Even if you think you know the material, try teaching it to someone else!

Although it may be common knowledge, Nitro College asserts that teaching someone material not only helps them better understand it, but it may also help you better understand it as well. Even simply joining a class group chat is definitely a step in the right direction, as not only will you get help from other students, but it may also help you form meaningful relationships with them. This happens to be another crucial part of getting acclimated to your college environment.

By far the easiest way to meet new people at college is to join an intramural of some sort. It does not have to be a sports team; In fact, all you have to do is just find any sort of club that matches your interests.

According to Grand Valley State University political science professor Michelle Miller-Adams, people engaged in extracurriculars, working a campus job or just in a college group are less likely to drop out and more likely to graduate on time.

Another easy way is just getting to know people in your dorm. More than likely, you will meet quite a few friends you will have later in life during your time at college, whether that be in your dorm, lecture hall or extracurricular activities (Psychology Today).

It is also important to find people with similar attitudes and beliefs as you, according to Harvard admissions interviewer Tammy Huang.

She recommends forming a small, and more importantly, positive support group to help you through any bumps in the road to a college degree.

Overall, it is important to know that adjusting to the expectations of the college environment will involve changes to the way you approach your academics and social life. Although it may seem scary, remember that it will most likely be temporary, and hopefully feelings of independence and fun will rush in to replace it.

Lecture halls, such as the one shown above, are commonplace among many colleges. They can be many times bigger than the usual classroom here at Milford (Photo courtesy of Alamy).