5 tips for college freshmen | The Creative Introvert’s Guide to College

Now that I am technically an upperclassmen in university, I feel I might know a bit about what it’s like to be a student.

The idea of leaving everything you know and love for the sake of your education is both petrifying and exciting, especially for the quiet, the shy, and the formerly homeschooled.

If you are a creative introvert, and getting ready to embark on the journey towards degree land, read on.

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1. Don’t freak out if a month has gone by, and you haven’t found your “group” yet.

You will notice that after freshmen orientation, everyone but you has a “group.” Don’t worry. By the spring semester, it is probable that most of them will be in completely different groups. Don’t feel like you are obligated to hang out with people you aren’t comfortable with just for the sake of not being alone. Be patient. Find people who are legitimately interested in who you are, and will be your real friends, not just lunch buddies. You’ll be ahead in the long run.

2. Buy a planner, and use it!

As an ex-homeschooler and creative-fickle-INFP, planning ahead goes against my very design. This makes a planner in college important to my welfare and sanity. My freshmen year, I thought I’d be perfectly fine without a planner. I would just check my syllabi and keep everything filed away in my brain. That was not smart. My freshmen year, while successful, was also rather stressful. I learned my lesson, got a planner, and use it everyday.

3. Keep your commitments.

Now that you are in college, your commitments are just that- your commitments. Your parents aren’t there to keep them for you, and people will not appreciate negligence. If you make a commitment, be it a meeting with a professor, or coffee with a friend, be there. Earn a reputation for being a person who can be counted on in the classroom and in life.

4. Don’t over-commit.

Here’s a little word picture for ya. It’s the first day of freshmen orientation. You are awkward, uncomfortable, and looking for acceptance. You attend a session about getting involved on campus. Suddenly you think your life will be over if you don’t commit to at least fifteen different clubs, organizations, and/or events. Remember what I said about keeping commitments? When you over-commit, there is no way that you will accomplish everything you need to. Remember the reason you are in college: the classes. Choose a few activities you know you will enjoy, and be able to really be invested in. There is a mentality most of us have as new students that the more we experience while in college, the better our experience will be. Personally, I’ve found that being able to invest in a few things that mean a lot to me has grown me as a person. The more you can put into each thing you are involved in, the richer your experience will be. Don’t spread yourself thin.

5. Chill out.

I remember before I went to college. College seemed like a big scary thing for adults. It would, of course, inevitably change the entire outcome of my life. It would be the most important thing I would ever do. Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little, but younger Lauren had a fairly grandiose idea of what college was. It was easy for me to think of what I would experience in college as a completely separate existence from the one I experienced at home. I found out very quickly that as terrifying as college sounds, it’s just life. Going to college is an awesome opportunity that we should all be grateful for, but we need to keep things in perspective. Think about where you want to be ten years after you graduate, and ask yourself what will matter then. Don’t get so caught up in your college life that you forget about what it’s supposed to be preparing you for. Use your time in college to propel you towards your goals, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

I think I’ll end it at that for today. What is some of your advice for new students? Leave it in the comments below!

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