Your freshman year of college is exciting, but it can also be terrifying. No one wants to get lost and be late for class or even worse: go into the wrong class and sit there for 15 minutes before realizing it. Three years later, I remember my first week and first year of college well, specifically the parts that made it somewhat of a failure and what made it successful. Here is what I learned:
Download the ETSU app on your smartphone — This app was a lifesaver the first few days I was on campus. There is an interactive map of campus on the app that will totally mask the fact you’re a lost, confused freshman.
Go to at least one of the Welcome Week organization fairs — Getting involved on campus is one of the keys to being successful during your next four years here.
At these fairs, you are sure to find something you’re interested in, whether that be campus ministry, Greek Life, a volunteer organization, the school newspaper, a political organization or something else. (Seriously, try to join at least one organization during your first week.)
Buy a planner — Even if you were able to keep everything organized in high school, college is a different and busier ball game. Keeping up with events and assignments in a planner will help you feel more organized.
It may also save you from getting a zero on a quiz in your online class because you forgot the online class even exists.
If the professor offers extra credit, do it, even if you don’t think you’ll need it — Professors notice who puts forth the most effort in their classes. When it comes final grade time, and you’ve completed every assignment, even the non-mandatory ones, you’re more likely to get your grade bumped up from an A- to an A.
Go to class — Sure, it is exciting when you have a professor that has a relaxed attendance policy — and trust me, I know how hard it is to make that 8:15 a.m. biology class — but those absences add up. If you get sick, you’re going to hate yourself for using three class days to sleep.
Check your email — I cannot stress this enough. This is how professors, financial aid, housing, major and minor advisers and other important university offices communicate important information to you.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help — College is hard for reasons relating to the coursework itself and students’ outlooks. Asking a professor for help or using a free tutor in the library does not make you stupid. Making an appointment in the counseling center in the D.P. Culp University Center doesn’ t make you weak. Your mental health is important and should come first.
Talk to your roommate about rules and boundaries — Even if you have known your roommate since the crib, still take time to discuss cleaning, visitation, noise, pet peeves and anything else that could lead to a fight.
It is OK to make a B or even a C — If you were a straight A student in high school, you may make a B or two in college. That is OK. It is impossible to be perfect and some classes are going to kick your butt. If you gave 110 percent, that’s all that matters.
Have fun, but be safe — Grown up decisions have grown up consequences.
Good luck! College is one of the only times in life when a 2 a.m. run to Cookout to get milkshakes is socially acceptable, so take advantage of it.