As a senior at studying English at the University of Minnesota, Morris I’ve realized I’ve learned a thing or two about what’s it’s actually like to be in college. This is not to say that I have everything figured out–I’m still learning. Two years ago, I learned that the dorm I’m living in has a small elevator, for instance. That kind of blew my mind.
1. You get to decide.
This is something that I had to learn gradually, like riding a bike. As a freshman, I distinctly remember calling my Mom to ask her on a Friday night whether or not I should A) start doing my homework or B) watch a movie with some floor-mates. While I’ve since learned that I can choose when to go eat supper, or when I’m going to actually do my laundry, I still will call home for advice.
2. Call home. (Or Skype, Facebook message, etc.)
For me, I find that calling up my Mom, or dialing our home phone–we’re still rocking the landline!–just to visit about my day is extremely helpful. Hearing my Mom’s voice, or my Dad’s, or my little sister’s calms me down and cheers me up when I’m feeling stressed about my homework. Even if you’re the kind of person that doesn’t need (or feel like) contacting your family every few days, you should try to talk to them maybe every few weeks, or a once a month. If you don’t want to call your parents, call a friend. Either way, you’ll get good vibes.
College is not like high school. I’m not saying that high school isn’t challenging, I’m just saying that college has a different atmosphere compared to high school. There are some excellent schools out there, and depending on which one you’re attending, there’s going to be homework. While your workload varies from class to class, major to major, you will be challenged. You’ll come across words in a textbook (or a novel for your English lit. course) that you’ve never seen in your life. That can be an eye-opening experience. College is fun, it’s true, but it is important that you finish that reading. Because, if you don’t, you’ll feel a little lost the next day in class. (And you don’t want to mentally freak out if your professor calls on you.)
Let’s just say that you’ll feel good if you’re prepared.
4. Join a Club
I’ll be honest: I was shy and nervous as a freshman. While a few people from my high school came to Morris, the majority of people on campus were new faces to me. Somehow, I went with two of the girls from my floor to a club fair. Upon finding a group called Floating World, which I learned was a writing group, I eagerly signed up. The first night at my poetry group, I was anxious because I had no idea what to expect–even though the group was informal and completely relaxed.
Over time, I grew to love my poetry group. I developed strong friendships that have lasted to this day. Find a club (or clubs) that you’re interested in, and go for it!
Wishing you all a fantastic college experience,