Dear Incoming Freshman,
First of all congratulations, you made it through high school, and now you are about to embark on a new journey to college. There are many who did it before you, and still, they will be others after you, but it is still a milestone that you should be proud of. However, what you need to know is that college is still part of the journey to help you reach your destination- the dream job, achieving your goals, and also helping you fulfill your purpose. I am writing to you, to provide you with a few pointers that will help you in your college life. Mine is just a guide to help you as you sail towards your graduation.
Your first day (s) on campus will be both exciting and terrifying. Exciting because you are gaining freedom and independence that you have never had before. You will be able to make most of the decisions on your own. However, it is terrifying because you will have no one (at least most of the time) to check you when you make poor decisions or to monitor you (Branand et al., 2015). Embrace this new experience, and try to adapt to the new environment as quickly as possible. Attend things such as student orientation, and matriculation to know more about the school, and how it functions. You will get a better feel for the campus life by being involved. This means volunteering in various organizations of your interest or finding work in one of the campus organizations.
Remember your main purpose on campus. Study hard, attend at least two-thirds of your classes, complete your assignments on time, and get to know some of the professors in your course. Be ready to be challenged by your professors and rigorous coursework. The good side to this is that it will expand your knowledge level, and help in honing your skills for your job career (Hardre & Hackete, 2015). Professors can mentor you, and they have more knowledge and experience in the industry that you are learning about, and will probably work in after you graduate. They can help you build networks in that industry, recommend you for internships, and even jobs (you may not have to tarmac to search for jobs if you be-friend on or two of your professors). Therefore, it is important to form positive relationships with at least one or two of your professors in college.
Make new friends on campus. You probably thought that you were going to remain close to the friends you made in your neighborhood and high school, well, you were wrong. Distance and other commitments will make you interact less, and you will probably lose touch with one another. You may feel sad at the moment, but you will probably get over it. Time heals everything, and you will probably make better and more permanent friends on campus since you will likely work in the same or similar fields (Lewin, 2014). If it makes you feel better, they will also make new friends wherever they are. Making new friends will help you cope with campus life, and reduce homesickness (you need that independence). However, I cannot stress this enough, make friends who will add value to your life. This means people who will encourage, and push you to become a better version of yourself. If you feel that someone is a negative influence, drop him or her, do not go down a slippery path just to please an individual.
I have to remind you that, although you will have limitless freedom, unfortunately, or fortunately you will have limited resources. However, this should not put you down as it can be an opportunity in disguise. Try to find some form of employment, especially on the school campus. Although the pay will not be great, campus employment can provide you with a platform to make connections and even new friends in college. You may find seniors in the course that you are undertaking in such organizations who may help you with some of the textbooks that you will use (saving your financial costs). They may also help you to know the tendencies and how to interact with various professors who will teach you, and the challenges that they have experienced while undertaking that course (Madson et al., 2016). In addition to that, finding the right student employment means that you will have working experience, which you can add to your resume, giving you a competitive advantage over your course-mates when looking for internships and jobs in future.
Lastly, have fun on campus. Take advantage of your freedom and independence to go to parties from time to time. Take some of the girls that you are interested in on a date. Get to know them, before settling on one. Life can be lonely on campus if you do not have someone to share your intimacy, and also people will make fun of you. Word of caution, be ready for some break-ups and rejections, it is part of life and will make you grow as a young adult. Also, I would advise you to experiment. Take a few drugs, just make sure that they are legal, and know your poison, and limits. You are a grown up and it is legal to drink alcohol, just do not overdo it- dont try to be a beer pong champion. Know this, your college life will provide you with some of the best memories, therefore making them. You may not want to hear this now, but, I know you will make mistakes from time to time, and you will need my advice. Dont hesitate to call, I probably did worse than you, but that is a story for another day, and before I forget, I LOVE YOU ALWAYS.
Best of luck as you embark on your college career,
Branand, B., Masheck, D., Wray-Lake, L., & Coffey, J. K. (2015). Inclusion of College Community in the Self: A Longitudinal Study of the Role of Self-Expansion in Students Satisfaction. Journal of College Student Development, 56(8), 829-44.
Hardre, P. L., & Hackete, S. (2015). Beyond instrumentation: redesigning measures and methods for evaluating the graduate college experience. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 27(3), 223-51.
Lewin, T. (2014, April 11). What Makes a Positive College Experience? New York Times [New York].
Madson, M. B., Villarosa, M. C., Schumacher, J. A., & Mohn, R. S. (2016). Evaluating the Validity of the Client Evaluation of Motivational Interviewing Scale in a Brief Motivational Intervention for College Student Drinkers. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 65, 51-57. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2016.02.001
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