Greetings freshman. I know it feels kind of overwhelming: lots of new people, the wide open spaces, the sound of your footsteps in unfamiliar halls, the self-assured college students milling around. You wonder if you will fit in, or even survive your first semester, or even your first month! Relax, except for the very gifted few, most freshmen feel as you do. I did too, when I first started.
College life is what you make of it. This may take some time in getting used to because you have been accustomed to the tight-knit community in high school and all its rules. In college, you start becoming the person you want yourself to be.
Know what you want.
Now that you know you can be whatever or whoever you want to be, let me put in some reminders. Before you even enter your classroom the first day, try to know yourself. Take stock of the things important to you and remember your reasons for going to college. I say this because it is very easy to lose sight of your goals when you come to realize you do have much freedom in your hands. It is so easy to party all night and cut classes, until the consequences hit you hard in the face. Knowing what you want make you more resistant to peer pressure and negative influences. It also helps you from making unfavorable comparisons with people whom you may see as better or lesser than yourself.
Your high school friends helped you through high school. Cultivating friendships in college also does that. Joining organizations and just being friendly are sure-fire way of making friends. It is good to have friends not only with those who belong to the same class as yours. This broadens your comfort zone. It feels nice to go to another building in another department and know that you have friends there. Friendships in college also add to your support system when you graduate.
Know the grounds.
While there are fewer rules, these are rules just the same. It will be good if you know what these are to avoid fines and penalties, or worse, red marks in your personal records. Be familiar with your college. Know the hidden spots and the nook and crannies and the places where you can buy cheap but great-tasting food, or the shops where you can buy used books or other great finds.
Do advance reading and ask questions. Unlike your high school teachers, most college professors leave the in-depth reading to the students with the assumption that the students are mature enough to study by themselves. Study daily and avoid cramming. It is not a good habit to cultivate in college. Nor is procrastination.
Welcome to college. This is a great place to be in. Call me when you need me.