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Things I Wish I Had Done My Freshman Year

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The first year of college is such a whirlwind. It’s this incredible blend of balancing daunting classes, creating healthy habits and filling your social calendar — while still finding time to eat and sleep. I know firsthand how easy it is to get carried away in certain aspects of college life, and there are many tips that 20-something me would like to tell 18-year-old me. Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, these tips could help you make the most out of your college experience.

1. Find a mentor

Whether it is an older student or a faculty member, finding a mentor is an invaluable part of the college experience. Having a mentor is like having a big brother or sister away from home. He or she can help you navigate your new surroundings and help you feel secure about the new journey you’re embarking upon. If I had taken the opportunity to have a mentor, I might have developed better study habits, networked with powerful people or, at the very least, had a helping hand throughout my college career.

2. Take advantage of group fitness classes

College is a very stressful time, and exercise can be a great way to reduce anxiety and boost your health; but working out alone can be uninspiring. Try a group fitness class at the Activity Center or at the local gym to shake up your fitness routine. Plus, you can avoid the “Freshman 15” while making new friends! I didn’t take advantage of group fitness classes until I was a senior, and they were so much fun I regretted not going to them sooner.

3. Get involved off campus

People are always telling you the importance of getting involved on campus, and they’re not wrong; but finding your niche off campus is just as important. Whether it’s joining a rec softball league or finding a church, getting involved in your college town will give you lessons and experience you can’t learn in school. When I was a sophomore, I began volunteering at my local animal shelter. This type of work was not only fun, but also it taught me a lot about care and responsibility that I just couldn’t learn inside a classroom.

4. Stick to your study schedule

There is so much going on and off campus that it's easy to get tied up in other events. But if you don't study, your time in college will all have been for naught. Don’t forget why you’re in college. The shenanigans and the parties are great, but if you don’t graduate, you’ll feel awfully silly for wasting time you could have spent bettering yourself academically. In my experience, there is no feeling worse than when I wasn’t prepared for a test because I was goofing off the night before.

5. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the journey

Like Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” College is a time of great change and excitement — but don’t forget to look around and enjoy everything that’s going on around you! Appreciate your experiences as they come, good and bad. Looking back on it, you’ll be glad you did.

Kelcey Piper

Kelcey's experience extends from search-engine marketing strategy to HTML, to social media management. Kelcey got her BBA in Marketing from Baylor University and is now proud to be a Comet at UT Dallas. Read more articles

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