Four Things I Wish I Knew My Freshman Year

My name is Rachel Osman, and I am a recent graduate of Indiana University’s School of Journalism. While in school, I was an editor for my campus newspaper and a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. Currently, I live and work in the media industry in New York City.

While many people choose to go to college in their in home state, I chose a school that was 2,000 miles away from where I grew up. Not only did I have to deal with the harsh reality of living on my own for the first time, but I also had to do it across the country from everything I knew. My freshman year had many ups and downs. Looking back, here are four things I wish I knew:

1. Don’t wait to get involved.
I hesitated to get involved in campus organizations my freshman year because I wanted to take my time adjusting to college life. I wanted to focus on school and not be distracted by outside activities. Now I wish I wouldn’t have waited so long to get involved. Joining a campus group is a great way to foster connections and make a big school feel small. Depending on the type of activity you join, it can also look great on your resume and give you invaluable leadership experience.

2. Make connections with professors.
You know those people that always sit in the front of the class and raise their hand to answer every question? I was not one of those people. I much preferred to sit in the back and only communicate with professors when it was absolutely necessary. If you’re like me, it will be difficult to get to know and form relationships with faculty. However, befriending a professor in your major or desired career field is one of the best things you can do in your undergraduate career. Professors can provide great advice and even recommend you for jobs. So although you might be tempted to sit in the back of every class on your laptop, make the effort to sit up front. Be involved, ask questions and go to office hours. It will not only improve your grades, but will probably benefit your future as well.

3. College is nothing like high school.
I got very good grades in high school, so when I went to college, I expected to get easy A’s. For the first time in my life, I actually had to work hard to do well in classes. When I was struggling to pass a difficult math class, I realized that not everything I do is going to be perfect. As long as you try your best, that’s all you can ask of yourself. You’re going to succeed in some areas more than others, but that’s just the nature of life.

4. You are not alone.
By the looks of Facebook and Instagram profiles, it seems like everyone has the time of their life in college. Your newsfeed is probably filled with pictures of people partying with all of their friends. It’s important to realize that people only share the good parts of their life on social media. Everyone has struggles, especially freshmen year. Being away from family, making new friends and balancing academic schedules isn’t easy for anyone. It’s okay to have struggles and even feel lost. You are definitely not alone.

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