First semester of college

Reina Francisco is from a small city near Los Angeles, and she graduated from the California Academy of Math and Science with high honors. She enjoys spending time with her friends, doing volunteer work, and eating good food. She is currently a freshman at University of California, San Diego, majoring in psychology.

Many students fresh out of high school find the idea of college daunting. Nonetheless, it is a rite of passage in which many students choose to follow. Along the way, it would be helpful to have certain tips so that the transition from high school to college is much easier.
First of all, friends are life savers! This is something that may seem redundant to learn, but it is very important in college where you can feel buried beneath a heavy workload. It’s true that you don’t need to take as many classes in college as you do in high school, but the workload can still be gruesome. You have more time, but there’s more material for you to study. Social interaction helps when you feel the stress piling. They are natural stress relievers. You need to remember that the goal is to have a healthy balance between work and play. Friends make it a little easier when sometimes that balance tips to the work side.
Furthermore, learn to prioritize. Living in the dorms, especially, will make this particular task very difficult to do. You don’t want to do homework when you have roommates with which to spend time. For me, this was especially difficult because my suitemates and I became a tight-knit community. Everyone always wanted to go out to events or go exploring. Playtime is good, but you need to learn to set limits for yourself. That paper that’s due the next day needs to be done before you go to the mall. Time management is essential in college. You can be partying one day, then cramming the next day for a midterm. Learning to manage your time properly and prioritize will help you have a much smoother first semester. Though the first semester will have many bumps along the way as you accustom yourself to a new school and environment, managing your time will ease the transition.
Moreover, the first semester is like a trial run. You learn along the way what works for you and what does not. Use this time to find ways to improve yourself for the next semester. For example, if you took four classes the first time around and you found it to be too difficult, take only three classes next time. This brings me to another piece of advice: Start off easy the first semester. You need time to get used to the campus and learn what you are able to manage. There are tons of events and extracurricular activities to do on campus, so figure out what exactly you can handle before diving into the deep end with four classes, a sport, a sorority/fraternity, clubs, and no sleep.
Last but not least: The freshman 15 is real. Accept it. If you go to a huge campus like I do, walking everywhere slightly balances out the weight gain, but exercise is still important. No one tells you what to do in college. You are the one that needs to set times to go to the gym. You are the one that determines whether or not to eat a burger with fries and a shake or a salad with dressing on the side. Though it is difficult to do, maintaining a healthy diet will definitely help you combat that dreaded weight gain.
All in all, the freedom of college is fun, but know the downsides as well. This is the first time that you have to maintain yourself, not your parents. Have fun, but know that you are going there to study, too. You might as well take advantage of both sides of college life since you’re paying thousands of dollars for the experience as well as the education.

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