Starting The School Year Off Right



Megan Stewart currently works as an Associate Editor for Motor Trend Magazine. She recently graduated with her MFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. She received her BA in English and Creative Writing from Sweet Briar College. While completing her undergraduate degree, Megan was a copy editor for her college newspaper, The Voice, and worked two campus jobs. She loves writing, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.


Heading to college can be a pivotal point in any young woman’s life. For many, it’s the first time leaving home, traveling to a new city, and sometimes even a new state. For me, I wasn’t even 18 when I left sunny Southern California to head to Virginia. I didn’t know what to expect when I got there, and as a student athlete, we had to arrive a week early. We did the typical team bonding, met our roommates, and geared up for the school year.


It was during the first week of classes that I learned a valuable lesson: the importance of planning ahead.


When you’re a student athlete, your time is very limited. You need to schedule time for meals, practices, traveling for games and tournaments, classes, conditioning, homework, studying, and if you are like me, a campus job. The first week was overwhelming, and I lost track of everything.  After going two weeks like this, I learned lesson number two: asking for help.


I reached out to a member on my team, who was one of the most organized people I ever met. She bought me a day planner, and went over my schedule with me to figure out how to stay on top of everything. It took a while, but we came up with a game plan that seemed to work, and for the rest of the semester, I managed to handle it all. Granted, my workload was easy with only 12 units—or four classes—but when learning to handle everything yourself, sometimes you need a break here and there.


I know not everyone is planning on being a student athlete, especially before they’ve got a grasp on the whole college thing, but these two lessons are valid either way. When you have so many things going on, it’s important to prioritize your activities to make sure everything fits into your schedule. As a freshman, there will be an array of clubs, activities, sports, sororities, and more vying for your attention. It’s up to you to make sure you keep up with everything, and if something is just too much, it’s OK to drop something. Let’s just hope it isn’t a class.


When heading to college, it symbolizes a step toward independence, and asking for help can seem like a step back. Most college freshman are at least 18 and considered adults, capable of making their own decisions and dealing with everything themselves. But sometimes, the true strength comes from asking for a helping hand. We can’t always do everything for ourselves, and it’s better to seek the advice of someone who has been in a similar situation to what you’re going through before letting yourself get overwhelmed.


My advice for all incoming college freshmen is to simply don’t take on too much at once. Start slow, and when you know how much you can handle, add a club here, a group there. Having time to yourself to just lounge around or enjoy your social life is also part of the college experience. Don’t burn out before you begin!



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