How to survive college: a guide for incoming freshmen


Photo courtesy of Francesca Moore.

WCHS Class of 2018 alumna Francesca Moore and her friends attended a football game at Coastal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

By Allison Jacobs, Assistant News Editor

The thought of college can be scary for students of any age, especially since many do not know what to expect. College is supposed to be an amazing experience that gives young adults the chance to become independent, choose a career path and have fun, but it is also a lot to handle.
The first semester of college can be especially hard, as it is the transition from high school and home, to college and self-sufficiency. To help out with the stress, The Observer has put together a guide to figuring out college.
1. It is ok to feel a little out of place.
As new college freshmen, everyone is trying to find their place in school and make friends. Despite Greek life, sports, theater and other social groups, it can still be hard to find a place.
“When you are coming from a solid friend group back home, it can be difficult to meet new people,” Ohio State University freshman and WCHS alumnus Ben Dross said.
While the transition may feel uncomfortable or scary, it is normal to feel out of place or homesick. In fact, the majority of the freshmen students will all feel scared from time to time, and it is ok.
“I’ve had doubts about my school and at some points, I’ve looked into transferring,” Coastal Carolina University freshman and WCHS alumna Francesca Moore said. “Everything happens for a reason and wherever you end up after high school is where you belong.”
Many students tend to get wrapped up in trying to create a perfect plan in hopes that it will make college seem less scary, but in reality it can make the experience worse. If things do not go according to the “perfect plan” the student has, it can end up stressing them out even more. This plan can include anything from where they are involved in Greek life to what to have for breakfast each day. Just go with the flow and do not freak out if things are not exactly what was expected.
“It is impossible to predict the future, so do not go into school with a master plan because there is zero chance that it will stick together,” Dross said.
2. Manage time and stay organized.
A lot goes on in the first semester at college. There are classes to get to, big tests and quizzes, parties, rushing and about a thousand other things that have to get done, which is why it is important to stay organized.
“Buy a planner and use it; you will not realize how fast you get busy,” Moore said. “Make your bed and clean your room every morning after you wake up; there is nothing worse than studying all day and coming home to your messy dorm room.”
Time management is really important in college. Keeping note of when everything is due or when major tests and quizzes are is crucial, since professors are not telling the class about everything that must be done and there are only a few major grades that could affect the final GPA. Time management is also key when it comes to making plans. The best thing to do is find a balance where there is time to do work and study hard, but still hang out with friends.
“You get more free time and if you manage it well, it allows you to find a good balance between school and your friends and really embrace that,” Dross said.
3. Enjoy the new freedom.
As a student in high school, many choices are decided by counselors or graduation requirements. As a college student, however, there is now the choice to make personalized choices and do what the student wants, so use that as an advantage. This is the time to find out one’s likes and dislikes, especially since this will influence a future career decision. Take classes that are interesting because there is finally a choice to do so; it is all about finding out what works best for the student.
“The best thing about college is the freedom,” Dross said. “They really let you go at your own pace in classes and tailor a schedule to your liking.”
Go out on Friday nights, hang out with friends on Tuesdays and enjoy the new independence. These are the days that will be remembered for the rest of life.
“Besides the parties, tailgates and all other social events, the best thing about college is finally being able to study what I am interested in,” Moore said.
4. Do not cut class and slack off.
Many students go into college thinking that class is an option and attendance is not mandatory, but that is definitely not the case. Missing class can put a student far behind and make catching up much harder; some professors even calculate attendance into final grades.
“One big misconception is that it is cool or easy to miss class,” Moore said. “In college, missing a class will take forever to catch back up.
It’s important to keep up with homework and studying. By staying up to date with all of the work and studying, it will make school a lot less stressful.
“In most of my classes it was up to you to do the homework every night, which, at times, was about 50 pages of textbook reading, so it’s extremely important not to fall behind,” Moore said.
While the idea of leaving home and going to a new place alone can be intimidating, remember that college can be great. Stay on top of school work and manage time well. Most importantly, have fun. College is a once in a lifetime experience, so remember to make the most of it.