Freshman year is full of so many emotions. From excitement about meeting new friends and joy about freedom from your parents oppression, to being nervous about challenging college courses and maybe even a little intimidated from being away from home for the first time in your life. With all of these emotions running through your head as you begin your first year of college, I have a few tips to help you get through the year.
1. Get Involved
I know this is a very cliche tip that you’ve already heard from your parents, grandparents, friends, siblings, parents’ friends, friends’ parents… you get the point. However, this is one piece of advice that I believe is most important, both socially and academically. The good news is that you are already on the right track since you’re reading this! It means that you’ve taken steps to research what it is out there to help you apply yourself and advance within your major. During my freshman year, I joined PRSSA and applied for a position in GrandPR. I obtained the position of Event and Coordinating Director by the grace of God because my interview didn’t go too hot as I was very inexperienced. I was also on an intramural soccer team. These clubs and organizations helped me to better understand the PR field; make connections with classmates, professors, and professionals; and gave me something that looks really good on a resume. So go join a club, attend an event, reach out to a professional, or anything else that goes beyond sitting in the classroom. These are the only things that separate you from your classmates sitting next to you.
2. Be More Than Present
I know that classes can be boring, days too long, and stress overwhelming. However, if you want to be successful during your time here, then you have to participate. Engage in class discussions, ask questions, take notes and research things that may be confusing to you. These are all things that will help you stand out from others and give you more confidence moving forward. During my freshman year in PRSSA, I DID NOT participate. I would come in, sit down, listen to the speaker, jot down a few notes, and leave when the meeting ended. However, even just doing taught me so much more about my field than any class could have. Imagine what could happen when you’re arriving early to network with professionals, going on agency tours, engaging in Twitter social chats, attending the national conference, and so much more. By being active in all of your activities that you participate in, I guarantee you will be further ahead than the ones who simply do the bare minimum.
3. Okay, Now Go Have Some Fun
Remember that college is supposed to be fun; it’s not all about getting good grades and building a resume. You also need to experience life a little bit. So yes, go to some parties (no underage drinking, of course)! Also remember that you chose what career path and major to pursue, so it should be something that you are excited about. So enjoy your classes! If you focus on the material you are actually learning and not on the assignments that you have to do for homework, it can make the classes much more interesting and exciting. Get out of your small and cramped dorm room, go to the football games, bond with your roommates, and enjoy the freedom you have to do what you want. College is the place where you will make some of your best memories, closest friends, and biggest regrets. Do not let these short four years of your life go by without making a few good memories along the way.
Freshman year can be very overwhelming, but I hope that these tips help you feel a little more at ease. Just remember to try your hardest in everything that you pursue and don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone. As Neale Donald Walsch says, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Try new things, push yourself, and have fun while doing it! Work hard, play hard my friends.
Brooklyn Wilson is a Sophomore at Grand Valley State University majoring in Advertising and Public Relations with an emphasis in Public Relations. Brooklyn is the Event and Coordinating Director for GrandPR and a member of PRSSA. She is excited to apply her skills within the health and wellness industry upon graduation. In her free time, you can find Brooklyn working out, listening to music, and watching Fixer Upper.