- Eternal Flame
4 Things I Wish I Knew As a Freshman
By: Kara Villarreal
Image By: Kara Villarreal
College can be the best time of your life and also some of the most difficult years in your developmental years into adulthood. Freshman year is definitely a time of confusion, new opportunities, and new beginnings. As I now approach the end of my educational experience at WTAMU, I thought I would give some advice that I wish I knew as a freshman.
1. No one has it 100% figured out
When beginning college it may seem like everyone around you has their future figured out, but here’s a secret: no one knows what they’re doing. Everyone is just as nervous and confused as you are. I remember doing a tour of WTAMU as an incoming freshman and my tour guide was a soon to be graduate and I thought she was the coolest person ever, don’t get me wrong she was cool. However, I kept thinking she seemed like she had it all figured out and that was the kind of person I needed to be by the time I was in her position. Although now that I too am graduating I feel like I still don’t have it figured out and I don’t think I ever will, but isn’t that exciting! Life changes constantly and the best thing we can do is take it day by day. So, don’t put pressure on yourself to have everything figured out. The best advice I ever heard was “life is a journey, not a destination” which might sound corny but it's very true.
2. When it seems optional, go anyways
When you think about it many things are technically optional, whether it be class, lectures, extra credit opportunities, or even networking events. Everyone will tell you that networking is key to success and that is the truth! Here is a pro tip: Professors remember who the people are that actually show up and sometimes they consider that in a grade. Also, skipping class can easily become a bad habit and isn’t necessarily a tip for success. Being present in your classes and if you have the opportunity to go somewhere that involves networking, GO!
3. Join organizations… but not all of them
Joining student organizations was the most beneficial thing I ever did as a college student. It is a great way to build community and connect with other people who have similar interests. I am definitely guilty of being that person that walked through the org rally my freshman year and wrote my email down on everyone's sign-up sheet. However, if I am being fully transparent it was mainly because I wanted to flood my resume to prove I was involved while in college. It took me a good two years to figure out that was the wrong way to go about it. Overwhelming yourself, or stretching yourself too thin is an easy way to get burned out. You should definitely take into consideration what you’re passionate about. I recommend narrowing your choices down to what are closely related to your career field and your hobbies. With no hesitations I can say that my college experience was shaped by these organizations and the opportunities that came with them. Find two to three organizations and really allow yourself to dig in. You’ll get so much more out of them guaranteed. Remember, quality over quantity!
4. Your friend group may change a lot
For me, one of the biggest surprises about college was that, unlike high school friends, sometimes new friends in college only last for a few days, weeks, months, or a semester. I’ll be honest and say that at first, this felt really odd and uncomfortable for me. The fact that circumstances and classes change every semester means that your best friend or entire social circle may change right along with it and that’s okay. In fact, that’s normal. Of course, you’ll end up with a core group of friends eventually, but if they aren’t the people you met at orientation or your freshman year roommate, don’t worry– that’s totally normal. More than likely, your group of new friends will become more consistent during your second year in college. Use your freshman year as an opportunity to get to know as many different groups of people as possible.
I hope that whoever reads this can take something away from this advice and make the most of their freshman year!
Image By: Kara Villarreal