How to Survive Freshman Year

By Gigi Protasiewicz

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Going through freshman year I’ve had countless late nights, long days, essays to write, tests to study for, and other assignments and projects to juggle. In doing so, I have learned a few things about what strategies do and don’t work, and thus I now feel as if I am (partially) qualified to offer my own suggestions for success in freshman year.

Be organized.

This may seem like an extremely vague suggestion, but it is also very important. By “staying organized”, I mean keeping track of your homework, tests, and quizzes, and keeping your backpack and locker somewhat clean. It may not seem to matter at all whether or not your locker is clean, however it can be very embarrassing to have your locker collapse, spilling out into the hallway, when there are dozens of people trying to get to class. Also, it is very helpful to keep an organized agenda, with all of your homework and assessments written in (there’s nothing worse than finding out in the morning that you have a vocabulary test about which you were previously unaware). Keeping organized also extends to keeping all of your school supplies and books organized. It is always a good idea to know where all of your stuff is so you’re not scrambling to find your assignments at the last minute. At the very least, endeavor to keep the freshman table cleaner than an active nuclear waste disposal facility (something with which this year’s freshman class has had a fair bit of difficulty).

Eat breakfast.

Although it is certainly easy to excuse not eating breakfast  (“I’ll just get something during lab. That’s barely even two hours away from now!), skipping breakfast is certainly something that you will regret later in the morning. After all, it is definitely much harder to focus in class when all you can think is “bagel bagel bagel”. So, in the long-term interest of your academic career, grab something to eat, whether it is oatmeal, some fruit, or a bagel. Simply having something in your stomach will allow you to focus more easily, help you get better grades, and improve your mood throughout the whole school day. It can also save you money; eating early in the day might eliminate the need for you to compulsively go to the Brown Bag. While it may not be the first thing on your mind when you are running late in the morning, eating (or not eating) breakfast can have a huge impact on your day.

Don’t procrastinate.

This is probably one of the most important suggestions, and it is even more relevant in freshman year than it is in middle school. Especially for big projects like the history research papers, it is a lot easier to get it done in small increments, instead of all at once, the night before. In addition, it is just a lot of stress to put off working on something until the last minute. Moreover, when you are working on a rough draft of a paper at 1 AM, you are way more likely to not produce your best work and just give up and write a really bad paper. A better strategy is to write a little bit of an essay (or whatever you are assigned) every day, ensuring that you at least have something to work with by the night before it is due. Even though it may seem excruciating and a pointless waste of time, working ahead (or just not falling behind) will make you have less stress and better grades.

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