Everyone dreams of their firsts.  Whether it is their child’s first birthday, the first day of kindergarten, the first day of work and not to mention, the first day of college. Starting college is one of the biggest milestones to be crossed in the life of any individual and, quite frankly, I saw it as the start of the future in terms of my career and the beginning of my journey of finding myself and a sense of direction. The first day of college, however, is very different from the remaining 2-4 years of college (depending on the length of your program). The first week, without doubt, is the least intense part of the semester. Students are motivated and make goals that seem achievable at the beginning but life gets tough and they get overwhelmed, and by the end of the semester, they are drained and just want it to be over. My memory plays a lot of funky games with me and most times, I find it hard to remember a lot of things from the past but one thing that still lingers is my first day of college. Oh, was I nervous! I looked forward to this day since I graduated from high school but since I graduated super early, I decided to give myself a gap year. At 17, I started to anticipate college even more because I was so close to an experience that would change my life forever. I watched a whole lot of YouTube videos that I hoped would show me a glimpse of what college was like. I looked for studying and time management tips that I believed would get me through my first semester or at least my first week. Full disclosure, I may have gone a bit overboard with the youtube hauls on “what materials you need for freshmen year” spoiler alert, I didn’t need half of the stuff I got.

As a sophomore, I feel like I have some tips that I believe helped me through my first year. Now, I was not a perfect freshman. I made mistakes, I cried a whole lot, but it never stopped me from seeing my goals through to the end. As a shy person who is directionally challenged, I have a tip for those of you that might be in the same boat that I’m in; you should find a buddy who knows the ropes of the school because it can be hard asking strangers in the hallway. I know everyone says “do not have too many friends”, or maybe it’s just me that says that, but friends can be really helpful in college. Another tip I have for you is, make friends, because you’ll need them when the semester is in full gear. With that in mind, you should make friends that bring out the best in you. My third tip for you guys is; do not be afraid to ask for help after class, bear it in mind that the teaching and administrative staff have your best interests in mind. I honestly never understood anything during my biology lecture but, I didn’t let that discourage me. I visited the tutoring center every day (i wish I was exaggerating). I am a testament to the effectiveness of it. Also, as mentioned earlier, the first semester can be rough, so take this friendly advice; do not put yourself through the stress of checking “rate my professor”. Most students go on rate my professor and create false ratings because they are mad about their grades and most times, their ratings are not accurate and they will just give you unneeded anxiety.

On a final note, take it from me Y’all, of all the tips that I have given so far, the most important one I can give is, chill and take each day as it comes. Try your best not to slack off or procrastinate. Work on time management and your organization skills and do not think that a 4.0 GPA is unattainable. Here’s one for my fellow international students, I know and have been through everything you are going through. Your thoughts (in a weird way), your fears, your hopes, and goals. I’m right here with you. it may seem hard but there are tutors and counselors that can help with academics, course selection and even finding a job. Trust me, I have been through it all and it will get better.

In conclusion, do not forget to take every opportunity that comes your way and utilize it because YOLO in the sense that academics are important but your mental health is also important. It might seem impossible but try not to stress, go out with friends, use the gym, go swimming and most importantly, eat. Luckily, there’s a new Barnes and nobles cafe in the bookstore, so knock yourself out. I wish you guys the best of luck and I look forward to communicating with you guys.