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  • Writer's pictureMarina Meisner

Preparing for Freshman Year at College:

You've applied, you've gotten in, and now you're preparing for your freshman year of college. Senior year held a lot of "lasts". Last day of school, last day of practice, last game, last AP class, etc. As this season comes to a close and you anticipate a new school year, you'll begin having new "firsts". First time living away from home, first time choosing your own schedule, and first day of college. Because I'm not too far removed from college, I remember my freshman year and my first week on campus like. I remember all of the nerves of going to a school in a different state and not knowing how to transition into being a college student. Now, I wish that I knew that as a freshman everything would be okay. Obviously, I can't time travel back to time, but I can reflect and share what I learned. 


Preparation Tips

Purchase items and/or pack things from your bedroom or home that will make you feel comfortable in your dorm room. If the last time you decorated your bedroom felt like years ago, take this opportunity to make your new college space the space that you've always wanted. Does that look like hanging string lights from the ceiling? What about a new comforter? Definitely bring your favorite pillow from home! 


Expect that there will be overwhelming moments of anxiety.  However, college is the perfect atmosphere to learn about perseverance and patience. Everyone experiences doubts and fears that can be debilitating. You can prepare for those moments by learning my favorite way to calm myself down by utilizing “box breathing”, paired with the “54321 method”, and then actually dance the anxieties out. “Box breathing”: breathe in for four counts, hold it for four counts, breathe out for four counts, hold for four counts, and repeat. “54321 technique”: find 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. “Dance it out”: put on your favorite happy song and dance and sing. 


Think through how you would like to create order and routines that will make your campus life manageable  For the first time of your life you will be on your own relying  on yourself to remember and manage your class schedule, homework due dates, sports practice/games, club meetings, and social events that you want to attend. So, start this summer by finding your favorite way to manage your schedule. I recommend that you purchase physical planner to keep in your bag, and find a calendar app for managing projects. Another great idea would be to purchase a whiteboard for your room. 


Finally, I recommend two tips that you can do during your first week at school or during move in. #1 Before classes start, walk around campus and find each of your classes, places to study, and to eat. This is a great way to become familiar with your campus and relieve some first day jitters. Take your roommate, suitemate, or a new friend as a way to get to know someone better and have fun! #2 Go to the Student Center to research one event to go to during your first few weeks of college. Depending on your school, this should be easy to find! Most schools hold different events for freshman and most clubs on campus will be promoting their first meetings of the year! This is a great time to get plugged in to something that interests you, especially because you will find like-minded friends there!  


Know that your fellow freshmen feel new and awkward too. Talk to classmates that sit next to you, find a new person to sit with at lunch, and join clubs or organizations that make excite you. I remember being in your shoes, not knowing the right choices for class, what to wear on the first day, or how to fit in to a new place with so many new people. I encourage you to just be yourself, push yourself to do new things, and soak in every moment because believe it or not this is going to go by faster than you know. 


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