Written By: Rebecca Terry, Freshman at Eastern Michigan University, FLI Program Participant

(This content has been edited for clarity and grammar)

I am the first person in my family to graduate from high school and attend college. For that reason I didn’t have much help at home when it came to applying to and choosing colleges, I didn’t have much knowledge about college in general. The transition from high school to college was pretty surreal, and it didn’t really hit me until I moved out. I know going away to college can be scary, you’re going to a new place where you likely don’t know anyone. So I’m going to give the advice to help seniors feel a little more prepared once they go to college.

Firstly, if you’re able to, try connecting with fellow students before moving on campus. When you are unfamiliar with a place, it is always nice to see a familiar face. This will also mean you have someone to go to for help and other things.

Second, use rate my professor. It’s a great website to see how others feel about professors. This is a great way of choosing the best professor for you. The same subject taught by two different professors can be completely different depending on how they teach, the types of assignments they give, etc..

Third, try to get outside of your comfort zone. I know it’s easier said than done, but even if it’s just the smallest of steps, stepping outside of your comfort zone can make all the difference. I’ve met most of the friends I have in college by stepping out of my comfort zone. It can be as little as complimenting another student.

Another thing college freshmen should do is decorate their dorms! This might sound a little silly but decorating your dorm makes it feel more like home and it will make you more comfortable in the new space you’re living in.

Another important thing to do is look at employment opportunities around the campus you’re attending school. It’s important to make sure you’re financially stable, I know because I’m not financially stable and it’s been a huge struggle for me. Part of the reason why I’m struggling is that I settled for on-campus employment. Working on campus isn’t necessarily bad and it depends on what college you’re going to. In my experience at Eastern Michigan University, the student employment jobs don’t pay very well and schedule you short shifts which can lead to small checks. Now small checks aren’t necessarily bad if you can depend on your parents/guardians financially, but if you can’t it can definitely be stressful.

This may have been all over the place when it comes to advise, but these are some things I wish I had kept in mind when transitioning. It’s definitely a big change in your life, but whether it’s a good change or a bad change is up to you to decide! Speaking of decisions, college isn’t for everybody, consider your options wisely and make the choice that feels best to you. Don’t let others get in your ear and steer you in a direction you don’t want to go.

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