I was kind of green when I started college and didn’t think to go to upperclassmen for advice. (Actually, I was a bit intimidated by them!) But if I had taken the chance, I would have learned that they are just like you and me, only with a couple of extra years of experience under their belt.
So feel like you can go to them with questions about navigating college life. Upperclassmen are a good resource for giving freshmen and other college students advice and tips for surviving college.
1. Manage your time
You have responsibility in college, for your classes, your time, your money and your part-time job, if you have one. Upperclassmen have been there, done that. They’ve done the trial and error to learn the best (and worst) ways to have enough time to get everything done in a day. Ask a friend to give you tips on creating a schedule, planning ahead, being organized, and leaving enough time for studying and extracurricular activities. The effort put into managing time will actually give you more time in your life and reduce stress.
2. Take studies seriously and work hard
“Don’t underestimate the idea of reading a textbook ahead of time and in line with the syllabus. Sacrifice a little bit of time before each class to catch up with the syllabus material, and I guarantee you will have an easier time paying attention and comprehending the material in class,” suggested Notre Dame University student Fernando Huyke, in “Upperclassmen Share 9 Lessons to Learn Before Freshman Year,” posted June 28, 2014, on HerCampus.com.
3. Make new friends
Unlike in high school, your classes will be filled with students from many different graduating years. You might be a freshman in a class with juniors, or you could be a senior in a class with some sophomores. Make friends with others across graduating classes, and well as across race, religion, cultural background and majors. Expand your circle of friends. You can learn a lot from various kinds of people.
4. Be yourself
“I still struggle with feelings of inadequacy and social incompatibility specific to my experiences as a low-income, first-generation student … Sometimes, you might feel you just don’t belong on campus. I implore you to extend grace to yourself and have confidence in the fact that you were chosen not only for your academic competency but also for the perspective you have to offer your peers,” said student Brittanie Lewis at Amherst College in “Advice for New Students From Those Who Know (Older Students),” posted in New York Times July 30, 2015.
5. Assure personal safety
It’s sad to say, but there can be instances of theft, physical and sexual assault, binge drinking, drugs, and other dangers to your safety. Ask an upperclassmen you trust to learn where the dangerous spots on campus and off campus are. Double up with a friend at a party and watch each other’s back. Ask friends to walk with you back to your dorm after a party or event that ends at night. Keep personal items locked up. Be wary of people offering to give you a ride.
6. Get involved in clubs or sports
“Joining a club, organization, sports team, or even the student council has many advantages,” recommended a writer in “What College Freshmen Can Learn From Upperclassmen,” posted on Study.com. Those advantages include gaining leadership skills, social skills, time management, and communication skills. Also, making new friends, representing your school in competition or club events, learning mentoring and sportsmanship, and having fun and reducing stress.