by Kirstin Le Grice, CollegeFocus
Freshman year is a huge transition. For the first time in 18 years, students no longer have their parents watching over them. Completing homework assignments, making it to class, and doing well for that matter, are now entirely up to you, the college freshman.
While this newfound freedom can appear as a gift from heaven, an outlet for creativity and expression, it can also be detrimental, and for many, it is. Temptation lies around every corner in college.
Partying, drugs, and alcohol are present at every campus, and it is up to the student to say no. Because of this freedom, it is important to make smart, beneficial connections during freshman year. There are dozens of positive role models on campus, and many fun clubs to join, which are just as much fun as partying – if not more!
Here is a list of the top connections to make freshman year:
Students who are actively engaging in student organizations and other extra-curricular activities on campus perform better in school than those who are not. Attend campus fairs and explore the multitude of clubs and organizations available on campus. Not only has this been proven to help students excel better academically; it’s also a great way to make friends, and create a positive community.
Professors play a crucial role in your college experience, and the earlier students recognize this, the better. Office hours offer a perfect opportunity to go in and meet with professors one-on-one.
Students who take advantage of office hours are able to get to know their professors on a more personal level. And, professors take note of who visits their office hours. If a student is in limbo between a C+ and a B-, and has been actively attending office hours, their professor will take this into consideration, and may even bump their grade up to that B-. Not only does connecting with professor help in terms of grades, it also gives students the opportunity to form a relationship with an inspirational figure.
Every floor, in every dorm, will have a resident assistant. RAs are there to ensure that freshman remain safe at all times. Unfortunately, RAs often receive a negative reputation for being too straight edge, and often a killjoy. The fact is, their job is to keep freshmen in check, which can mean busting them for drinking, smoking pot, and participating in other reckless behavior within the dorms. A freshman’s best option is to build and maintains a cordial, respectful relationship with their RA. It’s much better to be on a RAs good side, especially if a slip-up occurs.
Roommates also play an important role in determining one’s happiness and success freshman year. There’s no need to become best friends, but it is imperative to remain respectful towards each other throughout the year. Roommates can become great, even lifelong friends, but chances are a roommate will be just that – a roommate. That being said, remaining open and honest with each other is crucial. Respect one another’s privacy, study hours, and class schedules. Try to plan special things to do together once a week to get to know each other better – weekly dinner for example. By maintaining a positive relationship with each other, a positive, complacent living arrangement will likely ensue.
A college student’s freshman year is essential for shaping the rest of their college experience. Starting off on the right foot is everything. Knowing who to connect with, and which organizations to participate in can make a difference, so get out there, get active, and immerse yourself with positive reinforcement.
About the author: Kirstin Le Grice is a recent graduate of University of Colorado and a staff writer for CollegeFocus, a website dedicated to helping students deal with the challenges of college, including housing, finance, style, health, relationships, and transferring from a community college to a four-year university.