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Freshman year is a great opportunity to start from scratch. You get to decide who you want to be and what people will know you for. Everything feels scary, but in a good way. Sometimes knowing where to start in a brand new chapter is the most difficult part. But, we can confidently tell you that hiding in your room alone won’t give you the answers you are looking for. Follow along for our top 5 tips of things freshman should do to take advantage of their first year of college.

1. Join Clubs

If you are coming from out of state and know few to no people in the area, a great way to meet friends is through clubs. Plus, it’s a great resume builder. Focusing on building a diverse profile that showcases involvement in various clubs will make you a better candidate on a career application than someone who didn’t join any clubs, but had a 4.0 GPA. Maintaining good grades is important, but remember it is not everything. While a 4.0 looks great on paper, it gives little insight to what kind of person you are.

2. Take Care of your Health

There are plenty of myths Freshman get told about what goes on at college. Sadly, the freshman 15 isn’t one of them. This is very real and happens all too often. Plenty of factors play into why it’s so easy to gain weight the first year of college.

  • Different Environment
  • Late Nights
  • Fast Food Runs
  • Lack of Exercise

The list goes on… It is easy to forget about making time for your health, especially in the beginning of the school year when everything is still so new and you don’t want to miss out. In high school, you may have gotten away with eating whatever you wanted and not gaining any weight. Plus, you may have played sports after school, burning hundreds of calories every day at games and practices. Transitioning  to college and not playing sports is a big lifestyle change.

So, make sure to take time for yourself and for your health. Healthy habits to consider include:

  • Get a workout in 3-5 times a week
  • Go on walks
  • Take the stairs when you can
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Drink lots of water

3. Study Abroad if You Can

This is not usually something freshman have the option to do in their first year of college. But, it doesn’t hurt to start thinking about it and bringing it up to your advisor as you begin to plan out the timeline of the course you will need to complete. There is no other time in your life when you have this amount of freedom and little responsibilities. After college there will be jobs, a busier schedule, bills, and plenty of other things that will consume your time.

Experience a different culture, change your perspective, and slow down to appreciate the beauty of life. With every risk, there is reward. Pushing yourself to try new things and learn about other cultures will help you grow as a person. It will also help you learn things about yourself that you may have not known. These opportunities are a once and a lifetime experience – don’t let it pass you by!

4. It’s Okay If you Don’t Know What you Want to do Yet

  • Haven’t declared a major yet?
  • Don’t know what you want to do in life?
  • Feel like you are way behind your friends?

Relax and do not worry. You aren’t behind and it’s normal to be feeling this way. You have plenty of time to figure it all out and the best way to see what speaks to you is by immersing yourself in different courses. Electives are a great opportunity to select courses that you think you may be interested in. Sign up for an art class, criminal justice, journalism, photography, psychology… you get the idea. By trying a diverse array of classes, you can get a better picture of things you liked and things you didn’t like. Then, you can start to narrow in on what your interests are and what major this falls under.

5. Have Fun

Last, but not least – Have fun! It is up tp you to make these years some of the best memories of your life. Be smart, have fun, and enjoy every moment – It will go faster than you think!