To Rising Freshmen: Advice from Incoming College Sophomores
When I started college last fall at the University of Houston, I was convinced that my magical childhood had suddenly ended and that my life would be a Sisyphean task that, from then on, I’d have to grin and bear. Of course, I was wrong. By October, I realized how much freedom I had and how much I had to learn from my professors and peers. I learned that I had to do my part in making friends and getting the most out of the amazing courses I was taking. Many other freshmen I talked to had similar experiences, and most agree that college – the academic part and the social part - takes a lot of hard work but is an amazing growth experience.
One awesome aspect of college that might take some getting-used-to is living away from home. “Depending on the type of roommate, it can be really nice. My room was actually kind of big so that was great,” said Aarohi Sheth, a graduate of Carnegie Vanguard High School who just finished her freshman year at the University of Southern California. “There are so many things I have to figure out like when and where to eat, if my health is ok, starting work and figuring out taxes— ‘adulting’ pretty much.”
Most of the classes that I took this year were challenging and interesting - much more so than the ones I took in high school. My professors were passionate about the subjects they were teaching, and they went out of their way to help students succeed. They assigned us so many books that were fascinating to read and discuss. Professors expect more from you than your high school teachers did.
Caleb Godard, a freshman at the University of Houston and graduate of Westbury Christian High School said that the hardest part of college was learning to write good papers. “It’s a different style of writing than in high school. Write only to make sense,” he said. I think it’s nice to party once in a while, but studying is very important since you have to teach yourself a lot of material at home. Sherley Wang, a freshman at the University of Texas who graduated from Bellaire High School said, “Focus on your academics, or your grades will suffer a lot more than they would in high school.”
This year, I enjoyed making new friends and keeping in touch with old ones. I stayed connected to friends who went to different colleges through texting, and I also video-chatted with them during my free time. Making new friends in college can be a challenge. “I wish someone had told me more about social life on campus,” said Aarohi, who’s also a summer intern at The Buzz. “My school has like 24,000 undergrads, so it was just really hard to meet people. You really have to make an effort—join clubs and organizations, meet the friends of friends, go to shows and events, and get out of your comfort zone to meet more types of people.” Similarly, I met most of my friends in classes and clubs, where there were many students who shared my interests and passions.
The first year of college was demanding, but I also had many weird and enjoyable experiences. If you are an incoming freshman, be ready for a surprise—and if you find it difficult to adjust or do well academically, you are not alone. No matter what, you will be glad to have the privilege of starting college. As Caleb said, “I constantly remind myself that everything is here for my benefit.”
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