Freshmen arrive on campus in just two days, so we asked our current students and alumni what advice they have for the incoming students. Their advice covers a range of topics, so we’ve split up the answers between academics, social life, and self-care.
Make Friends on Campus Early – But Also Get to Know People Outside of Your Typical Group.
One of the best things about being a freshman is that everyone is trying to make friends. Before you know it, you’ll probably find a core group. It might be your hall, your athletic team, or the people at the random cafeteria table you sat at the first day. And while you might make some of your best Bryan memories with this group, make sure you talk to other groups, too. (Plus, if you do, you’ll always have somewhere to sit in the caf. )
Talk to People Outside of Your Year
When you’re a freshman, this can seem especially intimidating. But most upperclassmen are excited that you’re here, and want to get to know you. Jack, a current senior, said, “Don’t be afraid to talk to upperclassmen. We would love to help.”
(And when you’re an upperclassman yourself, remember how it felt being a freshman, and reach out to those younger than you.)
Spend More Time Out of Your Dorm Than in it
It’s tempting to curl up and watch The Office in every spare moment, but the relationships and experiences that you’ll get from being out of your dorm room are going to be the memories that you take away from your time at Bryan.
Join a Team
Whether it’s an athletic team, an intramural team, the debate team, or a PCI group, get plugged in with a group of people who shares your common interests and goals.
Invest in the Relationships on Your Hall – You’ll Gain Friends You Might Not Have Otherwise
The best thing about halls is that it brings people who might not have anything in common together. You’ll learn a lot living with people who have different perspectives on the world.
Don’t Rush Into a Relationship
Disclaimers: First, yes, this is advice from students and not staff/faculty. Second, this is more subjective than the other points on this list. Freshman dating is pretty subjective and has a lot of opinions on both sides of it, but it is a good thing to think about or discuss with someone else before you commit to a relationship your first semester (or year).
Don’t Study So Much that You Don’t Have Any Fun
Perfectionists, we’re looking at you.
Find Friends With Good Study Habits
Find some friends who will study with you, and call you out when you’re procrastinating. We all need that accountability.
Dress Nicely for Class Presentations
You might feel weird walking around campus all dressed up, but it’s worth it. Not dressing nicely can hurt your grade. Plus, you’ll feel more confident if you know you put effort into how you look when everyone’s eyes are on you.
Go to Class
This seems obvious because you’re in college, right? Well, it won’t feel as obvious when your alarm goes off for that 8am. Or 9am. Or, let’s be honest, 1 pm. Maybe set your alarm across the room so you can’t hit snooze a dozen times.
Get to Know Your Professors Because They Genuinely Care About You
You’ll hear this a lot at Bryan, but it’s because it’s true. They want to help you and get to know you – regardless of what your grade is – because they care about you as a person.
Use the Library for Study. It Actually Helps
It might seem pointless to walk across campus when you can study in your room, but getting out of your normal study space (and the distractions that come with it) can sharpen your focus. And focusing more means it gets done faster, which ultimately gives you more free time. It’s really a win-win.
Find Tools to Make Your Life Easier – GroupMe, Planners, etc.
There are endless resources to help you manage your projects. GroupMe makes communicating easier on class projects, planners can help you organize your homework assignments, and reminders on your phone can help you keep track of time. Experiment with different tools and find some that work for you.
Recent graduate Michelle said, “Part of the college experience is extreme study breaks – like leaving at midnight for the beach.” You’ll have a lot of flexibility and control over your schedule, so leave some room to have some unplanned fun.
Set Aside Some Time Every Day to Just Be Still and Silent
Whether it’s taking a walk around campus at night, watching the sunrise, or even just drinking a cup of coffee in your dorm room, spending some time in reflection can be refreshing, and a good way to get perspective on the things you’re worried about.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Freshman year comes with a lot of change. Moving to Bryan might even be out of your comfort zone. But the more that you step out, the easier it gets.
Get Enough Sleep
You might hear that you’ll have to pull at least one all-nighter in college, but that’s not true if you don’t want it to be.
You’ve probably heard that you can pick two out of three: Good grades, enough sleep, or friends.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to pull all-nighters to get your work done. It might take some planning and scheduling, but it’s definitely possible – and will make you feel better both physically and mentally.
Which leads us to the next piece of advice:
It’s Okay to Say No
Recent graduate Yahna said, “It’s fun to try new things, but remember you have four years to do so. Don’t take on too much!” If you’re taking 19 credit hours, it might not be the best semester to pick up an extracurricular activity. If you have a test in the morning, it’s perfectly okay to skip the midnight Taco Bell trip. Fear of missing out is real, but don’t let it stop you from taking care of yourself!
Don’t Take This Time for Granted
Maybe you’ve heard about this, especially from people who are reminiscing about “the good old days,” but it’s so true. There might be days you won’t be able to imagine yourself ever missing this place. You have the chance to try new things and form relationships that will last past your time on the Hill.