OPINION: It’s as Easy as ABC


Robert Badura

College may seem scary, but it’s important to remember that other students are there to help and support you through this time. Graphic by Hailey Stessman/The Gateway

Incoming freshmen have life changing experiences waiting for them, but starting school is just one step of many. The beauty of freshman year is that you begin college with a clean slate, leaving high school drama in the past and focusing on the future.

Now is the time to experience new things, meet new people, and dive deep into self -discovery. To help relieve some of the stress and headache of beginning a new chapter, here are my ABCs of freshman year: 26 tips to help you navigate and conquer the first year, coming from someone who’s been there and already made the mistakes.

A is for All-Nighter. If you are pulling an all-nighter you are going to need fuel, such as energy drinks and snacks to keep you going through the night. Depending on your course load and major, these might be a common occurrence.

B is for Books. No longer will you be receiving the various textbooks you need for class for free. Now you have to buy or rent them, and they are never cheap. Always check multiple websites to find the best deals.

C is for Classes. There will be many different courses to choose from when picking out your first semester classes. Don’t take all your classes in one day to get them over with. Plan and spread them out and save yourself the headache later on down the road.

D is for Dorm. You either love it or hate it, but take the time to truly make it your own and move in. This will be your sanctuary for the year, so make it cozy.

E is for Effort. If you put in the effort and actually try, then you’ll have nothing to worry about. Procrastination will only lead to failing grades and missed work.

F is for Finals. These should come as no surprise. Most professors have finals and they come at the end of each semester. Take the time and prepare for them, as they are major parts of your grade.

G is for Going to campus events. Especially as a freshman, there are events all throughout the campus that will be the perfect way to get involved and meet new people. Plus, you will get a lot of free things such as t-shirts, water bottles, and school supplies. You could even win gift cards to your favorite places.

H is for Homework. You will have homework every single night for every class and this will take you hours to finish. Remember to prioritize the most important things, whether that be the assignments that are due first or the ones that are worth the most points.

I is for getting Involved. It is best to join one or two clubs or organizations to get involved and meet new people, but don’t overwhelm yourself and get involved with everything that campus has to offer.

J is for Jobs, something that you may already have or may need. Keep an eye out for campus job postings and other opportunities around the community, but remember that school should come first.

K is for Knowing who, what, where, how, and when. Whether it is knowing what restaurants give student discounts, where there are dollar burger nights, or who to see when you need help.

L is for the Library. Studying at a library frees you from distractions. There are single study rooms perfect for listening to your favorite artist while finishing that paper before it’s due, as well as group study rooms where you are able to work on group projects. Remember that the third floor is the quiet level.

M is for Making study guides. The majority of the time there won’t be any study guides provided, just the necessary materials or vocabulary. Putting it together into one guide will help you retain and remember the information for the quiz, exam or final.

N is for Naps. Take them when you can. Anywhere from a “power hour” to a four hour sleep, a nap will give you the proper boost to make it through the day or finish the last of your homework.

O is for Opening the book. In high school, when the teacher assigned reading for homework, that may have meant that there was no homework. In college, skipping readings can drastically hurt your grade. Most of the questions on the quiz or homework will be from the reading. Another important thing to keep in mind most professors won’t assign or tell you that there is reading, as you are expected to know and have already read.

P is for Planning. Get organized and purchase a planner. Write out important dates and keep track of them. This will save you from the last-minute stress that comes with forgetting an assignment or test.

Q is for Quizzes. Surprise quizzes are a thing and they are not fun, however if you complete the reading and do the homework these should not be a bother.

R is for Roommates. These can become your lifelong friends and the people who will get you through the year while making lasting memories.

S is for Syllabus. Always print out the syllabus and keep it with you for easy reference. This will save you the time and effort of remembering when each assignment is due, when an important project or test is, and what your professor’s email is. This is one of the most important papers that you will have.

T is for Taking a break. Listen to your body and your mind. It is important to know when you need to take a break. Taking a mental health day to just sit in bed, relax, watch a movie or read a good book is vital.

U is for Using your resources. There are plenty of resources all over campus to the library study rooms, to the math lab, to the peer mentors who are able to help you with whatever question you may have. Even when you think you have learned everything about campus and seen what it has to offer, something will pop up and surprise you.

V is for Venting. Find someone who you trust and feel comfortable talking to and let out your frustrations, feelings, and worries that you may have. Don’t keep that bottled up—it is not healthy and stress is something that can sneak up on you very fast.

X is for “Xtra” credit. Now this might be a stretch, but taking the few opportunities that your professors provide to complete extra credit is extremely important. It can be the difference between failing and passing. Most of the time, these opportunities are easy to complete and shouldn’t add much to your workload.

Y is for Youtube. This is a free website and app that will get you through the year especially if you can’t afford subscription services such as Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+. Not only can you watch and listen to your favorite artists, but you can also learn new things and watch step by step videos to help  finish your homework.

Z is for ZZZ’s. Sleep is a beautiful thing! This is something that you need to get plenty of in order to keep focused. We have all heard about the studies that recommend six to eight hours of sleep a night, and you should definitely take these seriously though it might not be possible especially with activities, classes and having fun.

Even with these tips, freshman year can still be difficult, but just remember that you aren’t the only one experiencing this new chapter of your life. This is the time to develop yourself as a person, meet new people and gain necessary life skills that you will take with you in the future. Remember to stay true to yourself and never be afraid to ask questions, and believe in yourself because you got this!