January 25, 2020

Dear first-years: You’ve got this

As we head into the end of our third week of classes, things are starting to get real. Syllabus week is over, assignments are beginning to pile up, and everyone is starting to feel the pressure.

As a first-year, this is probably your first time experiencing the beginning of a college semester, and you might be nervous about what’s to come.

So, here’s the truth: college is hard, especially while facing the adjustments that come during the first year. But you can handle it.

For many of us, our first year of college came with a lot of adjustments: we have to remember to feed ourselves, do our homework, and clean our room without an adult nagging at us. Even though some of us learned these things in high school, for many first-year students this is the first time we’ve been fully responsible for ourselves.

For other first-years, “adulting” isn’t the hard part; it’s learning to adjust (or re-adjust) to being in a college classroom.

Needless to say, dealing with the pressures of college life isn’t easy, and everyone has their own way of getting through it.

Paige Schafer, first year criminology major studies by the fountains, breaking up the indoor classroom time with some sunshine.

Even though you’ve probably already been bombarded with advice, I wanted to share a few things I wish I knew coming into college:

  1. Make time for yourself. As we head into the thick of the semester it might feel like life is moving too fast, so it’s important to make time for yourself whenever you start to feel this way. Download a meditation or mindfulness app, do a face mask every now and then, or just go for a run — whatever helps you stay grounded.  
  2. Use a planner. Before college, I thought planners were useless, but as a senior my planner and Outlook calendar are my life. No matter how good your brain is, you need to keep track of your assignments. The stress of the semester has the power to make you forget about things, so keep yourself accountable by writing them down. [Online only:] Check out this handy list of apps that can help you keep track of your life.
  3. Know that it’s okay to break down. Sometimes life is too much, and you should know that it’s okay to feel like that. If you feel this way, make sure you’re reaching out to someone, whether that means making an appointment with Health and Wellness, or reaching out to a friend, RA, or other confidant. If you feel like you can’t talk to any of these people, reach out to me. I’d be happy to get coffee and talk if you need it.
  4. Keep an open line of communication with your professors. Stuck on an assignment? Not sure how to start a paper? Go to office hours! The only way a professor can help you is if you tell them what’s going on.

Overall, I think the most important thing to remember is that you’ve got this. College is hard, but you’re going to get through it.

Everyone at the Chimes wishes you a happy semester! Have an idea of something we should cover? Shoot us an email: chimes@capital.edu.

Heather Barr

Heather Barr is the current Editor-In-Chief of The Chimes and a senior at Capital University, studying Journalism & Professional Writing. hbarr@capital.edu

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