Published on September 1, 2017 by Will Featherston  

Disclaimer

This post is going to focus primarily on my experiences (I am the one writing after all), so feel free to not take everything I say personally. I do not want to generalize too much. I do not know your educational background, personal history, future plans, etc., but odds are that if you are a freshman, you are pretty much in the same or a similar boat as every other freshman is and every former freshman was. 

Introduction

I really want to emphasize this point: you are not in this alone!!!! That rush of both the excitement and anxiety of being more independent; feeling as though you need to hurry and make friends because you don’t know many people; feeling overwhelmed by a heavy course load you are not used to; fretting over the future beyond college; possibly even feeling stuck in a major you chose before even starting school. Many freshmen will have thoughts like these. Many people I know, myself included, have expressed them. Of course, if things feel too overwhelming, you can always set up an appointment with one of Samford’s university counselors (counseling@samford.edu). Their services are free to current Samford students. If you feel like Counseling Services is not necessary for whatever you are going through, but would still like to talk with someone, you can also meet with the Spiritual Life Assistant (SLA) for your residence hall on campus. 

Everyone will have similar worries with starting college; take solace in that. You are not an island in a sea of people who have their lives figured out. You might think you are an island, but so does everyone else. I guarantee that your professors, the paragons of excellence they may seem, don’t even have their lives totally figured out. Completely figuring out your life is an unattainable ideal sitting around out there in the ether.

Don't worry. Sounds hard, I know.

Tips

  • Figure out which study styles work best for you early on. Classes will get harder. If you feel like you need help, feel free to contact the Academic Success Center (success@samford.edu) to schedule a consultation.
  • Try not to get behind in class, but also don’t be afraid to use SparkNotes if you have to.
  • Don’t fret over finding new friends. Many will come naturally, be it your roommate, or someone from your major, or someone from a core course, or someone from a group you’re involved in, or just randomly.
  • Don’t force yourself to find friends immediately. Trust me, this is a real thing, a really real thing. Things will be pretty awkward when y’all inevitably move farther apart just because of lack of connection/proximity.
  • Don’t be scared of your professors. While they can seem intimidating at times, they are here to help. Be sure to introduce yourself or wave if you pass them on the sidewalk. Also, take advantage of office hours even if you are doing well in class. Faculty appreciate it when you show you care about your work.
  • Have fun. I can't even remember the number of times I've been told that, but regardless of how many times it has been rehashed, I think it is pretty good advice.
  • Take advantage of this newfound freedom. Go to the beach for a weekend if you can. Go and stay with your friends during breaks. (But stay in contact with family; they are an invaluable mental health resource.)
  • Build rapport with your professors and advisors. Some of them can actually be pretty fun to just go and talk to, and most can give you some pretty good advice. It is important, however, to maintain a professional relationship. I would suggest checking your syllabi for office hours and meeting with professors during those hours to talk about classwork and other pertinent information.
  • Get involved in organizations (but also leave yourself some free time, especially your freshman year). The Student Organization Fair is held at the start of each fall semester. See www.samford.edu/events/student-calendar for date and location. And you can contact Student Leadership and Involvement Director Laura Breedlove at lvalent1@samford.edu

Good luck.