Don’t stress, stay fresh
July 17, 2018
It’s exciting to go to college, with all of the new people, places, classes and clubs. However, there are so many new opportunities being thrown at you that it can be difficult to slow down, breathe and remember to take care of yourself. Taking on so much in the first few months of freshman year can often lead to stress and worry.
To combat an excess of stress, here are a few tips and reminders of what you don’t have to worry about freshman year.
Tests and assignments
Spending your first week of school going to new classes, you’ll receive a syllabus from most of your professors. In those syllabi, every item on the list will be underlined, bolded, highlighted or italicized to the point where it seems like every to-do is the most important assignment in the world. Trust me, it’s not.
University life is about making mistakes and, once in a while, you’ll forget that your homework is due at noon instead of midnight, or that you missed the deadline to sign up for your mandatory meeting with your professor.
As far as tests go, yes, they exist. Yes, they probably count for a large majority of the grade in the class. No, it’s not going to help to worry about them during week one of starting college. Don’t blow off those deadlines, and remember to make a plan to study.
If you’re doing well in the class by week six and understand all of the material, you won’t need two weeks to study for that midterm. If you’re not doing so well by then, take some time to create a schedule that works for you and your day-to-day activities. Take the initiative and use study time to make some new friends in classes as well.
Another part of freshman year you definitely do not have to worry about is making friends. Everyone meets new people at different rates, and being nervous about when, where or how you will do so is not going to benefit you in the long run.
Whether you find them in classes, new clubs, on the street or at your new favorite taco place, it’s going to happen. You’ll find your group and people who share your interests among thousands of other new students.
If there is any tip that I can give you to make sure you find lasting friends sooner rather than later, it is to be involved. Explore everything Illinois has to offer, and everything it throws at you. There are over 1,000 clubs on campus to choose from, and one of them is sure to interest you and other like-minded students.
Of all the small worries and challenges you may face freshman year, your major may seem like one of the biggest. Not many people know exactly what they want to do when they leave high school, and they generally end up deciding on their major based on personal interests and what sounds promising.
It’s normal to have doubts about the major you choose when you’re finally exposed to all of the other possibilities in college, but it’s important to remember that you chose your major for a reason. Something about it interested you, whether it’s the math behind it, the artistic aspect or the communication.
If you’re unsure about your major, talk to your adviser about it instead of worrying about whether or not you are in the right place. Freshman year is about exploration; take classes that are not necessarily in your major and explore what really fulfills you.
There’s no sense in worrying about something you have control over, and it’s likely that at the end of your first or second semester of college, you won’t be too far into your major classes that changing majors would require an extra year. If you’re worried about it, talk about it. If you’re not, enjoy the major you chose and the opportunity to finally focus on subjects that interest you.
Whether it’s classes, friends, majors or general uncertainty you’re facing your freshman year, take a step back and look at your stressors from a distance. If it’s something you can control, something you can prepare for or something you can get help for, you can do it. Take a deep breath, evaluate the problem and remember— don’t stress, stay fresh.
Alex is a senior in LAS.