A graphic of a black notebook with "KTSW Declassified Freshman Year Survival Guide."

KTSW’s Declassified​ Freshman Year Survival Guide

By Lauren Jurgemeyer
Blog Content Contributor

Congratulations!

If you are reading this, then you have survived the grueling public/private school experience. You have finger-painted, learned your multiplication tables, colored inside the lines and suffered through the prepubescent stages of life. Now, you are here–college.

Don’t worry, college isn’t an entrance to the underworld or something else you may have read in the Percy Jackson series; you are not going to have to sell your soul to pass classes. However, if you are feeling nervous about the upcoming semester, have no fear. KTSW is here to help!

Here are some tips and tricks to help you survive your freshman year:

  • Get a planner or a calendar.
A planner and to-do list.
Keeping a planner or a to-do list can be an effective tool for time management. Photo by Lauren Jurgemeyer.

Planning can help you combat procrastination and keep your head in the game! It is helpful to write out important due dates or even reminders to keep yourself on track. Even making to-do lists or checklists can keep you from falling behind. This will help you balance your life and learn critical time-management skills that will help you in your future.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

All of us have been in your position once. If you are confused on how to get to a specific building or class, ask someone! I know that upperclassmen can seem scary, but don’t be afraid to ask them for directions. Despite popular belief, upperclassmen do not eat their young. Most people on campus are more than willing to help you and if they cannot answer your question they will point you in the direction of someone who can.

  • If you are struggling don’t be afraid to seek help.

Professors are very knowledgeable resources. Regardless of your class size, don’t be afraid to contact them or stop by their office hours. If your professor prefers for you to contact the teaching assistant (T.A.) rather than them personally feel free to do so– T.A.s are extremely knowledgeable and they are students just like you.

There are also resources like the Student Learning Assistance Center (SLAC) and the Writing Center, both of which are available to students for free. SLAC offers tutoring in numerous subjects, but if that isn’t for you then they are more than willing to refer you to a private tutor for a particular subject. The Writing Center offers tutoring resources for barrier exams that can be taken at the Testing Center (on the first floor of Commons), as well as tutors who can assist you in editing papers for your classes.

On a less academic side, if you are feeling overwhelmed or you just need someone to talk to there is a counseling center located in the LBJ Student Center. It is completely free and open to all students–all you have to do is call and schedule an appointment.

  • You don’t have to be friends with your roommate(s).

Whether you live in a suite style or a traditional dorm, don’t feel pressured to be your roommate’s best friend. It is great to have a good relationship with your roommate, but as long as you both keep the room neutral and the lines of communication open it can be a healthy living environment. If there is a conflict deal with it head on rather than wait around and act petty. Your resident assistant (R.A) is there to assist you both if there is a conflict that you cannot resolve yourselves.

  • You don’t have to buy all your textbooks!

Textbooks are expensive, and they seem to only get more expensive as you continue your schooling. No wonder college students are so poor! Look to places like Amazon or the bookstore for textbook rentals; you can have the textbook for the whole semester and then you simply return it. Be smart everyone, save some money! Still, in some cases you are still required to buy a new addition.

  • Get involved!

Your dorm alone has ways that you can get involved, and there are also intramural sports, hall councils and even events that you can participate in. Go to the activity fairs hosted on campus and the tents that are set up from time to time in the Quad. There is probably a club or organization on campus that you can join. Many organizations participate in community service events like Bobcat Build. In addition, there is also Greek life to check out!

  • Don’t let your social life overpower your academic life.

It is no secret that Texas State has a reputation of being a party school. People often try to make us feel bad about it. However, we are also the only Texas school to graduate a United States president. Don’t let people’s misconceptions shape your academic career. This ties into my first point, time-management is key. It is okay to have a social life, but you don’t want it hurting you academically. Develop a work-life balance; if you have a test don’t go out the night before. It’s college, it is okay to have a social life–in fact, it is encouraged as long as you are able to get your work done! Know your limits.

Overall, college is all about experiencing new things. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and try new things. College offers a special kind of diversity that aids in your development as a member of society. Honestly, your years here are what you make them; we are no longer children and we have to learn to be individuals. Some say that high school is the best time of your life, but I think that college can be just as great. Your life is what you make it, so make the best of it.

Have a wonderful year, Bobcats!

Featured illustration by Lauren Jurgemeyer.

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