The class of 2024 is entering school at a truly peculiar time, which can be a bit scary, especially for students moving away from home for the first time. It is both exciting and daunting to be leaving home, or at least the familiarity of your normal routine. It’s a big transition for students, and this year’s incoming freshmen are facing many new challenges as COVID-19 continues to change how we learn. However, there’s no shortage of advice to help guide you. Here are a few tips to help you survive your first year of college socially, academically and mentally.
One of the first things that makes an impact on your entire first year of college is whether you get involved. Iona is a big community full of welcoming people that will surely be there for you. Getting involved on campus is the fastest way to make Iona feel like home. Iona is home to over 80 active clubs, groups and organizations and is always changing to meet the needs of our student body. Making friends through being involved on campus has been a great experience for junior Mary Crinnion.
“Getting involved with the school is definitely the best way to make friends,” Crinnion said. “As students we are all individuals with different experiences and opinions, but having good friends to share things with can help us learn what it means to be part of the Iona community.”
Many first-year students undervalue the importance of what a great resource their professors can be. It’s their job to help you improve and professors are always equipped to help you when you’re stuck. They’re a valuable college resource that most people forget about. Most professors will be conducting their office hours remotely on Zoom, and junior Anthony Tortorello recommends seeking out professors during those times.
“At some point, all students struggle with their work, and that’s okay. What’s important is that you seek help,” Tortorello said. “I suggest that you seek out your professor during his or her office hours or shoot them an email.”
As you face your first year of college, just remember that you need to take care of yourself. It’s very easy to feel anxious, lonely, isolated and overwhelmed at times, but ignoring your health may cause a variety of other issues. Sophomore Jamie Sullivan stresses the importance of a support system while in college.
“I think it’s okay to feel a bit lost at times,” Sullivan said. “School is all about gaining experience and learning to overcome challenges, yet it’s always important to reach out to others for help when needed.”
If you’re not doing okay, sometimes it can be hard to admit it, especially when you’re at college. Know yourself and be honest.; school can be a lot to deal with, and there is absolutely no shame in realizing that you need to take a step back. There is nothing wrong with taking a break when needed. If you feel stressed, do something that makes you happy, like reading, watching a movie or even taking a quick nap.
At the end of your first year at college, chances are you will be a different person than you are now. Your friends will change, your interests will change and you’ll eventually find yourself going into your second year with a new purpose. The academic and social pressures of being a first-year college student are tough but if you are hard-working, take care of yourself and remain open to new experiences, you will find success.