Written by: Lexy Moscinski

Aurora University Student | Senior | Communication & Psychology

Read Part 1 of the Winter Newsletter here.

It’s day one. You walk into those university doors and see the start of your future: College – the next chapter laid out in front of you. But how will you even begin this chapter? What if you haven’t even picked a college– what is the right one to choose?

These are many of the questions new and future college students have. Whether you have selected a college or not, the most important piece is to find what suits you and makes you comfortable. As a senior in college myself, it’s safe to say that I’ve fought through many college ‘battles’. I’ve managed the work load, the social life, the organizations, the crazy professors, all of the things that make college, college.

But by no means was it easy.

My first few weeks of college were really tough. Most of my closest friends from high school left to go to other universities while I found myself at community college because I had no idea what I wanted to do. I figured it’d be smart to get my general classes out of the way while I thought of my future. Although I was a commuter student, I felt utterly alone in the beginning. I was shaken up, overwhelmed with anxiety, and not only had to manage my new workload, but also had to make new friends, and adjust to an entirely new environment.

One of the best things that helped me become more comfortable in my college environment was talking to people. Even though my introverted self wanted to hide away, I slowly began to realize that the thing that makes college so great is that you’re surrounded by other people who are trying their best to make something of themselves. And honestly, most of us don’t know what the heck we’re doing, which is oddly comforting when you realize you’re not the only one dealing with sleepless nights that may involve tears and comfort food. But then again, that’s part of the experience. As a commuter, I never had a “dorm” life, but I’m sure it’s just as important to get to know people on your floor if you’re away from home. I’d say it’d be even more important, considering you don’t have your family to touch base with as often.

Soon after I connected with people, including my professors, my college life not only became easier, but it became exciting. Yes the work was difficult, and I had to refine how I managed my time, but I could see myself begin to grow exponentially as the weeks went by. Now, as a university student who will be graduating in just a few months, I’ve come to realize that the hardships I endured will only help me be more successful in my life.

And in the end, my biggest key to success?: Focus and Connection.

With this in mind, here are a collection of big things that will put you on the right path in your college career.

1. Give Yourself Time:

College isn’t easy. When you first begin, you may enjoy the freedom, but you have this freedom because you are an adult now! (I know, scary isn’t it?). With this in mind, you have to give yourself time to adjust to all the changes that will be thrown at you. Change isn’t easy either, so don’t feel bad if you flunk one of your first tests, or don’t know your major yet. Just being in college is a huge step in the right direction. Allow yourself to adjust – you’ll find your niche, your flow, and each day moving forward will become easier. Of course, you’ll have your moments of ups and downs, but so will all your fellow students. They’re all trying to figure out who they are, just like you, so take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone, and by no means do you need to ‘know your future and purpose’ right away. Take your time and don’t forget to breathe.

2. Pay Attention. Take Notes. And Always Study:

In high school, you may have been able to get away with not studying for a test. This is not the case in college. Studying is vital to your success as a student, meaning you need to pay attention in class, and take detailed notes to help you study later on. Like I said earlier, college is not easy, so attending every class to take notes is really important! With this in mind, keep an eye on your professor and their teaching habits. All instructors are different, so never be afraid to ask questions and ask for help. This also goes for any faculty member at your university or community college, actually. They all want to help you be successful, and have plenty of resources to help you with note-taking and proper study habits. Don’t be afraid – just ask!

3. Be Excited to Learn and Join Clubs:

There are days where college can be rough, and the last thing you want to do is write this 15-page book report, but at the end of the day, you’re attending college to learn. Except now, you get to choose to learn about things you’re interested in. Of course, you’ll have to get those general education classes out of the way, but once you select a major; there are so many opportunities ahead of you. You’ll be able to learn about things that help refine your vision of the future, and will also be surrounded by other people that are doing the same. In relevance to this, check into clubs that involve your major! There are many like-minded people who are also trying to figure themselves out, so never be afraid to get involved. In fact, getting involved will not only brighten your college experience, but will help you make friendships, and build important connections that will aid you in your future job hunt.

So get out there and always remember to give yourself time to adjust, to study, and to get excited to learn and make connections! And finally: Focus on your goals and your bright future ahead of you.

Best of luck!