By Carrie Mauldin
For most students, the first semester away at college can be the most gloriously terrifying experience of his or her lives. Facing new challenges such as a more rigorous course load, living on your own and trying to figure out what it is you want to do with your life is something a high school classroom rarely prepares you for. So with this being said, the first semester at college can be quite a rocky start for incoming freshmen.
The first week alone for a majority of students can consist of revamping their entire schedule or throwing out their current major for a brand new one.
“I changed my major a lot during the first week of college because I knew what my parents wanted me to do, but I didn’t know what it was I wanted to do,” says Morgan Manning, a freshman psychology major from Hahira.
Of course there’s no shame in changing your major once, twice or maybe even ten times, but that’s not the only challenge to overcome in college as a freshmen. What are the others?
1. The Freshman 15
The Freshmen 15 seems like an urban myth at UGA, given the plethora of hills and stairways one must ascend to make it to their intro lecture class. However, when the pounds start adding up, what can you do differently to ward off the Freshman 15?
If you haven’t checked out the Ramsey Student Center located in East Campus Village, now is the perfect time to start off a new semester by trying out a variety of classes offered. Ramsey offers racquetball, rock climbing (perfect for the outdoorsman wanting to stay inside during the cold winter months), lap swim, basketball and various workout rooms for cardio and strength training.
Another option is to try taking up a new sport or activity, such as running or any of the numerous club or intramural sports offered on campus.
2. Organizing your schedule
A tough lesson learned by those who have not yet figured out where most buildings are located on campus is the realization that you scheduled your classes that are 15 minutes apart on opposite ends of campus.
“I scheduled a lot of between-class gaps this semester,” says Evan House, a freshman history and classical languages major from Covington. “Once you’ve taken a break between classes it’s hard to get back into the swing of things.” A way to avoid this dilemma is to schedule your classes close enough to each other in the day to avoid mid-day slumps, or perhaps scheduling all of your classes in the morning or afternoon only.
3. Balancing Social Life and Academics
Another challenge in college is that, unlike high school, rather than joining as many clubs as you want and still being able to have time to write that essay for AP Language, you have to focus on a smaller number of clubs that really peak your interest. Also, as you join clubs this semester, make sure you are committing to something you can make the most out of and will bring the most benefit to you, rather than just a weekly email update about what the club or organization is up to.
4. Getting Involved
“I think joining a club that is something you’re interested in or involves community service that is involved in the community is something people can bond over,” says Jackie Prine, an art major from Lake Park.
In case you missed the fall semester’s activities fair held by the Center for Student Organizations, not to worry! The spring activities fair will be held early spring semester and will host a variety of clubs to sign up for and get involved in. There’s also an array of club postings located in Tate throughout the semester, so keep a lookout!
5. Meeting New People
Rather than sticking to just your normal friend group this semester, try reaching out and meeting new people. Whether it is in your classes, activities or in a dining hall, college is the perfect time to network a group of friends that can benefit you now and in the future.
So college freshmen, as you take on a new year and a new semester, try these tips to avoid any repeats of first semester mistakes. Get more involved, meet new people and perfect that schedule! Make the most out of your time here at UGA.