Written by Diana Davis '22

Starting freshman year can be intimidating. This year is full of so many “first” experiences. For most, this is the first step into adulthood. I remember having adults tell me, “This is the start of the rest of your life,” to which I thought, “I’m only eighteen… Are we sure I’m ready for that?”

Looking back at my life as a freshman, there’s so much advice I would give to myself. If you’re feeling nervous about beginning college, let this serve as a guide to help you thrive through the madness that is freshman year.

1. Take the 8 a.m. class.

  • I think this might be the secret to college no one wants to talk about. Hear me out: If you take morning classes, by noon, you are done for the day. I will be the first to admit that I have been personally victimized by an 8 a.m., but it still seems like the better option compared to being in class until 4 p.m.

2. Talk to your classmates.

  • Make friends with the people in your classes. Most of these people will be following the same major as you, possibly even the same career goals. The first day of classes, sit next to the most approachable-looking person and learn their name and one form of contact (Snapchat is always my pick). One night, you’ll be struggling with something regarding the class. This person will be a saving grace.

3. Take advantage of the tutoring services on campus.

  • Whether this be a brief meeting with your professor after class or scheduled tutoring conferences in The Learning Commons, do it. (Bonus: The Learning Commons is free for students.) Remember, your professors want to see you engaging in your learning and taking an extra step. And you came to college for a degree, right? Make sure you get one – and that you genuinely learn the class material in the process – by arranging tutoring if you need it.

4. Get to know your professors.

  • Office hours are often the easiest way to converse with your professors, ask them questions about class, even hear some good life lessons. Eventually, you’ll need references for a job application, or a letter of recommendation, or just general career advice. Professors are valuable resources, and they want to help you. It’s easier to ask for this help if you’ve had a few conversations outside of class.

5. Join a club (or two).

  • This is the easiest way to meet new people and it looks amazing on a resume. Two birds, one stone. Cumberlands has so many clubs and organizations, and they aren’t just for extroverts! Whether you’re into sports, academia, or simply campus life, I promise you Cumberlands has a club for your niche.

6. Make time to be healthy.

  • I’m not saying you have to turn into a gym rat in college, but be mindful of your habits. When you have this new sense of freedom at college, it can be overwhelming to make healthy choices 100 percent on your own. My mom was great for keeping all of us healthy before I moved out, and I really did try to mimic those habits in college. But then, getting on campus and having the option to eat Chic-Fil-A three times a day… It was too easy not to do. And trust me, I felt it. Making healthier choices will make your day-to-day life so much better. Walk to class, eat at the cafeteria, look up dorm recipes (my roommates and I lived off of microwave omelets for longer than I care to admit), take advantage of the FREE wellness center (yes, free!), go to the fitness classes offered in the wellness center (they have everything from yoga to dance). All of these things are easy to add into routines, and I promise you’ll feel so much better.

7. It’s okay to not be okay.

  • Let’s get a bit serious for a second. With all of the changes you experience freshman year, it’s completely normal to not feel like yourself sometimes. Surround yourself with friends that have the same end goal as you. Take advantage of the free counseling services on campus. This slump passes, but sometimes it takes a bit of work to help it pass (which is, again, completely okay!)

8. College goes by quickly.

  • Yes, I’m going to be cliché, and you can’t stop me. You’ll hear every adult say this a million times, and it’s so true: These four years will include some of the best times of your life. Make every moment count. And take as many pictures as your phone can hold.

You can learn more about life on Cumberlands campus if you sign up for a campus visit. Join us here!