Freshmen Tell All: Reflections on Their First Semester

From roommate issues to homesickness to course load; the first semester of college presents many challenges. We asked first-year students home for winter break how their first few months went.

What has been most meaningful to me is forming a relationship with one or two of my professors. Obviously, this isn’t always possible depending on the size of the class, but having an academic mentor has helped me feel more confident in my studies.
At first, it was tough to adjust to college. It’s a lot of changes already, on top of living with a stranger and being so far from home. Once classes started, it became a lot easier. I was able to keep myself busy when I felt homesick, and before I knew it I made a great group of friends and loved my school so much!! I also made sure to introduce myself to a lot of people and put myself out there even when it felt uncomfortable.
A challenge I had first semester was keeping up with the course load. It was a significant change from high school since the professors don’t remind you about due dates and staying on top of assignments. After a few days though, I adjusted to the change and found new habits to help me. I made sure to write everything down in my planner and meet with professors to stay on top of my work.
My first semester of college went better than I had anticipated. I usually create a lot of build up in my head and tend to have a lot of anticipatory anxiety. The beginning of school was shaky, which I imagine is the case for many incoming freshmen in some way or another. Know that you’re not the only one going through it—it’s perfectly normal. There is a lot of figuring out who your friends will be and a lot of learning to go with the flow. I didn’t feel settled entirely until after I got into a sorority and found my group of friends, which was probably late October. I was lucky to have no conflicts with my roommate. We were set up and didn’t know each other before school but it worked out perfectly, and we ended up being great friends!
Regarding workload, I felt like college was a nice change from high school where I had homework every night and the same classes every day. In college, you have more time and freedom, with a varied schedule and at first, you have to learn how to budget your time. I love having one day a week that I didn’t have any classes at all and could pursue other interests. I did feel stressed at times, but that was only when I had a lot of work on my plate around midterms or finals. Next semester I know not to leave things for the last minute but to use my free days or afternoons more productively and to get ahead.
I think I struggled more in high school than I have in college, but I’m thankful that my high school prepared me by making me work hard.
My first semester was more of an adjustment socially than academically, especially navigating the balance between appreciating alone time and the seemingly constant pressure to be socializing and making as many new friends as possible. I was lucky to make good friends during orientation, but I had to learn, to decide only to go out when it was what I really wanted to do, not just because I felt like it was something I “should” be doing.
First semester went by way too fast and exceeded my expectations. I’ve made best friends from all over the country. The workload, though tough is definitely accomplishable- I’ve learned it’s all about time management. I like to get things done early, and by doing that, my workload feels much more comfortable. It’s much different from high school where you would have homework that was due the next day. Now I have the free time and independence to choose when to do my homework, unlike HS, where you would have to do it after school.
My first semester so far has been a great mix of hard work and fun. I have a lot more work than in high school, more than I expected, but now that I’ve established a routine the work is manageable, and I still have time to go out and have fun. My secret is not to spend my free time during the day socializing but to approach that time like a class and get my work done.
The beginning of school was an adjustment and took some getting used to, but it got better as I got into a routine and met people outside of my dorm. My classwork was much harder than high school but more rewarding, and I feel that I have become a more intellectual thinker. My professors have challenged me into being a better speaker, writer and ultimately a stronger minded person. I felt pretty prepared for everything, but managing my own time was something that I had to adjust to, and figure out.
College has been great. The first few weeks were hard being away from home and making friends was not as easy as I thought it would be. What helped was joining some clubs, going to the gym regularly, and getting out of my dorm even just to study at the library or get a coffee at the bookstore. Now I love it. The work is a lot more challenging than high school but also more interesting.
My first semester of college went well. I enjoyed meeting many new people and really liked all my classes and professors. I thought it was refreshing to be in a classroom with kids who are genuinely interested in what we were learning. I felt my high school prepared me well, and I don’t often feel overwhelmed with my workload. For the social scene, I thought I would feel pressured to go out a lot more, but I soon came to realize it’s okay sometimes to want to stay in your room and hang out and not feel like you’re missing out.