Survive freshman year with helpful advice


Every year, incoming freshmen have difficulty adjusting to the changes in their life.

Lost and confused, they have to find help themselves or struggle alone until they learn the hard way. However, below are 13 quick tips to rectify the situation and hopefully teach new students about some of the ins and outs of college life.

1.) Go to class

  • “The biggest mistake freshmen make is not going to class,” said Dr. Lynne Cleavinger, dean of students at South Plains College, “because class attendance is directly related to success. I know it took me a while to figure that one out too. Go to class.”

2.) Online and Traditional Classes

  • “I prefer physical classes, because it’s so much easier being one on one with the professor,” said Reina Mosqueda, an early childhood education major at SPC. “But online you can do your work on your own time.

3.) Don’t procrastinate 

  • “Stay on top of your work,” said Carolyn Sinklier, an education major at SPC. “If the due date is a week from now, do it anyway, instead of watching Netflix or going out, because it will start to pile up on you.”

4.) Know your resources

  • “The biggest things we typically see is just the fear of the unknown, not knowing who to ask when things get rushed,” said Kristin Huber, an advisor on the Levelland campus at SPC. “There are wonderful resources, as well as our office. I think people believe that here in advising we just put students in classes. But we go over time management, stress management, note taking skills, degree path, and also resume building.”

5.) Make friends

  • “One of the most important things, because your friends make up your college experience,” said Jonathan Rangel, a radiology major at SPC. “They’re what make it worthwhile. These friends make me happy and make me laugh. I think I talk a lot and make my friends laugh in return.”

6.) Get involved 

  • “Join a club that sparks your personal interest,” said Tori Moody, a general studies major at SPC. “Just figure out what you’re passionate about,  and if you don’t know what you like, then try a little bit of everything until you find one you do like. Talk to other people and tag along with them to see what the hype is about.

7.) Know your limits

  • “I learned the hard way that I can’t handle everything I thought I could,” said Tiffany Smith, a pre-veterinary major. “College is a new level of stress that I don’t know how to handle. Think about the late-night crying because you have a stack of homework due, or the headache-inducing study sessions before you take six or more classes your first semester.” 

8.) Find a source of support

  • “My mom was my main source of support through college.” says Tamara S. Raymond, a leadership and career coach, and the founder and CEO of Innovative Management Consulting. “It was comforting to know I had her support, even though she didn’t always understand my choices, particularly as they pertained to my choice of college major.”

9.) Handle your financial aid early

  • “I personally recommend going into a financial aid office, this one in particular. Students come in with their information, and we help them fill it out. I know from my own personal experience, because I didn’t know enough. Our basic steps to following the FAFSA, we made these forms to follow in this office,” said John Anchondo, a full-time employee in the Financial Aid Office at SPC. “Lots of times there are third-party people who go to high schools that don’t know as much about the process, and it’s nice to talk to someone who knows what they are talking about and can help get it done so you can have financial aid by the time school starts.”

10.) take responsibility and triple-check

  • “One trimester, I took extra classes, worked two jobs, and had a lot of extracurricular activities, including serving on a board that did a lot of work. I went to a dean to get advice, and, after taking his guidance, I withdrew from one class to make my workload a bit more manageable. He stated that all I had to do was fill out a form and handed it to me to complete and sign. I trusted that he had my best interest at heart and knew what he was doing,” said Raymond. “He told me it was fine to sign the form, so I completed and submitted it only to find out later that having my WF approved earned me the equivalent of a failing grade in the class. This experience taught me to take responsibility for what I do, do my research, and not simply rely on someone else to know what is best for me—Even those who are well meaning can make mistakes.”

11.) Time managment

  • “Set up your class schedule that will work with your personal life and work life,” says Veronica Dominguez, a graphic arts major at SPC, “where everything isn’t hard on you. I learned from personal experience when I put all my classes right next to each other, and that messed with my work schedule and I had to miss out on family events.”

12.) Dealing with home sickness

  • “Many students struggle with missing their hometown because they’re not used to meeting new people and getting out of their comfort zone,” says Jonathan Rangel, a freshman radiology major. “One of the best ways to deal with homesickness is to make new friends to get that “home” feeling and being surrounded by a new kind of family at college. Another way is to visit your hometown like once a month, or once a week, depending on where you live. Everyone is different, and everyone has their own way of dealing with homesickness.”

13.) Have fun

  • “Don’t spend all day studying and all night working,” said Smith. “It’s important to take some days off and go partying, clubbing, have a movie night, or just relax with some friends. It’s college, so go out and be college students. Do something you enjoy and take advantage of the freedom.”

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