College freshmen: ‘Embrace the struggle’

Illustration by Alexis Dickerson / Times-News correspondent

Commentary by Alexis Dickerson
Times-News correspondent
teens20@thetimesnews.com

   Class of 2019, as you all are settling into your first year at which ever higher institute you decided to go to, there are probably a lot of things running through your head.
There are probably a lot of eyes looking at you, from your parents, siblings, younger friends, even your whole neighborhood. After a year being in very similar shoes, here are four tips I learned from my first year in college.
1. Embrace the struggle. This is a “tip” that was told to me by one of my high school teachers (shout out to Coach Quinn) that I didn’t quite grasp until my first year in college. You will be stressed, and that is OK. Being stressed means you are trying to take some responsibility of your own life. You will try to find the balance between having fun as well as staying on top of your academics. You will make mistakes; the key is to take those mistakes and turn them into experiences that you learn from, whether that is realizing you shouldn’t have signed up for a harder class that isn’t required or learning how to take care of yourself the morning after.
2. Be proactive, not reactive. As a sophomore, I already have an internship lined up this semester, and the only reason that happened is because I put my name out there last year. You want to look as presentable as possible. Join that club, talk to that professor, volunteer for events in what interests you. The more connections you make now will help you later on (especially in the job market).
3. You will change, everyone will change, and that’s OK. I never realized how much I had changed until I went home for the summer. I started clashing ideologies with my parents more because while I was at college I found out where my morals and ethics lie. Your first year is the first time you will truly think on your own. It may be completely different than when you first walked on campus, but that’s all part of growing up.
4. Look ahead. Please, please try and have some sort of idea what you want to major in. Even though you don’t have to declare does not mean you should take any classes your freshman year. The school year goes by very fast and you don’t want your sophomore year (when you have to declare) to sneak up on you with no game plan. Look at the classes that are being offered for the next semester. Even if you don’t know what you want to major in, take classes that interest you.
I wish you all the luck in finding yourself and what you enjoy within your first year.

 Alexis Dickerson is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a Teens & Twenties writer.

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