Advice for Incoming First-Year Students - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)
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Campus Life College Preparation
July 22, 2022

Advice for Incoming First-Year Students

The moment you walk on campus your first year, a great adventure begins. Admittedly, starting college out freshman year, I was brought to the realization that life was going to be incredibly different. I had just left high school at the top of the education food chain so to say, a senior. I knew so much about high school, I knew the people, the classes, the workload, and the teachers. I had accomplished great things in my mind as I advanced all the way from kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Suddenly, after three months of summer, I changed from an accomplished graduating high school senior to a brand spanking new college freshman. With a new journey ahead of me, I was left with one prominent question that I believe every college student at any stage in their educational walk should consider: How do you make the most of time?

From the second I began college classes freshman year, it seemed like everything I knew about life had changed. Everything was unpredictable and somewhat intimidating. As a high schooler looking on toward your first semester of college, there are a lot of unknowns out there.

Many questions and fears entered my mind. Will I be able to handle the workload? Is college harder then high school? What is living away from home going to be like? Just as soon as these questions flooded in, they were answered. Before I knew it, freshman year was over and sophomore year began.

Freshman year, the college experience was all new, there was no previous knowledge about how to succeed or how to get the most out of your time on campus. Everything was a little intimidating, yet incredibly exciting. With freshman year down, sophomore year was a little more predictable. I felt more knowledgeable about what to expect in a college classroom and was ready to take on what the semester brought.

Because the newness of college life wore off by this point, I entered what many people refer to as “the sophomore slump.” This odd phenomenon happens sophomore year and is a true test of endurance. With one year down, three years seemed like a long time until graduation. Despite my predicament, sophomore year was a great time in learning to persevere, meeting new people, and stretching myself educationally.

By the time junior year hit, I was exhausted. The past two years of college were a great experience. I became more knowledgeable in understanding my preferred learning style, when and how to go about completing assignments, and had acquired quite a few friends. I was on the downhill of my college career at this point and was ready to ride it out till senior year.

Unfortunately, once one progresses to the status of “upperclassman,” it is not uncommon to get hit with a few curve balls once in a while. Internships began, work hours commenced, and the class load seemed to get heavier. While there were many things that I enjoyed during these two short semesters of junior year, I felt like college would never end. Would it last forever? The sad thing is, nothing lasts forever and before I knew it, I was waving my college friends goodbye in May.

Looking back at junior year, I realized that while it was difficult, there was so much good to look back on, so much learning accomplished, and so many experiences behind me. My two semesters as a junior were invaluable. By the time it was finished, it hit me, I had one year left.

Like freshman, sophomore and junior year, senior year approached speedily. The sensation of progressing through senior year is bittersweet. It is sweet because I finally have reached my last year at college, the finish line of my pursuit for my undergraduate degree. Yet, it is also bitter because I know that from the moment senior year began, I will have blinked a couple of times and it will all be over. May will come, my classmates and I will walk down the aisle for graduation and receive our degrees.

The many friends and experiences that I made while at college will only last in my memory. It will then be time to move beyond the familiar campus I have known for four years and discover what job opportunities await me.

The point of this blog is not to bore you with the various details of my college career, although I hope you found them relatable. My point lies in answering the question I asked as a freshman: How do you make the most of time? Or looking at it from a senior’s perspective: Did I use my time wisely?

Time is indeed a funny thing. Sometimes we wish for time to pass quickly, other times we wish we had the ability to stop it so we can enjoy it longer. As a freshman, I was told that I would blink, and senior year would be over. While they were very right, I like to put it in a different light. Four years of college is just that, four years. It sounds long but it goes by incredibly fast. If you made a timeline of your journey through college, what details would lie in between that four-year period? What did you accomplish? Who did you meet? What did you do? Where did you travel or visit?

Sometimes college brings many pressures to get a move on and complete as many things as we possibly can. While it is important to remain productive and on top of your educational endeavors, there is so much more to experience and learn in college.

Time is a gift and is one that continues to be given. When you’re given a gift such as this, it should be used for a great purpose. Whether a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior, I encourage you to continue through your college journey with enthusiasm. You already established these four years as a set time to pursue a higher education. Fill that time with absolutely anything and everything you would like to accomplish and experience. Enjoy every moment of those seemingly short four years you attend college so that the day you walk down that aisle for graduation, you can know full well that each moment was filled with incredible and unforgettable experiences.

- Abby Forton ‘22

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Photo by Elizeu Dias on Unsplash