Freshman year! These two words send out mixed feelings among students. Some students are eagerly waiting for that day to “go off to college,” while others get chills down their spine at the thought of leaving their homes. Either way, this year is a “fresh” start to a new life that can mould your personality and define your career.
So how do you make the most of your freshman year and reap from this big opportunity? Here are some tips.
Break the wall
This one is especially for those students who grew up shy and would hesitate to have even simple conversations. Yes, INTROVERTS. There’s no harm in being one, but at times, you must step out of your comfort zone to get noticed. The world is judgemental and the ones who are quiet are usually misunderstood to be antisocial or are written off as stupid. Don’t let them ignore you. Speak up when necessary and prove your worth to the right people. Don’t shy away from public appearances and take those chances to showcase your talents.
Plan ahead during freshman year
When going into the freshman year, you must have a plan drawn up for the next three years. Yes. It’s very crucial to analyze the various options and career openings that will come by and the milestones that’ll help you get there. It could be a simple debate, a presentation, add-on certifications, working at a community event or a chance to head a college committee. They all count as notable milestones in your college life and help you grab the attention of your superiors (professors, dean, or influential chief guests) who could help you enhance your career goals.
Be tech savvy
Technological skills are highly appreciated by potential employers. Students must stay on course with evolving technology as it helps a lot in getting work done (assignments, experiments, research, etc.) quickly and in the most effective way. Bookmark important blogs to read, download handy tools and mobile apps to get your work done over the internet. Also, be active on social media and build a positive online persona. Remove inappropriate content and media that will ruin your reputation. For example, having a visual presentation of your achievements and an active profile on Linkedin is a lot more valuable than a traditional resume.
College is a blend of academics, extracurricular activities and social life. It’s important to define your study style right from the freshman year to be proactive.
You must study regularly and avoid slogging at the very end. For example, If you like studying in a group, look around for people who do the same. Keep your discussions active using Google Groups. If you like testing yourself, download test papers from the university website, and sign up for online quizzes. If you like making your own notes (most effective way), use online tools like Flipboard or make flashcards with Cram to memorize hard concepts. Draw up a timetable and note down important dates (tests, submissions, college fests etc.) and plan your schedule around it.
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Look for internships
Start sourcing for internships mid-way through your freshman year. Apply to as many good enterprises as possible that are best suited for enhancing your skills. A summer internship certificate is very valuable and makes it easier to get another one post your sophomore year. These two certificates qualify as hands-on experience and provide a good backing to your primary graduate degree. Get in touch with your professors to help you with recommendations if necessary. The competition is tough out there. Do your best to get the right internships at the right time.
Read, read and read
There is no alternative to knowledge and reading bridges this gap between knowing and not knowing. To know facts means to stay abreast with current affairs and widen your horizon beyond classroom education. It reflects your personality and self-confidence. Search for books, blogs, research based essays and even news articles that are informative and that aid you with your curriculum. For example, an interesting fact is that 92 percent of college students still prefer printed books over e-books. Want to know why? Google it.
College is your early chance to pursue your dreams and the freshman year is the doorstep to a new beginning. It can be really hard to complete your college education. You must realize its importance and use this opportunity well to define your personality.
Further reading: Books Students Should Read in College
Ethan Miller is an ESL tutor. He loves to write and holds a degree in Creative Writing. When he is not teaching or writing his book, Miller loves blogging and is a huge fan of educational technology. You can follow him on Facebook and check out his blog.