Heading into college, you’ve probably received countless bits of advice ranging from high school teachers advising you on behavior that college professors won’t tolerate to your parents or other adults encouraging you to take advantage of your youth and make the most of the college experience.
Through all the noise, it’s hard to decipher what’s helpful from what’s not. Here, three Daily Lobo editors have compiled their best advice, student-to-student, for those just starting out at the University of New Mexico.
Zara’s Advice: Don’t slack on your classes
Of course, college is many peoples’ first foray into the adult world. As such, it is easy to get lost in a previously unimaginable new world of freedoms and forget about your scholarly responsibilities along the way. While I fully understand the appeal of skipping classes and procrastinating on assignments, I can promise you that this will only lead to a never-ending cycle of suffering, torment and late-night sessions on the crappy chromebooks for rent at Zimmerman Library.
At the expense of sounding like somebody’s mother, remember to prioritize your school work — the reason you are at school in the first place. Once you get those assignments out of the way, you will be able to socialize and explore your interests free from the lingering, beastly shadow of seven overdue assignments and a midterm you neglected to study for.
Natalie’s advice: Be open
For many, the transition into college marks the beginning of adulthood. Some move out of their childhood homes to go to school down the street while some abandon all sense of familiarity and trek across the country in search of something new. As you navigate this new world, be open and dignified; you have so much to do, see and be proud of.
At times, it’s going to be terribly lonely and endlessly frightening, but so is most everything at first. In all you do, be open; cry when it hurts, laugh when it doesn’t and revel in those feelings. Be open to learning all sorts of things in and out of the classroom, from how to format a paper according to APA or make a gorgeous spreadsheet to how to cure a nasty hangover and stitch a broken heart.
There are going to be struggles you never would have imagined; college is nothing like high school, and freedom is not always as sweet as they say. University is for learning, of course, but not just for the sake of a good grade. Prioritize your health and sanity. Explore the burgeoning world around you as safely as you can, and seek help if it gets a little too rocky.
The only way to get what you want is to ask for it, to go for it. So do so with eyes wide open.
John’s Advice: Have willingness to change
To say that I’m a different person now compared to when I first started college would be an understatement. Coming out of high school and moving into a university environment, I found a large amount of the social pressures present in high school disappeared, giving way to a space where individual expression could genuinely thrive.
It was hard for me to change at first; my freshman year I changed my major from physics to English, shifting from a degree path that my parents would easily be proud of to something that would certainly make them wonder how I planned to make money after college. Still, this change was probably the most important thing I could have done for myself at the time as it helped me uncover passions and interests I never knew I had.
Ultimately, you may find yourself questioning whether or not you’re where you are meant to be. If that’s the case, take a second to ask yourself if it’s imposter syndrome or if it’s finally time to make that change you’ve been putting off for so long.
Starting something new is hard; just remember that there are plenty of students here at UNM all going through the same thing. We’re all just trying to get through this thing, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and start something new.
Zara Roy is the news editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @zarazzledazzle
Natalie Jude is the culture editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @natalaroni
John Scott is the editor-in-chief at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JScott050901