What I Wish I'd Known When I Graduated High School...
The best advice from college students.
The transition from high school to college is a scary one, so we understand if anyone graduating this year is a little freaked out. Been there, done that. But it doesn’t have to be quite as intimidating as you think. Just ask our own (very smart) Clover readers, all of whom have successfully done it. Now, they're passed their wisdom along to you—aka, all the stuff they wish they had known earlier. Read it below, and then check back for part two tomorrow.
Homesickness is real. There's nothing wrong with calling your mom or brother or best friend once (or more times) a day if you're really missing them. There's also nothing wrong with reaching out to a professor or RA if you need help. There are always people around who care about you and who want to help you do your best. Don't be afraid of being judged, because everyone goes through being homesick. Sometimes it doesn't hit until later in the semester, but just know that there are people who want to help you succeed. Also always know that you're strong enough to get through anything, and you're going to be amazing. —Angela, 21, Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia
Be assertive. Don't forget to introduce yourself! And speak up in class. Studies have shown that students who speak up more have better grades. Don't be afraid to email your professor when you're struggling to keep up. They will help you out whether it's an extension on a project/test/etc or just bump up your grade a couple points! —Serena, 24, University of North Texas Alumni
Meet friends before you go. My best advice for making the college transition easier is to get to know some of your future classmates over the summer before school starts. It's really nice heading into freshman year already knowing some people--even if you only get to know them over Facebook or via text. If you have the opportunity, try to meet up with some people and spend part of your summer grabbing dinner or just hanging out with them. This will make you feel much more comfortable during the first few weeks of school. Sometimes it can feel awkward reaching out to people you don't know, but trust me: Everyone wants to get to know people and they are just too nervous to make the first move. —Rachel, 18, Northwestern University
Seek out a study spot. Find a space to establish as your study space, whether that be your desk in your dorm room, a specific table in the library or the cafe in the campus center. Having a set place where you know you study best will help you focus and provide some structure to a new schedule with no built in study halls like you may have had in high school. —Madison Cassidy, 19, Bryn Mawr College
Friendships may change. You might begin to grow apart from some of the friends you've had for years, and while it's going to hurt, that's OK. College is a time to grow and learn about yourself, and you may find that some people from high school and childhood don't necessarily fit with the person you become. You'll make new friends, and the people who support you in all of your endeavors are the ones who are meant to stay in your life. — Angela, 21, Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia