No matter how much you think you have life figured out after graduating from high school, education and personal growth are two things that never stop.
College will certainly bring unforeseen changes to your life, but with some preparation, you can tackle your new reality head-on. Read on for some advice from The Daily Nebraskan’s editors to smooth this transition from high school and childhood to college and adult life.
Sydney Ozuna, opinion editor - It’s OK if you don’t make friends right away
I’ve always been a super outgoing person, so even though I was from out of state, making friends wasn’t something I worried about when I came to UNL.
It came as a big shock to me when I didn’t seem to connect with any of the people I was meeting. As I watched the people around me go out with friends and form circles I felt left out and unwanted, something I was not used to feeling. I didn’t understand how everyone else seemed to be having a great time while I was struggling to make any headway in my social life. I soon realized everyone has trouble making friends, no matter how competent they appear.
Some people may find friends quickly who end up fizzling out before finding a solid group of pals, others slowly find people with whom they associate and their circle slowly grows.
However you find your people, remember it’s hard for everyone. Do what you feel comfortable with, and don’t worry too much — you’ll find them.
John Reel, assistant culture editor - Keep your mind focused on academics
If there’s one thing I can recommend to an incoming freshman, it’s to always stay grounded in academics. It will be easy to get swept up in the fun and distractions college life provides, especially in the first few months.
But you have to remember why you’re paying thousands of dollars a year; you’re getting an education. Always make sure you’re doing everything to keep your grades high.
Start on work well before the deadline, become friends with others in your class, take advantage of your professor’s office hours and meet with your academic advisor whenever you can.
You’ll find that losing track of assignments, classes and deadlines can lead to a lot of stress. However, by keeping your focus on your schoolwork, you can avoid all that trouble in the first place.
Sam Crisler, senior culture editor - Find a comfortable study spot
When I lived in University Suites my freshman year, I relied on the study room directly across the hall from my dorm as a quiet spot to trudge through the mountains of homework from my 100-level courses.
The room looked out onto R Street from five floors above and was usually silent, checking off most of the boxes for my ideal study space.
The only problem was I had to compete with hundreds of other students on my floor for the room. I couldn’t study efficiently if I didn’t have the room to myself, so I had to go searching.
I tried the Nebraska Union, but it was too noisy. I tried the stacks in Love Library South, but finding a desk there was about as probable as checking out at the bookstore without standing in line.
To find a study spot to call your own, you’re going to have to hunt off the beaten path. Explore the nooks and crannies in every building until you find something that fits your study style. You never know where desks might be hidden. My favorite study spot these days is a table facing the wall at the end of a third-floor hallway in Anderson Hall, but don’t tell anyone — it’s mine.
Ben Buchnat, engagement editor - Go to class
Seriously, I don’t mean to sound like your mom here, but going to class is the easiest way to be successful. I totally understand the appeal of having the freedom to skip class, but then you’re wasting your money.
Skipping class is a habit that’s very hard to break, so don’t let it start. Going to class will put you above your peers who aren’t strong enough to resist the temptation. Get out of bed. Get in that lecture hall.
Karissa Schmidt, senior photo/video editor - Take time to call your loved ones
If my parents were to grade me on how well I keep in touch while I’m away at college, I would probably receive a solid C-. I often get so wrapped up in my college life that I forget to call home every once in awhile.
Through this past year of very limited calls to my parents, I learned you shouldn’t feel ashamed to call your family and update them on your life. If you’re like me, your parents probably pay for your college, food and housing. The least you can do is send some pictures, a short little text or give them a call to just tell them how much fun you are having at school.
It will make them feel better and may relieve some of their worries. Now, please excuse me while I go give my mom and dad a call.
Ben Larsen, managing editor - Get to know your professors
I believe the entire college experience can be boiled down to three discoveries: obviously the academic adventure, full of late nights and caffeine-induced panic; life lessons, usually learned the hard way; and the mid-college crisis, the realization you have no idea what to do post-graduation.
Good professors can help in all those areas. It might seem weird at first, but take the time and talk to your professors the first day of class. If you’re busy, swing by during their office hours.
Many are the resident experts in their fields, and it’s not every day that you have the opportunity to learn about a discipline from the person who created it.
They also tend to be in the loop when it comes to internship and undergraduate research opportunities. On top of that, most are just fantastic, interesting people. Even if you don’t click with a professor, hopefully they’ll be able to help you ace your statistics exam.
Mia Everding, assistant news editor - Make time to find yourself
As cheesy as this sounds, college is a time of huge change, and it's easy to lose sight of yourself. It's easier near the beginning of the semester to stay focused on school and find a group of friends, but the end of the semester is incredibly stressful.
It's easy to lose yourself in all the chaos that surrounds dead and finals weeks. Be sure to find time to slow down and focus on yourself, whether it's taking a bath and watching “Parks and Rec,” treating yourself to a nice dinner at the end of the week, going for a walk and listening to music or allowing yourself to sleep in on Saturday morning.
John Grinvalds, assistant news editor - Be ready for change
College’s rose of freedom is not without its thorns. For many of you, the emancipation from parental edicts will come as a sigh of relief, like the blossoming of a flower after a winter chill.
But a college education is much more than a form of escapism. Coming to college means being thrown into a tempest of new responsibilities and a battleground of radical ideas.
You’ll be pushed much further academically than you ever have been, but you’ll also procrastinate with a vigor you never thought possible. You’ll oscillate between relaxing late-night discussions and stressful early-morning study sessions for a quiz that must’ve slipped your mind.
Be ready for dramatic changes in your surroundings and for more subtle changes in yourself. Embrace them. Adapt to them. That’s what these four or five or six years are all about.