By Xhulia Gjokaj.
College is a formative stage for everyone; freshman year in particular is the most crucial year of your undergraduate career.
This is an exciting time to discover your strengths. For those who have not chosen a major, there is room to explore. The Freshman Year Initiative (FYI), a program dedicated to offering first-year students support and structure, is designed to help students feel more confident in the classes they choose.
If you have a specific career path in mind, do not limit yourself. Allow room for expansion and remember to always keep an open mind.
According to Alexis Samuels, a sophomore, “College is a wake up call. You really are the only person you have to rely on when it comes to doing your work. You’re in charge of everything and that responsibility is a lot bigger than it seems. It’s really important to be friendly and join clubs. They’re a great way to meet friends. Really try to not miss class, you really do learn a lot in one day. Overall, be yourself and enjoy the time. Your freshman year goes by so quickly.”
As a freshman, it is okay to not worry too much about your major at first. There are three more years to figure out which major to choose. However, when it comes time to do so, make sure you’ve thoroughly researched it and most importantly, make sure you love it.
Consider these five tips for a successful freshman year:
1) Start strong. Your main priority is to do well in your classes.
Lehman sophomore, Justin Perez, advises students to “prioritize. Classes always come first, everything else is a second priority.” Freshman year can be overwhelming and challenging, but Lehman offers several programs and has centers that are dedicating to helping students throughout their journey through college. One of such centers is the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) located in the Old Gym Building, room 205. ACE offers workshops and tutoring for all students who want to improve their skills in writing, social sciences and humanities subject areas.
2) Once you have created your schedule, make sure to show up to class.
This may seem obvious, but showing up to class will help you understand more of what the professor requires from you to do well in the class. It is also important to take precise notes and to listen to what the professor emphasizes. If you can, ditch the laptop and hand write your notes because it strengthens the learning process and improves retention.
3) Create a study schedule.
A consistent study schedule will make a huge difference! If you establish a daily routine where you study in the same place for one hour (two, three, or four), you will not have to wait until exam time to study. Instead, sharpen your skills in that subject days before the exam.
“For time management: minimize distractions, and prioritize the things you need to get done. I find that writing a “to do” list helps. As for study tips, the best way to get ahead is to get started. So begin your studying as soon as you can, and as much as you can,” said Ricardo Gomez a junior.
The Leonard Lief Library is a resourceful and convenient place to study with minimal to no distractions. The cubicles are designed for getting away from distractions and are comfortable spots get some good studying in.
Find a routine that works for you and stick to it.
Whether through an academic club, a sports team, or any recreational club, it is one of the best ways to meet new people and socialize. Clubs are always looking for new members, so seek a club that appeals to you and do not be afraid to join. You will not regret it. Lehman College has over 62 clubs including the Lehman Knights Chess Club (Lehman Knights), the Philosophy Club and the Urban Male Leadership Program (UMLP).
Ashley Apparbal, a sophomore, stated, “On making friends: please have a diverse group – you learn so much about different cultures. Don’t be shy to introduce yourself to others! This is honestly how some of the best connections are made. I try to have friends in every class; this helps with studying and makes the time go by faster. Have lunch in the Carman café (their salads are the best), the music building, on the quad – you meet and see the weirdest and coolest things there.”
5) Do not be afraid of your professors.
They are only there to help you. If you are having any issues with class, you must set time aside to meet with your professor and discuss what you are having trouble with.
According to junior, Jadie Meprivert, “Meeting with your professors is crucial; always going to office hours – even if it’s to just talk about yourself – getting acquainted with them plays a huge role because if you need someone to write a letter of recommendation, they are the ones who help you.”
6) Most importantly – relax.
There may be times where you will be inundated by homework and exams, but it is crucial to take things one at a time. Prioritize and avoid procrastination as much as possible. Creating a balance between personal time and school time helps to avoid procrastination and instill consistency, but also gives you time to unwind and ease yourself from stress. Set some time for you – read a non-academic book, watch Netflix, blog on Tumblr, go to the gym – just do something that will help you clear your mind and recharge.
Granted, many students work, have families to care for, go to school and have other compromises causing the balance of academic studies and life to get a bit stressful. Lehman offers the Counseling Center in the Old Gym Building in room 114. The center offers free therapy that is confidential in which students can express themselves to a counselor. The Counseling Center also offers a workshop called Lehman G.P.S. (goals, priorities, success) which helps transfer and freshmen students create short and long term goals to get to graduation on time.
Freshman year is all about perspective. Enter college with a positive attitude; the first step into your classroom is the first step into the real world. Do not be afraid to explore and step out of your comfort zone. Set time for family, friends, school, work and especially yourself in order to have a successful and memorable freshman year.
Originally published on the Lehman College Meridian