Tips and tricks for a stellar freshman year 

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The first year in a new setting can be overwhelming. It brings a different atmosphere, a different set of people and new challenges to face. Change can oftentimes bring feelings of discomfort, but as an incoming senior, I can assure you there is nothing to worry about. Over my past three years at the University of Connecticut, I have followed several tips that have helped me both academically, socially and personally. Here are just a few things to keep in mind as you embark on this new journey. 

Attend the Involvement Fair 

The easiest way to become immediately involved is to attend the Involvement Fair. Every September, all different clubs on campus set up stands on Fairfield Way where students can pass by and have the opportunity to join. Believe it or not, that’s how I got involved with the Daily Campus my freshman year. Not only is everyone welcoming and friendly, but it also gives you an opportunity to meet people interested in all different areas of campus life. 

Utilize W & Q Center 

UConn has two tutoring centers: the Q Center and the W Center. As hinted by their names, the Q Center is to help students struggling with math-based subjects, while the W Center is for writing help. One can visit the Q Center for direct peer tutoring, review sessions before an exam or application of new learning tools. At the W Center, student tutors are not only there to help you with revisions, but can also assist in brainstorming, first draft revisions and more. 

Organize Yourself

I am a bit of an organizational freak, but I swear, it really changes the game. I personally use three methods of staying organized that I highly recommend: Google Calendar, a physical agenda and Google Drive. In my Google Calendar, I create a calendar for every single one of my classes and time consuming commitments: work, clubs, hobbies. I then begin to color-code and time-match everything with my academic schedule. On my paper agenda, I keep track of homework assignments and upcoming due dates. This prevents me from forgetting about tasks and getting sidetracked. In my Google Drive, I have everything organized into folders so that a document never goes missing. This trifecta is one that works wonders. 

Create A Routine 

Along with keeping your academics organized, it’s also important to live an organized lifestyle. I achieve this by creating routines that work for both my schedule and mental wellbeing. For example, if you are not a nightowl, try to block out a few hours in the morning for homework and other tasks. This way, you do not have the burden of having to complete work when you are not operating at your highest potential. If you have your first class at 9 a.m., and then next at noon, try to find a quiet space where you can stay on campus and be productive. Eventually, your body will become accustomed to checking things off the to-do list during that time. 

Prioritize Mental Health 

While of course it’s important to be trying your best in all areas of collegiate life, it is equally important to prioritize your mental health. Adjusting to change can be difficult, especially in the current state of the world. If you notice yourself starting to burn out or feeling extremely overwhelmed, take a step back and take care of yourself first. There’s valuable resources available on campus through Student Health and Wellness, such as counseling or mediation services. 

A new year in a new place is exciting. While of course it’s normal to be nervous, remember that time teaches you everything and every new experience offers you an opportunity to grow.  

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