Freshman guide: 5 tips for a great first year

It is important for college students to prioritize a planner. It makes the work easier to handle. Elissa Aguayo | Sun News Daily

Share This:

School has started and that means stress has started as well.

With this semester having the largest incoming freshman class at Utah Tech University, here are five tips to ensure your success in college.

College can be a scary, yet exciting time. Each student can expect to face some challenges, but here are some tips and tricks that current students and instructors advise to help with the transition

  1. Planning is essential

In order to balance everything that comes with being a college student, planning is a crucial part of finding success. Utilizing planners, calendars and planning apps help students stay organized and on top of their studies. Prioritizing your schedule allows you to find extra time to do what you need and want to do. 

“Stay on top of your studies,” said Peer Coach Kevin Sanchez-Colocho, a junior psychology major from St. George. “If you do, you will find it easy to have time for work, events on campus or yourself. Once your school work is done you have free rein to do whatever.”

Check Canvas for the assignments that are due. Keep your course syllabus handy so that you know the schedule for the semester. When in doubt, plan it out. Time is non-renewable, so it is important to use it wisely. 

  1. Procrastination is never be the answer

According to the American Psychology Association, procrastination is a “tough habit to break.” Following deadlines and not waiting until the last minute goes hand-in-hand with planning out assignments and important tasks. Stress will grow if you are not on top of your assignments. APA also said that late in the semester “procrastinators reported higher stress and more illness.” Procrastination can affect more areas of your life than just school assignments, such as the time you take to go to events, make friends and take advantage of opportunities. 

Peer Coach Brie Freeman, a sophomore mathematics major from Ontario, California said, “Do not wait to do things. Not only should you not procrastinate homework but don’t wait to go to events or register. Waiting just stalls the fun you could have or limit what you can do.”

If you are an avid procrastinator, be strict on your to-do lists for the day and week. Find ways to motivate yourself, maybe go to Swig after completing a tough assignment.

  1. Make time for yourself

“Make time for yourself, ” said Peer Coach Luke Shadden, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Ventura, California. “Don’t just try to sit down and study for hours on end. You won’t be as successful as compared to times when you make breaks for yourself.”

Making time for yourself is a great way to make sure your mental health does not worsen in this new environment. Your productivity will only be at its max potential if you are in a good mental headspace. Take breaks from school and go hammock by Campus View Suites II, play sand volleyball, or hot tub at the Human Performance Center.

College is all about finding a balance with your time and life activities. Studying, working and socializing is all part of a tricky balancing act. Too much time of one of those areas can stop you from being successful. Focusing on school work is important but so is taking care of your well-being.

  1. Get out of your comfort zone

Matt Devore, director of student outreach services, said the most important thing new freshman students can do is “get out of your comfort zone.” He said he believes that, “when students come to college they think friends and success come instantly. It takes time to make those friends. You have to go find them, they aren’t going to come to you.”

College is a new chapter in your life, and you have to write your own chapter. It takes effort in order to find your niche on campus.

Join one of the 60 clubs on campus, like the pickleball or astronomy club. Join or volunteer with student government, Stampede, the Center for Inclusion and Belonging, or other organizations. Sign up to play on an intramural team. Find a job on campus at the Human Performance Center or dining services. Getting out of your comfort zone can help you learn more about yourself, your passions and talents you didn’t know you had.

  1. Remember why you chose to be here

When hard times come during your time at college, it is important to remember the bigger picture and the end goal that you have for yourself. The difficulties you face are all part of the journey to a bigger end goal.

The instructors and resources on campus are here to help bring success to the students. Make sure to visit your academic adviser, the career services staff, or the tutoring center for help. During times of struggle, reach out. Accept the help. Write down your goals and the reasons you chose to be at Utah Tech and actively find ways to work toward achieving those goals.