Tips for incoming freshmen: You get to choose your own destiny

One of the most helpful tips to making the transition from high school to college easier is making your space feel like home. Creating an atmosphere that feels like you will help you thrive in college. Annie Sorensen | Sun News Daily

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The transition from high school to college can be a tricky one for most freshmen students.

With bigger course loads, a new environment and more freedom, a student can be easily overwhelmed and quickly become unsure about continuing their college journey.

Here are five tips and things to know to help make your transition to college a little bit easier.

Use the resources

One of the keys to success in college is making sure you utilize all of the tools and resources given to you.

At Utah Tech University, there are many resources on campus to help students such as the Academic Performance Center, Writing Lab, the Career Services Center and the Booth Wellness Center. These resources are free for all students. Utilizing these resources is a great way to get good grades in classes or to help formulate a pathway to your future career.

Peer Coach Sierra Saul, a senior communication studies major from Glendale, said, “Start using resources like your academic adviser early on.”

You don’t have to wait till you have declared your major, are failing a class or are feeling discouraged before using these resources. The sooner you utilize these people and places on campus, the quicker you will be comfortable with them and the next four years will be a breeze.

You have to motivate yourself

When coming to college, there is going to be more freedom granted to you than when you were in high school.

You get to choose what classes you are enrolled in, what times they are at, if you are going to go to them or do your homework.

Cooper Cox, a freshman general studies major from St. George, said: “I was shocked that it was all up to me if I wanted to go to class and do my homework or not. The professors don’t nag at me to get it done and my parents aren’t home to kick me out and make sure I go to class. It was all up to me to get my work done.”

Your actions can influence your success, so you have to find ways to keep yourself motivated as professors will not do it for you and your parents aren’t around to force you.

Riley Goebel, a freshman general studies major from Houston, Texas, said: “Being able to stay out however late I wanted and make all my own decisions is a big responsibility. I had to crack down on my self and remember that I do need sleep to be successful and to get to my early classes.”

College is a place where you truly get to choose your own destiny.

Make your new environment feel like home

Peer Coach Ashley Critchlow, a senior psychology major from Salt Lake City, advises her freshman students to make their room and apartment feel like home and to get to know your roommates.

“Nearly everyone will experience homesickness some point in their college career,” Critchlow said. “Chances are your roommates will be feel homesick when you are, so use each other to help push through those feelings.”

Another tip to making your new environment to feel like home is decorating your room to reflect your hometown bedroom. Put of photos of your friends and family, use the same color bedding or add a small rug in order to create a space that feel more familiar and inviting. Your bedroom should be a safe space for you, so make it distinct that it is your room.

A college campus is already an environment that you will have to get use to, so make sure to put time into making your apartment into a place that you feel comfortable and safe in.

Get involved

Long gone are the days that it was “lame” to be the loudest cheering at the sporting event or the most dressed up for an activity because in college that is exactly how you want to be. Being involved and an active student on campus is a make-it or break-it point for the potential fun you could have.

Choosing to be active on campus is the first way that you are going to meet new people and hopefully life-long friends. Utah Tech holds an event every night at the beginning of the school year to help with the transition for all students.

“One of the most helpful things that allowed me to adapt to this new environment was the events that happened the first week of school,” Goebel said. “They were a great way to go out of my apartment, do something different and meet new people.”

To ensure that you find your place on campus, join a club, apply for a job on campus, volunteer with Utah Tech Student Association or just be a regular at school functions. You get out what you put in when it comes to college, so if you put in the effort to get involved and make new friends, then you will succeed in doing so.

You are not going to know everything and that’s OK

Believe it or not, the movies and TV shows do not depict college accurately. There are going to be hard days, boring classes and moments of confusion.

Don’t be too prideful to ask for help from peers, mentors, professors or administration. There are so many people at Utah Tech that are specifically here to help you succeed. These seasoned students and employees will have most of the answers to the questions you face, especially in your first year.

Your frustration will mostly likely lessen if you accept and seek out help from others.

Do not expect that every day is going to be easy and magical. Even Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde” learned the realities of going to college means that there are hard days and people you may not like.

There is no breaking out into song and dance, but there are still plenty opportunities for fun and personal growth if you are willing to embrace new experiences and accept changes.

The transition to college can be a rocky one, but it can be smoother if you use resources, get involved, ask for help and find ways to stay motivated.

“Just keep grinding and have fun dadgummit, you’re only in college once,” Cox said.