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By Claudia Larsen

So, it is your freshman year of college. You are 17-18 years old, and on your own for the first time, still trying to figure where you fit in and who you are going to be for the next four years of your life. Speaking as a freshman, I know the feeling well. We are all just trying to start our first year off right, but how do we do that?

First of all, do not be afraid to make new friends. Yes, it is a cheesy saying, but it has a good message. I am not the most “social butterfly” out there, but so far I have noticed that if you want to feel at home, you have to put yourself out there and meet some people. If not friends, then at least people in your classes who you can study with at later dates. Trust me, there is no harm in just introducing yourself and seeing where the conversation goes.

Next, get to know and hang out with your roommate. It is nearly impossible to live with someone you do not know, or do not even like. If you do not want a new friend in your roommate, be friendly regardless. If you get along okay, it makes the whole room feel more like home. I have seen it happen first-hand. If you end up not getting along, just set some boundaries. You two do have to live together all year, so try and make it bearable for one another.

For some people, experiencing great parties and going out is what college is all about. But, if you want to start off the year in a good rhythm, do not go out every night. Balance yourself out. Give yourself some nights off and go to sleep early. Your body cannot handle constant activity like nightly outings, so take it easy every once in a while. Sleep is a necessity, so at the least try to give yourself seven hours every night or you will start falling asleep in class, and no one wants that.

Lastly, and I cannot stress this one enough, go to class and do your work. Do not start off your first year by skipping classes and ignoring assignments. Professors all have different policies, but from what I have heard most of them involve losing points when you miss class and skip homework. Plus, this is certainly not the kind of first impression you want to make on your professors, who ultimately decide whether you receive credit for the course or not. If you manage your time right, making it to every class and completing the work should be a piece of cake. So start planning now.

If you do not want to listen to me, that is absolutely fine. I mean, I am a freshman too, so I myself do not know everything there is to know about college yet. But, just like you, I have been living here for a week and a half, and it is not hard to see what the good choices are, verses what the bad ones are.

Good luck Mount Saint Mary College Class of 2020! We will all be just fine, I am sure of it.