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By: Claudia Larsen

So, it’s your freshman year of college. You are 17-18 years old, on your own for the first time and still trying to figure out where you fit in and who you are going to be for the next four years of your life. Speaking as a Mount senior, I’ve been there and seen two other classes of freshmen go through the same thing. Everyone is just trying to start off their first year right, but how do you do that?

First of all, do not be afraid to make new friends. Yes, it’s a cheesy saying, but it does have a good message. I’m not the most “social butterfly” out there, but in my three years here I’ve 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’s 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 don’t know, or don’t even like. If you don’t want a new friend in your roommate, be friendly regardless. If you get along okay, it makes the room feel more like a home rather than a prison. 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, going out and partying is what college is all about. But, if you want to start off the year in a good rhythm, don’t go out every night. Balance yourself out: give yourself some nights off and go to sleep early. Your body can’t handle constant activity like nightly outings, so take it easy every once in a while. Sleep is a necessity, so at 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. Don’t start off your first year by skipping classes and ignoring assignments. Professors all have different policies, but from what I have experienced 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.