The first year – jumping in
Everyone experiences it, you remember, the very first time you jump into the pool. Its warm outside, and you can’t wait to get in. The anxiety and joy almost over runs you – I mean hey you’re starting a new part of your life you should be excited. You know before you jump it’s going to be cold. You look to your peers noticing some move slowly, dipping their toes in, while others just go for it. Whichever option you choose, your first year in college takes some time to get used to. You meet new people, some due to proximity while others you show a genuine interest in. One of the biggest differences, is you have to learn how to manage a great deal of free time effectively. Yet most importantly, you get to restart, be the person you want to be, perhaps not the one you were in high school.
You begin to experience new classes, come midterms you’ll realize they require a different approach than what you’re used to. Think about when you first learned to swim, likely the doggy paddle was easiest, but certainly not the most efficient. Making those adjustments (not just in class, but in life) are what’s most important about your first year. Just like your body temperature adjusts to the water and you eventually become comfortable, you will figure it out. Give it some time, take a deep breath, and realize what’s important to you.
Some of your new friends will not make this adjustment and they will continue to struggle. That’s okay: swimming isn’t for everybody. During your first year you need to learn as much about yourself as possible, meet as many new people as possible, and keep your head above water (in your classes and personal life).
Another important step in this time is to find a coach (or mentor if you don’t like my metaphor). It could be a professor, an upperclassman, or a professional in the community, but finding a coach who is willing to share with you their insight and call you out when you are wrong is crucial to the next four years of your life. I was fortunate enough to find one whom I can’t thank enough, and I guarantee you can do it to.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for part 3 tomorrow!
My first year was capped off by living on a great dorm floor. I met some of the people who became some of my best friends throughout this experience. I struggled at first during classes, but made the adjustments and turned out just fine. A key to that success was jumping into leadership positions on campus – they introduce you to new people and expand your campus reach exponentially. All in all, my first year was a great experience – but I don’t think I would go back and do it again.