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How To Thrive In Your First Year of College

Dear Rising College Freshman,


First, congratulations! Graduating high school is a crazy thing and essentially ushers you into your next journey of life: adulthood. Whether you are moving far away or staying local, college brings about many changes in your life. Personally, I am attending James Madison University and entering my senior year. There is a lot I have learned about myself through these three amazing years. There are a few things I believe that every freshman should know in order to thrive during your first year of college:


Place yourself on a schedule:

High school is much different than college. In high school, your schedule is set for you. Essentially with transportation that takes up 40 hours a week! In college, if you take a typical credit load that only adds up to 15 hours. What it boils down to is that you have so much free time on your hands. If you are not careful, you can end up wasting this time away! A good way around this is to put yourself on a set schedule. You can factor in professor’s office hours, study time, class, and of course time for some fun! Just being on a schedule and holding yourself accountable. This is my recipe for success.


Get to know your professors:

Don’t believe everything your high school teachers have told you about college professors. Sadly there are some professors that are rude and unbearable, but a lot of professors are really nice! That is why it is so important for you to get to know your professors. Most want to see their students thrive and succeed both inside and outside of the classroom. Some professors actually beg for students to come visit them during office hours. That is how much they want to help you in every way possible. Just always remember, a professor’s job is to help you succeed.


Meet as many people as possible:

College is just such a unique place, however everyone there has at least one thing in common: to advance their education. That is part of the reason it is a great idea to try to meet people not only in your dorm but also across majors and years. A great way people do this is by getting involved in various clubs, greek life, and/or volunteering. You will meet your greatest of friends this way and make lifelong connections that you will cherish forever.


It’s okay to take breaks:

The biggest thing for me is knowing when I need to relax. Especially during exam week or that final week before a massive project is due, it is very typical to see me more than stressed out. I have learned through my three years at JMU that I need to walk away and just take a few minutes to an hour break every once and awhile. For me at least, if I don’t walk away, I end up just getting frustrated. Just a few minutes is enough time to clear your head and allow yourself a fresh perspective on whatever the challenge is.


And finally……

Call your family:

They will appreciate this more than you can ever imagine. Plus, they may even send you care packages (which are the best).

I hope your first year is full of success, bliss, and memories. Don’t let your first year go to waste; enjoy every last minute.

~Morgan Cunningham

James Madison University Class of 2019

Marketing & Social Media


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