The Freshman Starter Pack: A Guide to Surviving the First-Year Landmine (Part 3)

Only a few weeks left until the first day!


Several of the students I know, including myself, admitted to stressing themselves out when it came to the idea of going to college. These are some of the scenarios you can prepare for during your first week:

  • Expectation Vs. Reality: Nothing is ever really the way you imagine it to be. So, stop painting scenes in your head about how college is going to be. I can almost guarantee you that it will never be the same thing as the real deal and you’ll have stressed over a mental image that has no reality to it.
  • Parents: Parents can be two of the most supporting figures in your life. However, sometimes that little bit of pressure they add can tip the scales. When that happens, try to understand where they’re coming from and communicate to them that maybe you’re giving it your all. If this is the usual case of major selection; that you want things to go in one direction and your parents want another direction. Just talk to them and be clear with your reasons. They’re your parents; they’ll understand.
  • Personal Pressure: Don’t spread yourself too thin. You can’t do everything all at once, do it perfectly, and keep track of how you’re feeling throughout this process. Try to step back and take note of how you’re mentally doing; it will save you from burning out.


The dreaded “burnout”. That phase where you feel like chucking your books across the room and binge watching “Friends” till 4 am. Happens seasonally AKA during midterms and finals. You can’t exactly stop it, but what you can do, is try to curb it. Here’s some of the tips that help:

  • Save the power study sessions: Powering through eight chapters is great, but if it will cost you the rest of the chapters, then it’s detrimental. When burning out, try to study less chapters per day or week. You’ll still be studying and you won’t feel like setting fire to your notes the day after.
  • Watch something currently airing: You know that “Friends” stopped airing years ago and you know there’s ten seasons to get through. That will only take you deeper down the rabbit hole. Instead, try picking something that is currently on air; you’ll have to get episode by episode each week and avoid those binge-watching sessions all while enjoying your favorite show.
  • Change scenery: Maybe your desk isn’t working for you anymore. Try studying in different places; library, gardens…etc.
  • Adjust your goals: Try to adjust your goals to fit you. If you can hardly finish two chapters a day, then adjust it to one. The important thing to remember is to keep the habit of studying.

I was going to title this conclusion, as one friend suggested, “CHILL,” and that’s basically the ultimate tip. Even after the mayhem of your first year, you keep on tailoring yourself to fit impossible expectations and this is where things start to go downhill. Know yourself- likes and dislikes, limits, attitude- and tailor your life to fit you. Take your time to explore your surroundings and take all that you want from it. I can’t guarantee that this struggle will end after your first year but  that’s what the college experience is all about; finding that delicate balance while dodging the landmines. May the odds be ever in your favor!