One of the biggest steps you take as a young adult is going to college. For the first time in your life, you are at a place where you have the freedom to make your own choices and be independent. It is your choice whether you eat junk food all day or keep up with your course load.
Before I started college, I had so many questions. Will I be able to fit into the environment? How am I going to adapt to this new life? How are the professors going to treat me like? How am I going to commute and balance my life? I started the first semester with all these questions but after a couple of weeks into the semester, I can assure you that I found most of the answers.
Things that I learned during my first semester mainly consisted of classes, commuting, student organizations and social life.
Classes: One of the first classes I walked into was my IDS 270 class with more than 150 students. I was terrified; my high school classes consisted of no more than 32 people. Don’t get intimated by other students; they are just as terrified as you. Make a conversation with the person sitting next to you. You never know how helpful they might be. Keep up with your classes; it is your responsibility to know when the assignments are due and no one is going to remind you about them. Finally do not skip classes, you will never what the professor actually said.
Commuting: If you ever here anyone saying commuting is easy, they are lying to you. Commuting is hard but it is definitely manageable. Commuting will certainly save you money but think of all the other things that you have to give up before deciding to commute. When selecting classes for a new semester, look at your bus/train schedule first. If you take Metra like me, keep in mind that you have to pay extra for the ticket every month. Also, download bus/train schedule apps on your smartphone--they will help you save time and get home faster.
Social life: Having a social life is hard when commuting because you are in a hurry to catch your express train or get a ride from your friend. You never get the time to go out with your friends in the evening, but saying that, you can always find a way to balance both commuting and socializing.
Student organizations: One of the best ways to get involved on campus and learn. Join a student org that you know you have the time for and be committed to it. It is also the best way to get to know your upperclassmen and get advice from them.
First semester has been a great learning experience and I could not have finished it successfully without my Business Scholars peers, advisors, friends, my Honors College Ambassador Alvin and my family. Thank you!
What did you learn during your first semester at UIC?