Lessons of my first semester

So far, my first-year experience has been everything I imagined it would be. I feel like I’m settling into a routine and becoming a mature, independent college student. However, just as I’m finally getting the hang of things at Geneseo, my first semester of my freshman year is coming to a close. The adjustment from high school to college has not been easy, but I have learned some helpful life lessons along the way that I would like to share.

One valuable lesson is time management and balancing school work with my hobbies. In the midst of a stressful fall, it’s critical to find time to enjoy myself. Getting my assignments done on time and studying properly to ensure that I do well in classes, as well as having fun with friends and maintaining a social life, takes work. However, once a happy medium was obtained (about halfway through the semester, but better late than never!), I’m able to say that I hit my stride. With all of the activities and campus events for students, deadlines and exams come up closer than you realize. From the first unit test, essay, or quiz to the next, the days fly by, and you will need to avoid procrastination. I, for one, learned this lesson the hard way. Without your parents reminding you to be productive and prioritize school work, it’s simple to put an assignment on the back burner and tell yourself you will “just do it later,” knowing that you won’t want to complete it then either. I fell victim to this bad habit by scrambling to finish my work right before the due date at the beginning of the semester. Now, I’ve conditioned myself to get a jump start on assignments, which alleviates a lot of stress that tends to build up as deadlines approach. One strategy I’ve used is setting a timer on my phone for 30 minutes to block out uninterrupted work time, then allowing myself a 10-minute break after that timer goes off, then repeating until my work has been completed.

Another lesson I’ve learned is the importance of putting yourself out there. As a member of the volleyball team, I was lucky enough to enter college with a built-in friend group, but that didn’t stop me from continuing to make friends with people in my dorm or in my classes. This can be tough for a majority of freshmen, but once you find a solid group of friends, you won’t regret taking that leap of faith. Although my first semester of college is almost over, I’m not leaving empty-handed—I will take all the lessons I’ve learned here so far with me, and I hope you will, too.

College bucket list

So far being a first-year at SUNY Geneseo has been a positive experience. I’m very lucky to have already made a lot of close friends, and thankfully I enjoy the majority of my classes. Although it’s somewhat small, the intimate campus size makes the experience feel all the more homelike, and I can’t picture myself attending another school. As a member of the volleyball team, I arrived on campus a week early, which allowed me to ease into the college atmosphere. I don’t think the process would have been as smooth for me if I was not a member of a sports team. In the past month, I’ve crossed a few things off of my “College Bucket List.” First, I changed my major from Biology to Sociomedical Sciences, and the switch was more seamless than I imagined. Next, I’ve experienced bouts of uncontrollable homesickness that never seem to go away easily, as well as the feeling of losing touch with some friends from home, but I have since reached out to them and we’ve been able to catch up. Lastly, I’ve had a few stressful moments late at night in my dorm room due to my workload as a STEM major, as well as the adjustment from a “Covid senior year” of high school to a somewhat normal freshman year of college. Considering last year was half in-person and half virtual, I felt as if I did not receive a truly rigorous year academically, and senioritis kicked in early. Therefore, the start of my first college semester has felt a bit abrupt, but I have adjusted quickly. Despite the adversities I’ve had to face, I’m eager to see what’s in store for the rest of my first year at Geneseo!