Welcome to college as a freshman. You are hundreds of miles away from home and a new adventure is in front of you. For some, this adventure can be daunting, for others it can be exciting. Either way, we are here to help! Here are some tips from upperclassman to help guide your freshman year and ensure it is a success!

1. Get out of your comfort zone

No matter what school you go to the difficult thing to do is find friends as a freshman. We come from our hometown where we have known people our whole lives. Many of those people were raised the same way that we were and thought many of the same things as we do. Often many of us will seek people who do the same things that we do and look the same way that we look. But to truly create community, I challenge you not to do that. This is a defense mechanism that people use all the time. But it can keep us from growing and can make us stagnant.

Being a freshman in college is a great time to walk out of your comfort zone and learn more about yourself than you can when you live at home with the people you have known your whole life. I am not recommending getting into crazy scenes that do not fit your character or values, never check your values at the door. The suggestion being made here is not to change who you are but be willing to grow. Learn from the people who dress differently, like different music and have different hobbies. You may find your best friends for life in college and they may look nothing like you do today!

2. Be confident and authentic

If you are authentic people will accept you! The thing to remember is that you are not going to be best friends with everyone you meet as a freshman. And that is completely normal. So do not get discouraged if you do not click with the first few groups of people you meet! There are many different types of people with all different kinds of preferences and hobbies. Do not completely change who you are to fit in with what the people around you like. As a freshman, be yourself and you will find real friends. It might not be the first day, but having an authentic community is worth looking for in your four years in college.

3. Be inviting

Whatever you are doing be it studying, eating dinner in the cafeteria, or going to the gym to shoot some hoops invite the people that are around you. In today’s culture, it is easy to expect in-depth relationships to happen overnight and to be exclusive when you find good friends. I would like to challenge you to always be open to new people and what they have to offer. If you invite people to share experiences with you whether you are already friends or not, your relationships will grow deeper.

Experiences are a great fertilizer for relationships at all stages. You will remember the days that you had a hilarious conversation with your friends or the uncomfortable situations that you were put in with random people. These experiences you will always remember, and it just may be really funny looking back on. At the end of the day, you stand only to gain from being inclusive and if you let them in. People will surprise you with how interesting they are.

4. Get out of your dorm room

Some people will go through their entire college experience and never get involved with all of the activities on campus. My advice to you is to get outside of your room, try new things, meet new people and expand your circle. If you do this you will have fun! It may not always look exactly like what you thought it would, but give it a shot! Seek those relationships and experiences that make college the most fun time in your life! Do not be stagnant and sit in your room because the years, and fun, will pass you by in a heartbeat.

So that is it, 4 helpful tips to help you adjust in your freshman year. Remember, God has a special plan for your life….now it is up to you to go get it!