Students must balance effort of making friends with time alone to work, study, finish assignments
As a current third year college student, I have learned some of the ins and outs of succeeding at a university. However, there are a few things that I wish I knew as a freshman.
College is not like the movies
Movies rarely elaborate on the hard deadlines, the late nights of studying, the battle between wanting to sleep and socialize. Instead, they highlight a social scene that is not a part of every college. Every institution functions differently, and so do the people. Lewis & Clark’s social scene runs on the low — you have to know the right people and have the right friends, whereas movies suggest that you might stumble upon a house party one dreary evening.
Keep putting yourself out there
Another thing the movies get wrong is how easy it is to find a social scene. While no one could have predicted COVID-19, I had not expected that making friends would be so challenging. Exchanging numbers at the beginning of the semester can be beneficial for two reasons: It allows you to have an emergency contact for notes if you miss a class, and it allows you to make friends with the people in your class so you can study and hang out together. Classes become less enjoyable when you feel isolated and cannot talk to anyone about the struggles you are facing. Joining clubs also seems daunting, but is a perfect way to meet new people and explore some of the hobbies and interests you enjoy. Plus, the experience they give you looks great on a resume.
Learn to sacrifice some of your social life
Balancing your social life with school and work is challenging. Many classes demand an enormous amount of hours dedicated to the assignments, and given the stress this can cause, having at least a minimal social life can be a good thing. Plan out how much time you need to finish homework, projects and work, and then schedule your social life around that. While the memories that you make at college are important, they are not the only things you will be walking away with by the time you graduate. Beyond the grades, the material you learn will help guide you through the rest of your life.
Some days you will be alone, and that is good
Spending my quiet rainy days alone in Watzek Library working on homework can be a relief from the chaos of the outside world, but in my first year at LC I was discouraged by all the days I ate alone in my car, studied by myself and walked to class alone. Now, I find it a welcome respite from the chaos of the world, and it allows me to focus fully on homework I need to complete. While working in groups can be beneficial for some projects, others require my full attention.
Do not expect professors to be forgiving
While most of the professors are very thoughtful and empathetic about students’ issues, we should not rely on them to guide us through the semester. Set yourself hard deadlines to make sure you turn things in on time, so that when an emergency actually occurs you have not already exhausted your professors with assignment extensions and missed classes. It is natural for things to come up during the year, so do not waste your professors’ generosity on false excuses.
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