What Six College Students Wish They’d Known Their First Year

It’s that time of the year again; with the fall semester right around the corner, some of us are heading back to college, while some of us are just about to start the journey.

We asked college students what they wish they’d known their first year and here's what they said...

1- “I wish I’d known how to manage my time better. This is the one skill that would have helped me cope even better.” - Nour Sadek, Journalism graduate from the American University in Cairo.

You will be bombarded with assignments, papers, group projects, and God knows what else. While you’ll eventually get used to this, you will still miss a lot if you can’t manage your time.

Workload is no excuse when finding a way to balance all the things you want to do. “If I knew how to manage my time better, I would have signed up for activities. I would have gone out more. I would have socialized more,” shared Sadek.

2- “I wish I’d known how to choose my friends, because sometimes you think they are one type of person, then they turn out to be something else.”- Rola Hossam, Film student at the University of Kent in England.

You will meet a lot of people in college -some of whom will become your best friends and some of whom you may never speak to again. Every friendship and relationship can go either way. Put yourself first and see what makes you happy and comfortable.

There is no need to stick to a group of people you don’t like. College is filled with so many people you can meet. Don’t limit yourself to the people in your major or the people in your dorms.

3- “I wish I’d known that not everything will go according to plan, but I will still be okay.” - Bedour Hafez, Business student at the American University in Cairo.

Not having a plan leads to opportunities, and opportunities can get you to places you might love. Not everything works out the way we intend it to. Sometimes, these twists and turns are what get us to where we want to be.

When you’re registering for courses, your plan might not always work out due to space availability or course availability. Don’t shy away from trying something new; it will open your eyes to what you like and what you don’t like. “It’s okay not to have a plan. It’s okay if things don’t work out. There are always new opportunities,” added Hafez.

4- “I wish I’d known how to prioritize things. As soon as I started college, I joined every activity I could see. Then I ended up feeling overwhelmed. I could have just focused on one thing.” - Madhu Ramesh, Business student at Christ University in India.

There is such a thing as joining to many activities, signing up for too many classes, and committing yourself to too many plans. Of course, it’s good to seize opportunities, but your rest and mental health are important too.

Give yourself the time and luxury of doing nothing. With all the assignments and projects about to come your way, you will definitely need some time to unwind.

5- “I wish I’d known about the facilities in the university. I had no clue a lot of the facilities even existed until my second year.” - Youssef Emad, Physics student at the American University in Cairo.

Most colleges have counseling services, academic advising centers, and a variety of student clubs. You will probably be told about the services during orientation or from current students. However, nothing beats exploring the campus yourself.

Keep in mind that your first year at college will probably have the easiest course load, so the sooner you discover the facilities, the better, because you’ll be able to benefit from them for as long as you can.

“I was so happy when I discovered that the university offered kickboxing training, but I discovered it a bit late. I had already begun some tougher courses so it became hard to keep up in the training,” explained Emad.

6- “ I wish I’d known that I could allow myself to discover what I want in life or what I am passionate about in terms of education.”- Dima Hajj Ahmad, Political Science student at Wayne State University in the US.

Don’t be shocked if you find out your favorite economics class at school doesn’t turn out to be your area of study for the next four years. A lot of the times both our parents and ourselves think that having our heart set on one area of study since birth is the right thing to do.

If you do have your heart set on one discipline, explore it -although this does not mean you shouldn’t explore other disciplines too. A lot of students go in with the belief they are going to study computer science and end up in visual arts. It takes time to find your passion so there is nothing wrong with changing your major a couple of times.

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