Starting off college can be difficult. We scramble to make acquaintances and to be friendly. Then there’s the challenge of navigating the 50-acre campus. No one tells you to clean your room or to eat your vegetables, which slowly pushes us into the ramen diet and piles of stinking laundry that we just don’t know what to do with. All in all, I am not going to lie — freshman year starts rough. But eventually, we figure it out, and college becomes home.
On top of all of the stresses of starting college, being a spring admit brings the issue that you are starting off late and everyone else has figured out their niche and can call college home before you even get there. It can be nerve wracking. I would know; I was one myself. But I can honestly tell you that my college experience has been great so far and being a spring admit hasn’t affected me negatively in any way.
Here are 5 tips from me to help with your first semester.
1.Take a Freshman Seminar with FYI These are 2 unit elective credits that you can take on a Pass/No Pass basis. They’re much less work than regular four-unit courses and are taught by some of the most distinguished faculty members at USC. Topics of these classes go beyond what you would normally study in your major and can be a really great chance to learn about something you never would otherwise. Obviously, you have to be a freshman to take these… so your first semester in college is really the only chance you get.
2. Join a Student Organization All of my closest friends in college I met through the organizations I joined. You really just have to put yourself out there and look for clubs that interest you. With the over 800 clubs on campus, chances are something will appeal to you, and I promise you the members of the organization will welcome you with open arms. As a spring admit, sometimes you will live in off-campus USC buildings as opposed to the classic college dormitories. Many freshmen meet their friends in the residence halls they live in; since your living situation may be a little different, organizations can be key.
3. Do Something with Your Fall Semester Travel the world and spend a few months in Spain, get a really sick internship working for the FBI, get a head start on your GE/Writing 140 classes at a local community college so you can have some classes under your belt before you arrive. I personally went and spent 8 months in Beijing. Whatever it is that you do, do something cool. And whatever you do, don’t sit around at home for 4 months.
4. Talk to Upperclassmen in Your Major Talking to your advisor about your classes and plans is important, but your greatest asset is upperclassmen in your same major. They will tell you the ins and outs of class difficulty and the strength of certain professors — things your advisor might not be able to tell you. There are also some classes that can “double count” for your requirements, and you’re gonna want to know about those.
5. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone This last one is really the best piece of advice I can give you. C’mon! Its college. When in your life are you ever going to have the chance to be surrounded by so many new things and new people?? Take advantage of all of the great things that USC has to offer.
Best of luck, see you in the spring, and Fight On!