Freshman Year Reflection

I’ve probably said this before but I really can’t say it enough: I cannot believe that freshman year is almost over! The year flew by so fast. I feel like I have learned so much in the past year and grown tremendously. First and foremost, academically, I’ve learned a lot. Of course, college is more work but it pushes you in all of the best ways. However, beyond the obvious academic growth, I feel like I have learned so much. I’ve learned a lot about myself and discovering the world. This really is a huge part of your freshman year and I want to share some of the big things that I have discovered this year at Catholic that have helped me grow.

1. Create/Polish your resume and take advantage of Career Services.

Even though it seems very early, getting ahead of the curve and meeting with Career Services is tremendously helpful. They’ll help you make a resume if you don’t already have one. You never know when you’ll need one, so having a nicely crafted summary of your activities can help avoid unnecessary stress. In addition, starting out with internships and jobs early can help you make some extra cash, get experience for your dream positions later, and help you discover what you’re interested in. Career Services was super helpful for me, and I’ve used the resume they helped me create many times for part time positions this summer and an internship.

2. Get a calendar or planner/ use Google calendar.

College has matured me in so many ways. You have a lot more responsibility and no one looking out for you in the same way as in high school. I think one of the trickiest things about your freshman year is learning how to be organized and manage your time. You’ll have meetings with your professors, a big paper due, or a friend coming to visit. Having a calendar helps you remember these important things and plan your time accordingly. It’s also a nice place to construct to-do lists. They will be your best friend in helping prioritize your work.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

With so much emphasis on being independent, it’s easy to forget to ask for help. It seems a little contradictory to depend on others like this but it’s worth it. Personally, I’ve always been a person that wants to be right all of the time and do things by myself. However, you can  be independent and receive help. In fact, it’s actually looked highly upon. People aren’t going to make fun of you or think you’re stupid for going to the writing or tutoring center. Here at Catholic, we have an excellent Center for Academic Success. I’m not even kidding, I go to the writing center for almost every paper and it’s helped tremendously. You can receive free tutoring here or visit your professor in office hours (they love that!). Beyond academics, don’t be afraid to ask upperclassmen for advice or call home about laundry before you seriously mess up all of your clothes.

4. You don’t have to have it all figured out.

College is a big part of your future and some people feel that once they enter college they must know what they want to do with their life. Of course, there will be people who have known they wanted to be a doctor since birth. However, the vast majority have no idea what they’re doing and this is Ok- in fact it’s great. The greatest thing about being in DC is that you have the opportunity and resources to figure things out. So many people here are young and trying new things or starting fresh. In the big city you are able to try new things all of the time, from a new coffee shop to a new job. There is no sense of being bound to a particular idea.

5. Put yourself out there!

I think this is the biggest thing that I have learned this year. I’ve realized that the most successful people I have met are the ones that haven’t been afraid of rejection or embarrassment. I think this lesson really applies to all aspects of life. Put yourself out there with friends. Talk to everybody and anybody and don’t be afraid to be the first one to make plans- this is how you find your good friends. Put yourself out there, most importantly, with activities and events. Who cares if you don’t get the position you interviewed for? The possibilities are so much greater if you do, and eventually you will find  the position that you want. Trying new clubs and events leads to great experiences, amazing connections and memories. You have to be adventurous like this to avoid a mundane  college experience.

While a little general, I hope these tips help you get a sense of what your first year of college will be like. You will certainly learn a lot and will soon find yourself reflecting on your first year, hopefully at Catholic.

– Anna Hallahan

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