Going to college is something that every student entering FGCU has waited nearly two decades, at least, to do. All of us went to high school for the required amount of time to get a diploma and move onto the next phase in our lives.
During high school, some of us were athletes; others were all about the clubs that were offered; some of us wanted to go to the football games and cheer on the team from the bleachers, and some of us were a mixture of all three.
Everyone’s high school experience was different; there’s a list of things a person can become involved in. My personal choice was to take part in the dual enrollment program to get a head start on earning college credits.
I want to make it clear that I believe that both people who participate in these academic programs and those who do not can be equally successful in college. Just because you were not a part of these programs does not mean you will not be just as successful as someone who was.
There are multiple academic programs that high schools offer to help prepare students for the workload they will receive in college, such as honors courses, AP, IB, AICE, collegiate high school, dual enrollment, etc. As a dual enrollment student, I took college courses on a college campus and online.
Now, when you apply to college after having experience with any of these programs, you may feel like you have a better idea of what college may bring than the average incoming freshman. However, just because you have done college-level work before does not mean that you are better than anyone else in the classroom. No one in your classroom has taken the class you are in, and neither have you. Finding the balance of being confident in what you know without giving off the impression that you are better than someone else is key.
It is best not to overload yourself with classes in general but especially in your first semester. You may be familiar with the amount of work you will be dealing with, but while you are staying on campus, you have to take care of yourself too. The domestic aspects of life can be the hardest to master when you are on your own for the first time, and if you go overboard on the number of classes you are taking, you will only make it harder on yourself.
It’s crucial that you make sure your professors know who you are in the best light. By making sure they know your name, they will know you care about how you will do in the course. By having a good relationship with your professor, you will leave an equally good impression. Being polite and proper is important, but let your personality show. Given the fact that FGCU is big on networking and working with your professors in the future, the concept of having a good relationship with your professors — especially the ones that work in your desired field — is never a bad idea.
To be successful, you must embrace the idea of not knowing some of the information. Even if you come from a heavily college-level background, you are bound to learn a few things you did not already know at your orientation. Once you get to this point in your educational career, you are not supposed to know everything. If you have a personality like mine, you’ll research what the entire program is about beforehand. Not everything is posted online, so everything is worth listening to in person.
Yes, going to a university can be extremely nerve-wracking, but that’s okay. Remember that you are not the only one. The person next to you is probably just as nervous and excited for this new journey as you are.
I think that, if I and my fellow incoming freshmen follow these tips, we will all have a great college experience. Just remember to maintain a sense of humility, do not overwork yourself if you can avoid it, maintain healthy relationships with your professors, embrace the idea of the unknown and keep in mind that it is perfectly normal to be nervous.