The Louisville Cardinal

Nine tips for navigating college life

By Roya Fathalizadeh– 

The first year of college is unlike any other. You’re away from your friends and family, probably for the first time, and entering a new chapter in your life filled with unknown adventures and experiences.

Honestly, at some point or another you’re going to get lost, figuratively and literally. But don’t worry, it happens to everyone. Here’s advice for those embarking in this new journey we call college.

Don’t know what you want to do with your life? Visit the Career Development Center.

The Career Development Center aims to help students find the career that fits them best. You can make an appointment by just stopping by or giving them a call. They have helped countless students get on the path to finding a job that connects them to their passions and personality.

Get involved.

Most of the organizations you were involved with in high school are also available in some variation at U of L. Even if you don’t know what you want to join, OrgSync is a website that lists all of the universities organization with information on how to join.

Greek life is also another great way to meet new people and get involved.

“Getting involved in Greek life was the best thing I’ve ever done,” said Mackenzie Adriance, an assistant director for the CDC who works with students who are undecided. “I was from out-of-state, and it was great way for me to make friends. However you don’t have to be involved in Greek life to be involved. You just have to find what fits you best.”

Stay active and healthy.

The freshman 15 is real. Between classes, homework, internships, meetings and trying to find a minute to relax, it seems hard to find time to fit in exercise. However, staying healthy is an essential part to your mental health and development.

To maximize your exercise, avoid unhealthy eating habits. Try picking the healthier food option every now and then and you will see improvements in your state of mind and gain energy. Health Promotion’s Smart Plate is a great tool to use to make sure you are eating the right amount of nutrient-dense foods.

Don’t wait to get help.

If you start falling behind in a class, get help before it’s too late. University resources such as the REACH Center are available to help tutor students in a variety of subjects throughout the week. The REACH center is located in Stickler 107, and students can stop by for drop-in tutoring or schedule an appointment. Online tutoring is available as well.

Another resource is the PEACC Center, which helps students deal with harassment, sexual assault or other relationship violence. The Counseling Center is also helpful if you need someone to talk to.

Save your flex points.

Having all that flex at the beginning of the semester, who wouldn’t go a little crazy and order Papa Johns every night? But before you know it, there’s a month left of school and your only choice of dining on campus is Ville Grill.

“Don’t spend your flex at one time,” said freshman Kate Jackimowicz. “You’ll wish you had it at the end of the semester.”

Don’t skip class.

As temping as it sounds, don’t do it. Missing one class can jeopardize your grade, since many professors count off for absences and you can miss key information. Once you skip, it’s easy to create a habit and skip again, and before you know it it is finals week and you realize you aren’t prepared.

Always be prepared.

With all the unexpected incidents that life throws at us, it never hurts to prepare for the worst. Always check the weather when you wake up. You don’t want to be that person wearing shorts when it’s 40 degrees. And having the appropriate rain gear is crucial. Walking through campus while it’s pouring down rain is never good, and campus walkways are known to flood.

Stay organized.

With the chaos that ensues by mid-semester, it’s easy to forget when your next quiz is or where you put your biology book. You can never be too organized.

Get a planner and write down when all assignments are due and important events. Making lists is also a great way to stay organized. By crossing off each task you finish, you will feel more accomplished and motivated to continue working hard.

Stay true to yourself.

College is a time of change and growth. As the semester ticks by, you’ll learn more about yourself everyday. It is important to figure out who you are and who you want to be without the influence of what others want for you. Separate from your parents and friends, and figure out what you want to do and not what they want you to do.

It’s totally normal not to know what you want to do right away. Some of us are still figuring it out as seniors. As long as you stay true to who you are, you’ll eventually figure out what suits you best and where you going to go from here.