By Ashley Favata
College can be the best time in your life if you do it right! It’s the time when you have the freedom to do whatever you want and be whoever you want. Venture out and find clubs that really interest you, embrace your newfound liberty to the fullest. But don’t get me wrong—college can be very stressful with figuring out how to balance school work and social life. At first, perhaps you’ll probably put more focus on finding friends rather than doing homework or staying active, but no matter what, managing your time is key in college so you can do everything you want.
Like many of you, I am doing everything remotely this semester. I was lucky to have developed time management skills through experience in planning ahead (with some help from my planner), so I can efficiently do everything I want from the comfort of my home. I have joined more clubs this semester and I am taking on more leadership roles on top of my volunteer work. I have been able to do so much because I plan accordingly and know how to manage my time. Using online platforms, I have been allowed to schedule more into my day, so I can stay motivated and busy!
When you start college you will have the opportunity to meet a lot of new friends, and I want to offer some words of advice: You need to accept the fact that your friends might change throughout college. Your friends from high school might pick different colleges than you, so there will be some friends that you will grow apart from, which, surprisingly, will actually open you up to find new cliques. The most important thing is to have confidence in yourself that in the end, everything will work out and that you will, eventually, find people who you click with. However, it will require you to put in a lot of effort in the beginning. Making friends might not be the problem, but having meaningful relationships might be. Your real friendships will come from those that you spend the most time with; they can be people you meet in your class or people you meet through clubs or jobs.
One tip that I really want you to remember is to make sure to be yourself when meeting new people. Trying to pretend to be someone other than your true, authentic self will drain you in the end, and it is so much easier to be yourself. I went into college with the confidence that I would be who I am, and I found people who fit my personality. I did not have to pretend around them, and it was truly liberating. You will realize that you would rather have friends who like you for your real personality—I can promise that you'll thank me for that one later. Being yourself will free you from making fruitless relationships.
In this remote dynamic of maintaining relationships and even making new ones, it is important to plan ahead. Make it a point to reach out to friends and family from time to time; even texting them a little GIF shows them that you were thinking of them and you care. We are all struggling to get through this pandemic and it is really nice to get texts and calls from people who you haven’t talked to in a while. Plan little coffee chats online or maybe meet up and have a picnic outside. I find it rewarding to plan events like that into my schedule, so I have something to look forward to at the end of a long day of school and I can do anything—and everything—I want to!