机构青年导师、哈佛学姐Charissa S.将和大家分享自己留学切身经历,帮助各位大一新生更好融入留学生活,开启自己丰富多彩的大学时光。

A Short Guide to Surviving Freshman Year

One of the greatest challenges I faced starting freshman year at Harvard University was understanding the significance of self-care. While this may sound strange, concerns that never existed for me back in high school such as making time to eat meals, putting casual hang-outs on the calendar, and memorizing walking distance times suddenly became one of the most important aspects of time management. Furthermore, there were also the infamous challenges that all freshmen are warned about: “freshman fifteen” and the “freshman flu” . In this article, I will discuss a few of the major self-care challenges that all freshmen face in their transition from high school to college as well as possible solutions to navigate these obstacles.

在刚进入哈佛大学时,我作为一年级新生面临的最大挑战之一是理解自我照顾的重要性。虽然这听起来可能很奇怪,但这是我在高中时从未考虑过的问题,比如抽出时间吃饭、在日历上安排休闲活动、记住步行距离等,但这些事情在上大学之后,突然之间成为了我时间管理中最重要的内容之一。此外,对大一新生来说,还要面对臭名昭著的挑战,所有新生都被警告:“freshman fifteen”(指新生发胖的现象)和“freshman flu”(指新生感染流感的现象)。在这篇文章中,我将讨论新生在从高中到大学的过渡过程中,可能需要面临包括自我照顾等一些主要的挑战,以及应对这些挑战的解决方案。

Back in high school, I got used to the set classes times where there would be short breaks and lunch as well as having my schedule made for me based on classes I was interested in. However, starting college opened a whole new perspective on scheduling especially when you are in charge of every single step of the process on your own. This includes choosing classes that don’t overlap or finding out what are your required classes, but most importantly making a schedule that allows you to have proper rest, time for food, and free time.


A common mistake that I noticed many freshmen did starting in the fall semester was overcommitment. Starting college is always a novel once in a lifetime experience that has endless opportunities and exciting activities. Students are bombarded with countless clubs, extracurriculars, organizations, and social activities the moment they arrive on campus. Like most college students, I wanted to try and do everything that interested me in order to make the most out of my “college experience” (or so I thought).


The issue with trying to join as many extracurriculars/activities as possible on top of having to balance classes and a social life and sleep is that at the end of the day something is going to have to get less attention or maybe all of them. Unlike the invincible mentality of today’s youth, there is only a certain amount of time in the day and if students are not receiving the essential needs (sleeping 7+ hours, eating meals) they will underperform and have to cut out a lot of the activities they wanted to participate in.


However, an even greater issue of overcommitment is the sacrifice of health: both mental and physical. Usually around early fall where freshmen are adjusting to college life and around midterm/exam periods is when most students get sick. Some call this the “freshman flu” which is caused by lack of sleep, unbalanced meal habits, and a lack of self-care. Being sick will only add to the stresses of school and can greatly deteriorate mental health from frustration and challenges of getting behind.


Therefore, one of the greatest practices to avoid overcommitment is to understand the true meaning of what it means to say no. Prioritization and understanding your limits will greatly help you in choosing an appropriate course schedule, amount of extracurriculars to participate in, and having a social life while still maintaining a balance of healthy self-care. However, turning down opportunities as a freshman doesn’t mean turning it down forever. Once you have become adjusted to the major transition into college life and have a great understanding of yourself, then you can continue your pursuits in a healthy and productive manner.

Another major challenge that most freshmen experience at the start of college is adjusting to dorm life. As I mentioned before, sickness is very common among freshmen and this is especially because of living habits in the dorm.



Growing up, I never had a roommate and was accustomed to my own living conditions such as the time I went to sleep or woke up, the amount of noise or light in my room, or how neat I kept my room. At the start of my freshman year I had two roommates who both had vastly different schedules and living habits than me. This was a challenge because we would have to walk past each other while someone was sleeping or try and do homework with minimal lights on to not disturb each other. Furthermore, I have heard many stories about difficult roommates that are not used to cleaning up after themselves or being considerate of each other. Because of this, it is very important to lay out clear rules and expectations at the beginning of the year and have someone such as a proctor/R or staff that lives in the dorm hold this accountable in case something happens. These rules could include topics such as who takes out the trash each week, when the quiet times are at night, if it’s okay to play music, etc. When rules become ambiguous is when I’ve seen the most challenging situations between roommates because they both have differing opinions on living habits. Thus, at the end of the day, it is most important to create a living situation that is clean and allows for an appropriate amount of sleep in order to minimize the spread of sickness.



Overall, I hope that freshmen are able to make the most of their experience and have a smooth transition between high school and college with the emphasis of self-care. Ultimately, the majority of learning will happen through first-hand experience, but I hope to minimize the amount of obstacles with my two main pieces of advice: learn how to prioritize and try your best to create a healthy living environment in your dorm. Being able to take care of yourself is the first step towards a successful school experience and will only enforce positive habits later in life.




















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