The Freshman Experience: First Semester Goals

A college freshman shares her goals for first semester of freshman year. Included: Rushing a sorority, avoiding the freshman 15, learning better study skills.

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Woman on an airplane

The time is finally here: In two days, I leave for Boston. Classes start on September 7th!

Up until now, I’ve been busy preparing for the upcoming school year. I’ve gone to orientation, shopped for my dorm room, met my roommate, completed my summer bucket list, and started packing. (Eek! I’m still not done.)

With all these preparations under way, I’ve found myself swept up in the excitement that surrounds leaving for college. I’ve also been crazy busy. Even now, I have a ton of things I have to do before leaving in two days! I need to buy my books, switch my bank account, complete an alcohol awareness survey that is required for all freshman, and say goodbye to my best friends and family. Oh, and I should probably pack…

Needless to say, my life is slightly chaotic right now.

However, I wanted to slow down momentarily and take some time to come up with a few goals for my first semester of college and reflect on what I would like to accomplish in the upcoming months. At the end of the semester, I hope to look back on these goals and ambitions and really think about how I’ve changed.

Goal #1: Rush a Sorority

Before this summer, I never thought that I would be joining a sorority. I’ll admit it – I spent a good part of high school judging sorority girls. I thought that they were too girly, too fake, and too shallow.

The funniest thing about my former sorority opinions? I didn’t even actually know any girls in sororities! My opinions were solely based on stereotypes –  talk about harsh judgement.

This past year, however, I’ve been opening my mind to the idea of Greek life. One of my good friends rushed this past year and now cannot stop talking about how much she loves Delta Zeta. She described it as an amazing way to make friends, create connections, and form lifelong bonds. This semester, when rush comes around (which isn’t until the end of September for us at Northeastern), you will find me running around campus with the rest of the rushees.

UPDATE (10/5/11): Editor’s Note – Sarah has just told me that she received a bid from Delta Zeta after all, and wanted me to share it with you guys. Congrats, Sarah!

Goal #2: Develop Healthy Habits

I don’t know if this it true for other incoming freshman, but when I hear the phrase “Freshman 15”, I quake in my boots. One of my biggest concerns about this year is the possibility of becoming lazy and letting my health go. My schedule, although difficult, leaves me with a lot of free time. My goal is to use that free time to go to the gym, study, write, make friends, eat healthily, and get involved in extracurricular activities.

What am I NOT planning to use that free time for? Eating junk food, watching hours of Hulu and Netflix, and lying around. In order to put a measurable limit on this goal, I’m going to make this my mission: maintain my current weight in a healthy way. Marino Rec Center? I’ll be there. Chocolate chip cookies? Not every day…

Goal #3: Form Better Study Habits

In high school, I was considered pretty studious. I took a ton of AP and honors classes and graduated high in my class. However, as high school came to an end and the senior slide hit, my study habits became horrible. I would study the night before a test, work on homework the hour before it was due, and I stopped completing extra-credit assignments.

I know that these habits will NOT cut it in college. If I try to study the same as I did senior year, I will definitely fail calc and microeconomics. So my goal for this year is to develop a study routine that works for me – and stick with it.

Goal #4: Stay Organized

Okay. I made the mistake that most freshman make when filling out the roommate compatibility form: I said that I was a little bit neater than I actually was. Mistake! I love my roommate, but I have this huge phobia that she is going to hate that I’m not a complete neat freak.

In order to combat this problem, I want to be as organized as possible this year. Being organized is so essential to easy living: having an organized closet will make getting dressed a cinch, an organized desk will keep papers, assignments, and notes safe, and a clean room will be so refreshing to come home to at the end of a stressful day.

Goal #5: Keep an Open Mind

This is my most important goal for the year. In today’s technology-and-Facebook-based world, it is so easy to form preconceived notions about the people you meet at college. After spending a few minutes clicking around their profiles, we tend to think that we know all about our dorm neighbors and classmates.

This year, I want to meet a variety of people. In order to do this, I have to stop making snap judgements about the people I encounter – and that means I have to stop taking what I find online as gospel. At the end of the year, I hope that I can look at my friends and find a diverse, interesting, and unexpected group of wonderful people.

EDIT: My goals, revisited

Want to see how I ended up doing on these goals? Check out my post on revisiting these goals at the end of the semester for details. 

More Freshman Year Tips, Experiences, and Advice

This article is part of our Freshman Experience series. For more, see: 8 Week Countdown, College Orientation, Tips & Tricks for Meeting the Roommate, Dorm Room Shopping Tips, College Packing List, Getting Involved on Campus, 4 Ways to Ease Midterm Stress, College Misconceptions & Ask a Freshman, Freshman Year Questions – Answered, Thanksgiving Break Essentials, Tackling Holiday Shopping in College, First Semester Goals Revisited, and Final Thoughts.

Your Turn!

I am so excited for the school year ahead of me. When I finally got to slow down and think about my goals for this semester, I came up with my list of five. Now, I want to hear about your goals! Incoming freshman, what’s on your agenda this semester? What do you want to accomplish? How are you going to be measuring your progress? Tell us below!

Veteran girls, you’ve made your lists and, hopefully, accomplished a great deal in the past years! What were some of your freshman year goals? Did you meet them? Did you come up short? Share your experiences with us in a comment!

11 thoughts on “The Freshman Experience: First Semester Goals”

  1. Great Aspirations For College Freshmen Year.

    After getting out of High School I realized that I had created many goals in my earlier youth for my high school life throughout each grade. In a way I felt I had a road-map which I followed religiously that lead me to the amazing peak experiences everyone craves to enjoy during there high school years such as Pumping Up the school in a pep rally with the spot light all on you, the joys of popularity and multiple friendships, along with the occasional late nights out and about.

    Being graduated I feel I accomplished everything I’d ever wanted and that leaves me lost in some ways.
    So creating a new way of life, a new personality, a new set of goals is all needed to begin and enjoy college.

    My Goals Are A Lot Like Yours:

    I too want to develop healthy habits by going to the gym consistently, studying and writing with a fierce determination, well also eating healthy, making friends, and taking the time to get involved in extra-curricular activities of all kind with whatever free time I have.I will not use my free time to waste away eating junk food and watching hours of Netflix or T.V lying around the dorm.
    #Socialize #Fitness #BeProductive

    I too want to develop good study habits by scheduling the day out and giving myself ample amount of time to study and ready over any and all notes every day. And also by researching more efficient ways of studying and reading as well. I will not be sloppy and procrastinate in an non-progressive way or slack off/ lessen the priority of studying.
    #GirlsForStudyDates (Be Creative)

    I too want to stay organized and keep a tidy room, binder, and schedule. Countless times I’ve realized that my downward spirals in life were massively due part too an unwelcoming environment. Clean and organized room and life equals no stress and higher efficiency. I will not leave my room untidy before leaving it in the mornings or ignore the laundry bin/ bed sheets.

    I too want to be more open minded and meet a variety of people. In order to do this I’d have to Stop Making Snap Judgments about the people I encounter. Meaning I’d have to Stop Assuming I Know what and who people are about. At the end of the year I hope that I can look at my friends and find a group of diverse, interesting, and unexpected group of wonderful people.
    #BeOpen #BePositive

    In order to achieve in my goals I will make it my mission to Meditate and Read over these goals everyday.
    Success is achievable as long as you have a good social circle, appropriate mentors, and a fiery desire, along with a bit of charisma.

  2. Imani: Haha! You’re right, STUDYING is probably a good goal to include on that list! Believe me…classes started today and I was already in the library stressing about-I mean, studying for 8am calc 🙂

    Natalie: Greek life varies from school to school. Some schools (especially in the South) are really intense about going Greek. Recruitment and rushing is crazy. Others, like my school, are a little bit more laid back. For instance, we don’t even have houses. Basically, a sorority is a social organization that you can try to join (“rush”). Recruitment week usually means scheduled days for exploring the various sororities, seeing the houses, meeting the girls, and learning more about each chapter. Sororities consist of girls that want to make friends, conduct community service, and create connections. Sororities are also nationwide. For example, Delta Zeta is a national Panhellenic sorority that has numerous chapters at different colleges and universities. I hope that gave you a little more information! And veteran sorority girls, please correct me if I’m wrong!

  3. I’m from the UK and my only knowledge of Greek Houses/sororities is from watching Friends and playing The Sims 2!! Could someone please explain this whole concept to me? What is a Greek house? Why are they so special? What on earth is Rushing? It sounds terrifying! I’m kind of glad we don’t have anything like it, it sounds like an extra thing to stress about! But enough of my assumptions, I’d like to hear about it from people who actually know what they’re talking about 🙂

  4. You have a some awesome goals!

    I’m a sophomore in college and if I could stress one thing it would be STUDY! You have so much freedom that sometimes the studies get pushed to the back of your priority list. I didn’t even realize I was slipping because you don’t get “grade reports” like in high school, so everyone be sure to check in with your professors for what your grade is before you realize you have a C when you think you have an A. Lol

  5. Trust me girl, you so did not make a mistake by claiming cleanliness on the roommate compatibility form! It is always better to end up with the crazy neat-freak roomie than be stuck living with the girl who never showers and leaves her pizza on the floor. I speak from experience.

  6. Great goals! I hope you can keep on top of them!

    Don’t worry too much about lying a little on the roommate compatibility form. How you are at home isn’t always an indication of how you are at school. I know my room is a complete mess at home but my dorm was always organized and clean. Some people are the other way around, like one of my good friends. You’ll figure out what works for you and your roommate.

  7. Nice to read! If you manage to reach these goals, you are likely to succeed in college (from my own experience) 🙂

  8. Dani: I definitely agree that rushing a sorority is not vital to succeeding in college! It is important, however, to be involved. In addition to Greek life, I plan on joining a marketing club, an intramural sports team, and probably be involved in the student newspaper! Now as the school year approaches, I have become increasingly excited for sorority recruitment and wanted to add it to my personal goal list for this semester.

    Shaina: It’s true that lately there have been recent postings regarding Greek life, but up until now there haven’t been terribly many. One of our talented writers is contributing her own column on the Ultimate Guide to Sorority Recruitment and is doing so by popular demand! CF stresses being involved on campus, and a large percentage of our readers include those who would be interested in going Greek.

    Karen: That looks so fun! Good for you 🙂

    S: Keeping an open mind and going with the flow – I like how you think 🙂

  9. Dani, I understand what you’re saying but if rushing a sorority is one of her personal goals then there is no reason for her not to put it up alongside her other personal goals. It doesnt necessarily mean it is as important as the others in succeeding, it just means it is one of her goals.

    Personally, the healthy eating habits and study habits are on my list. I managed to get through high school with pretty good grades and not much studying, but I am preparing myself now for not being able to do that again.

  10. When I was a freshman, my biggest goal was theatre-related (my major). I wanted to get involved in my department, get noticed, and start working, getting cast, working on new projects and shows. I didn’t succeed the way I intended but it has really started to pay off my sophomore year!

  11. I’m so glad you changed your mind about going through recruitment, it was one of the best decisions I made. Even if you don’t pledge a sorority, you will get to make so many friends just going through the process! Going Greek may not be vital to college life but the friends you make there aren’t just friends in college – they’re your sisters for life.


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