Freshman year is the biggest year of your college career! It’s the beginning of a brand-new experience that involves making new friends, learning new things, and a ton of personal growth, too. What you do during freshman year sets the foundation that will make or break your college experience. That may sound like a lot of pressure, but don’t stress — we have 10 tips that will help you survive freshman year at UT Tyler.


Tip 1: Prioritize your education.

College is a great environment for making friends and partying, but college is first and foremost about getting an education. It’s easy to get distracted by the social aspect of college and to forget about maintaining good grades. But remember, your ultimate goal is to come out of this with a degree! Not to mention, you’re also paying for your classes now, and tuition isn’t cheap. The consequences of failing a class are higher now than they were in high school. Buckle down on your study habits, take good notes, and make school your first priority.  


Tip 2: Take care of your mental health.

Taking care of your mental health is extremely important for college freshmen. Many freshmen struggle with homesickness from being away from home for the first time. Some also struggle with stress management while trying to balance their new college workload. UT Tyler provides great resources for mental health, including the Student Counseling Center and wellness programs. Some things you can do on your own for mental health are meditate, spend time outside, eat more plant-based foods, and exercise.


Tip 3: Practice a healthy diet and exercise routine.

Getting on a UT Tyler meal plan is a great way to get access to healthy foods, especially if you live on campus. If you live in an apartment off campus, you’ll want to shop for healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, and healthy sources of protein like lean meat and fish. Everyone’s heard of the Freshman 15 — the 15 pounds students gain during their first year of college. But with a healthy diet and exercise, you won’t have to worry about it. You can look into fitness classes, intramural sports, or use the equipment at the UT Tyler Fitness Center.


Guy with Racquet and Laptop


Tip 4: Get involved with a student club.

One of the best pieces of advice for freshmen is to join a student club. Finding a group that fits your interests is a great way to make new friends and will provide you with a sense of community. There are dozens of groups to choose from. Check out the Student Life section of UT Tyler’s website for a full list of student organizations, clubs, and Greek life chapters.


Tip 5: Try to be outgoing even if you have a shy personality.

Making new friends as a freshman can be difficult for students with shy personalities. The best way to remedy shyness as a freshman is to realize that every other freshman struggles with the same uncertainty at first. The best thing to do is just to put yourself out there; with practice, outgoing habits will start to feel more natural. Raise your hand in class, talk to the person next to you on the bus, and embrace new experiences that come your way.


Tip 6: Don’t obsess over a bad grade.

College exams are a lot different from high school exams. Teachers will expect you to learn a bulk of the material on your own from assigned readings, and the tests will cover larger amounts of material than you might be used to. Don’t panic if you make a bad grade because it’s likely that you’ll make a poor grade on at least one assignment or test. When that happens, just remember that it’s only one grade, and it’s best to let go of the little things. Forgive yourself and challenge yourself to do better on the next one.


Tip 7: Practice your time management skills.

Time management is an essential skill for working professionals, and the best time to develop those skills is during college. You can use these tips to help better manage your time:

  1. Create a time log.
  2. During the first week of classes, lay out everything you have to do for the semester according to your syllabi.
  3. Write all your assignments and to-dos down in a planner.
  4. Set achievable goals by breaking a large task down into a few smaller tasks.



Tip 8: Get enough sleep.

Your sleep schedule is bound to go through some changes during freshman year. It’s expected that you’ll have some pretty late nights, whether it be from cramming for an exam or staying out late at a party. While a routine sleep schedule that allows you eight hours of sleep is the ideal arrangement, that might not be possible all the time. There’s nothing wrong with napping in between classes or sleeping in a few hours on the weekend. Find a sleep schedule that works for you and go with it.


Tip 9: Go to campus events.

UT Tyler puts on exciting events for students all year long. Take advantage of these planned events to have fun and meet other students. Check out the upcoming student events here. You can also visit the popular, on-campus student hangout, Patriot Zone, with billiards, video games, shuffleboard, table tennis, and live performances.


Tip 10: Have as much fun as you can.

Your freshman year is a once-in-a-lifetime year. You never get it back, so have as much fun as you can! Follow our survival tips, and we’re sure you’ll have a successful first year!