5 Ways to Keep Your Newfound Freedom from Bringing You Down

Today you get a break from my writing.  We welcome Kelly Kilpatrick, who has written a guest post about settling down after you’ve started settling in.  Enjoy!

Photo by svilen001

Photo by svilen001

It happens to freshers every year: some, not all, take full advantage of their newfound freedom and forget why they are at the university to begin with.  Whether it’s dyeing their hair bright purple, piercing their favorite body part, or staying up ‘til dawn, something happens that makes some people break out of their shell the first year.  It’s hard enough keeping up with the coursework, so many get lost in the shuffle.  Here are five ways to reign yourself back in if you are falling into this trap.

  1. Stay focused.  Remember why you are here in the first place, and that is for an education.  Of course, your time at the university will be filled with new friends and experiences, but don’t let that get in the way of your education.  Stay focused on what needs to be done so that you will have the luxury of being able to have fun later.
  2. Limit social engagements.  There will always be something going on.  Try at first to limit yourself to social engagements when you are done with your coursework for the week.  This way, you won’t be thinking about what you have put off and you’ll be able to enjoy yourself.  If you spend too much time going out, the work will pile up and you’ll sacrifice your social life later anyway.
  3. Use your time wisely.  Take time between classes to review notes and readings.  If you have an extra hour, work on an upcoming paper or study for an exam.  Doing this will solidify your knowledge of a topic and give you more time to relax later.
  4. Set goals and reward yourself.  In addition to budgeting time, it is good to give yourself achievable goals and then reward yourself when these goals have been accomplished.  It’s better to get things done than to sit idly and wait until the last minute to start working on projects.  Setting small goals will help break down larger assignments into more manageable increments.
  5. Be yourself.  If you have changed to suit your new friends, keep in mind why they became your friends to begin with.  It’s natural to want to fit in with a crowd, but your new friends initiated contact with you for some reason.  If you really feel like you are expressing yourself now that you’ve moved out, let your spirit soar, just don’t let it supersede the importance of your ultimate goal.

This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes for BestCollegesOnline.com. You can reach her at kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com.


  1. If anything, I had the opposite problem as a fresher (about five years ago now … ulp!) I spent too much time hiding in my room rather than going out and throwing myself into student life.

    Yes, it’s important to focus on the academic side of things — but uni is also a great time to grow as a person, and to try out new things. Get your work done, but make sure you make the most of your time as a student in all the other ways possible too!

  2. Most of us probably started off spending either too much time hiding away from others, or too much time socialising. When you’re thrown into a new situation, it takes real luck to have everything sussed from the outset.

    Balance is certainly important. That doesn’t mean 50/50, but it does mean a good variation of activity. I think you’re spot on when suggesting students spend their time in “all the other ways possible too”.

  3. Ibrahim, thanks for your kind words.

    I already keep track of Zen College Life, but I forgot to add you to my Linkage. So I’m happy to add you now.

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