Freshmen year of college is a whirlwind. A brand new environment, filled with brand new people, brand new responsibilities, and brand new freedoms. It’s no wonder 28% of students drop out after their first year. It can be a lot to handle.

We’d like to make sure you’re a part of the 62% who survive freshman year. That’s why we’re here to give you a few tips on how to help make your first year of college a successful one.

Hit the Ground Running

“The first day we just get the syllabus.” We know that mentality. We had that mentality. It seems that many professors are actively trying to buck against that mentality.

Odds are you’re only going to have a particular class twice or so a week. Every class matters, even the first few.

But, Why? You may be asking.

It’s because this is your first entrance into the next level of your education. You might excel at it. In which case, good for you. However, it may be more than you are used to. If so, getting behind early is the worst thing you can do to yourself.

That is to say nothing of your first impression. You are new to this place. Your professor probably isn’t. It’s easy to make a bad impression by slacking off, showing up late, or just skipping entirely.

Pace Yourself

College lifestyle is a lot all at once. There are clubs and teams and jobs and classes, and studies, and parties…you get it. It can be tempting to want to be a part of all of these things to keep your fomo in check. There’s only so much time in a day, and you only have so much energy to do things. Not only will trying to do too much stress you out, but it’ll also make you a flake when you come up short.

You don’t have to do absolutely everything to get THE college experience. No matter what you do it’ll be YOUR college experience. Do you want to join Greek life? Cool, the first year of that is probably going to be pretty time-consuming (Do this, pledge. Do that, pledge). Are you an athlete? Then you might want to wait for an offseason to join a competitive academic club.

If we’re honest though, what this really means is prioritize. Letting off steam is great. Partying to the point where it starts to negatively affect your studies is not.

Ration Your Gen-Eds

General education classes are courses you’ll have to take no matter what your major is. They are usually English, a foreign language, some kind of science, and some kind of math. If you take them all at once, you can probably finish them in about two full years.

Don’t do that.

Well, you probably shouldn’t do that. If you like those classes, go nuts. The passions of most people tend to lie elsewhere. You’ll definitely want to take a couple of them. In fact, you should probably take a majority of them early. However, sprinkle in the some of the courses you actually care about. Ideally, these classes will also be a part of your major course of study, (because a completely frivolous class could be a waste of both time and money) but you also get at least a few electives.

College (for the most part) is going to be what you make of it. Make smart choices, but also try to have some fun. Misery is often found in imbalance. Moderation is key.