Rutgers-Camden Blog

Five Tips to Starting the Semester Strong: The first-gen student edition

I hope your semester has gotten off to a great start. Hopefully, you are more relaxed and getting a feel for the new semester. If you still feel a little nervous, that’s totally normal. Many first-generation college students feel anxious at the start of the semester. The goal of this blog is to help relieve that nervousness and give you some tips on how you can start your semester strong.

1. Get organized. One of the fastest ways to ease your nerves in starting a new semester is to get organized. If you have a lot of priorities (i.e., working full- or part-time, attending classes, handling home responsibilities, participating in student organizations), then this first step is pivotal. To organize yourself, I have four suggestions:

2. Connect with your professors. Your professors are one of your greatest resources. At the beginning of the semester, take a moment to introduce yourself and get to know them. If you struggle with any of your courses, reach out to them after class or during office hours.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is the one thing I see many first-gen students struggle with the most. It’s hard sometimes to admit they need help because they do not want to be seen as weak, needy, or a nuisance. If you need assistance during the semester, do not hesitate to ask. It’s our job to assist and help you succeed.

4. Get involved. There is so much you can get involved with on campus. Clubs, student organizations, learning abroad, undergraduate research, internships – the list goes on and on. Find opportunities that speak to you! Don’t be a PCP (parking lot, class, parking lot) student. Get involved!

5. Leverage your past experiences to help you overcome challenges you may face. The college experience will not always be smooth sailing; you will face challenges and obstacles along the way. When the college journey gets tough, leverage your past experiences to get you through. If you faced a challenge before and you succeeded, guess what? You can do it again! You are more powerful and resilient than you realize.

I hope you found these tips to be helpful. Have a great semester.