The people you meet on the first days of school may not be your best friends. Everyone gets so caught up in making new friends and belonging to a group that you may find a few months down the road that these aren't the right people for you, and that's okay! It's important to find people to connect with, and they may introduce you to people who could be your group. The best thing you can do is be flexible with your friendships; if it isn't working out, it's okay. There are hundreds of other people on campus that you haven't met yet. And since you're not forced to see people you don't want to every day like in high school, it's much less awkward and uncomfortable.
The number of clubs can be overwhelming, and I did not prioritize well. I wish I had known to just try out several clubs before committing my time to any of them. That way I would have a better idea of what I wanted for the longer term. I would suggest that first you look for the professional societies that match with your major. Then look for clubs that related to your major. Finally look for clubs that just seem interesting. Between these three criteria find some clubs that have overlap and those are the clubs that will be fulfilling.
Leaving high school and beginning my first semester in college was a complete culture shock. I thought I was ready for the next challege. I wish I had been more responsible for more than just my school work before going to college. It has been difficult to conduct tasks dealing with finances, schedules and getting to all my classes on time. Once I became 18 I became an adult inside of a teenager state of mind. Learning to adapt to campus life without anyone to catch me when I stumble is hard. I would have challenged myself more!
I wish I had better understood that even though a student can pass a class, the value that a student derives from coursework and how much a sudent learns is on the shoulders of the student. I have seen too many times that someone will complain about useless schoolwork or that their classes did not actually teach them anything. If I could change my experience in any way, it would be to have that made clearer to me sooner. Personal lessons aside, the accesibility of the faculty should be emphasized, and duly taken advantage of.
The most important thing I wish I knew coming out of high school was effective study methods. Many people who go here including myself cruized through high school without the need to study too much for classes and find themselves struggling to effectively study for classes here that are more intense then those in high school. However, I have learned much better study habits and many people at the University have made that transition as easy as possible and taught me many different ways and tricks to study.
One thing that I wish I had known before I came to this University is what major I actually wanted to follow. The first semester of my freshman year, I enrolled at NCSU in the College of Design. The College is very competitive but wasn't for me. Due to the uniqueness of its courses, my transfer to another major has not been smooth. For the sake of saving money and time, I wish I had known what I wanted to study because I think that would have granted me more success for my first year at State.
I wish I could apply the professional work ethic I hold now to the work I did in college. I was in what we called a "grueling" design program; one that often required us to stay in studio all night and work til dawn to complete deadlines. Now, I complete more work in a week than I was ever asked to complete in a semester. I wonder now what my reason was for staying overnight in the studio - was the work really that hard, or was I really that lazy? I like to think I've grown since then.
Prior to coming to NCSU I wish that I had known how big the campus was. I understood this was a large campus, however it did not register to me until I was nearly running to my classes my first semster due to the distance between them. I quickly learned when planning out your classes, you should have an understanding of where all of the classrooms are. If you do not do this then you will be scrambling to get there on time... and professors do not have mercy on tardiness.
I wish I knew how much fun I was going to have here. I knew it was going to be challenging academically and a big change from living with my parents, but I didn't know how I would fit it. I took a big risk by not going to college with any of my high school friends. I really liked the campus and the engineering program, but I worried a lot about what I would do outside of class. My classes are great and I am having a blast. It turns out I worried for nothing.
Before coming to NC State, I wish I had known exactly what I wanted to major in so that I could prepare to take more advanced courses by covering their prerequisites. Being in the College of Management, I have a general idea of what I want to do in the future and can therefore take some basic business courses. By taking courses that are geared toward an exact major, I would feel more comfortable with my schedule and feel more focused for a specific goal.