When I got out of high school I went straight into a private university located about a half-hour south of Chicago. It was a pretty strict religious school that forbade alcohol, etc. and asked you to attend chapel twice a week, so it is almost the complete opposite of Indiana University - Bloomington!
I knew well in advance that I would be transferring to IUB in the fall semester of 2011 and I had a vague idea what it would be like to attend the university because I grew up like 20 minutes away, but never in a million years did I think I would go through some of the things I did. I remember being terrified when I went to orientation because of how big and prestigious the university it is. We went through the typical rundown of the different resources we were offered on campus, the study tips, and then the math placement exam. So emotions were running high as the reality of transferring settled in.
A week before classes started I had almost all my textbooks and I was reading through them (not that it helped much because it turned out that the professors would only use parts of the book). I remember wanting to prove wrong all the people who told me that transfer students didn't do well in the first year of transfer, so I tried every way to study and avoid anything that might keep me distracted from my school work.
However, the first semester was awful for me. I broke up with the guy I was sure I'd spend the rest of my life with, I struggled with my spirituality, and after confidently studying a couple weeks before my first couple of exams I somehow failed both of them - so it was very discouraging at first. HOWEVER, it didn't end that way and I want to stress that I didn't go through all that hard work for nothing.
I want to encourage all transfer students and beginning freshmen - how well you do the first semester of the year DOES NOT determine how you will do the entire four years of college! Hard work will pay off! I ended the semester with three B's and an A and boosted my GPA up to a 3.1. These might seem mediocre in comparison with IU's reputation, but for me it was a major break through!
I joined a Bible Study in connection with Elev8 and spent many hours figuring out who Jesus is according to the Bible and why I want to be a representative of Christ for the rest of my life. I've joined Active Minds, which is a group dedicated to making students on campus more aware of mental health, and Neuroscience Club (because I'm a Psychology major). So, get out there and become part of a network! As much as you think you can, you cannot do it all on your own and there are many different resources for you to take advantage of!
Good luck this year!