My Advice to a College Freshman: Embrace Growth, Keep Moving

St. John's University Student
By Kyntel Hines

Choosing to go to college is a challenging decision, especially if you are like me. During my first few years of high school, I thought I knew what I wanted to pursue, but eventually, I needed clarification about my future aspirations. I did not want to continue my education after high school, but at the same time, I was still determining what I wanted to do.

All I knew was that I needed a new start. In this blog, I share my experiences and insights to help you navigate this exciting, yet challenging, journey.

I. My Academic Journey: Then and Now  

The Restart

Group of St. John's University College Students

College, for many people, is a restart. You may want to meet new people, explore new areas, or leave home. Some people take risks and make significant changes, while others shy away from restarting. 

Most of my high school classmates went to local colleges and universities. I already knew I was going far away. If I could grow wings and fly away, I would have. People have various reasons for wanting to restart. 

For me, I felt like I was in a toxic environment, somewhere I was not going to grow and succeed the way I wanted, with some past issues I thought I had to separate myself from. Restarting was one of the best choices I have made in my life thus far. I have been able to experience many things, gain knowledge, and learn in various ways—including learning about myself, which is one of the most important things. I learned to be myself and do what I want and what makes me happy, including paving and creating my path as I go.

Finding My Way 

In high school, I thought I had it all figured out: I was wrong. One of my favorite quotes is, “You don’t have to know what you’re doing to start doing it," said the co-founder of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs.

I thought I knew, and I started to crumble once I realized I did not. Pressure pulled me in different directions from everyone else. I realized I completely neglected myself, how I felt, and what I wanted—I was not even sure what that was. 

All I knew was I wanted a different path; I wanted to be successful and break stereotypes. I am figuring my path out along the way, even to this day. It has changed many times, but I can proudly say I keep moving forward.

Related: Read the blog post on How Do You Define Success? 

Keep Moving Forward 

The key to college success is to keep moving forward and growing. There are various ways to move forward mentally, physically, emotionally, academically, and socially. There is always room for growth, and any amount of growth is better than no growth at all. 

“I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be..”- Joyce Meyer.

II.  The Five Types of Growth in College 

St. John's University Students Connecting through Exercise

1) Mental Growth 

Mental growth is the development of your mind. It can be achieved through journaling, meditating, or anything that frees and relaxes your mind. 

2) Physical Growth 

Physical growth is taking care of your body. This can be done by going to the gym, running, and/or eating healthier.

3) Emotional Growth

Emotional growth is the development of your feelings. Expressing and talking about your emotions are small actions you can take that make a difference. Bottling it in causes distress and can lead to mental health issues. There is always someone with whom you can talk. 

4) Academic Growth

Academic growth is different for each of us. I always try to do better than the previous semester.

5) Social Growth

Social growth is massive in college. We typically want to be friends with the fun people. You have heard it a million times, but choose your friends wisely. Solid relationships can be found in college. Choose friends who will encourage, motivate, and push you to do better, help when you want to stop or give up, and tell you the truth and not belittle you. I have stopped associating with several people because they were trying to misguide or steer me off my path.

Grow in your community by doing volunteer work. I did this by creating a club on the Queens, NY, campus of St. John’s University. I love to run, and I noticed several of my classmates shared the same interests. Why not bring us all together? You do not have to start a club, but you can join the executive board or be in a student leadership position and make an impact.

Related: Read the blog post How to Make Friends in College: 5 Practical Tips.

My Final Piece of Advice for College Students 

Everybody’s path is different: embrace it! 

Kyntel Hines


Kyntel is a junior majoring in Health and Human Services and will be starting his M.S. in Healthcare Systems in the fall of 2024. He is quite involved with campus activities and works as an Orientation leader, as well as at the concierge desk for Campus Activities. One of his greatest achievements is creating his own club, which he is also the president of. The club is focused on running and walking, which are some of his passions. Although he was born in South Jamaica Queens, he was mostly raised in Georgia. While he is not certain about his future career path, he is keen on pursuing something in the healthcare field.