As current college students, many of the experiences you will likely encounter you probably won’t be prepared for- just being honest. As a freshman/transfer, there are ins and outs to campus life and having an inside edge will only help you to enhance your experience for the long run. That’s where we come in: your one-stop guide to making sure you’re ready to tackle college head on.
You may be intimidated by how much is being thrown at you with college life (trust me, we all were, too), but this guide will help you be more confident for facing these potential problems when they first pop up.
If you have ever traveled, just think of it as an incredibly long vacation. You will need to pack basically everything you can think of, but at least start with the basics. Clothes, medicine, toiletries, bedding, fans (summer is brutal. Do it), anything you can think of that will most likely be a priority for you. Also, be aware of your spacing, in terms how you’re moving your things and where you are moving to. Everyone hates “that guy” that has their stuff LITERALLY EVERYWHERE to the point that you have to make a trench to get out of the room ß don’t be that guy. And DOUBLE CHECK!! Trips home are few and far between (unless you commute), and you’re going to end up forgetting something. Everyone does. Just be cautious
Find something that fits your lifestyle. Like to be social? Bigger schools will work well. Like to stay to yourself? Smaller schools will be your life. Like to be busy constantly? Find a school within or close enough to a major city (a be prepared to pay A LOT if you chose this option). School is supposed to be tailored to your lifestyle, so there’s no harm in finding what’s good for you. And do a campus tour when you think you have found “the one.” Websites always try to make things look better than they really are, so go see it yourself and see if you like it- a test drive, if you will.
Two words- get involved. Simple as that, find something for you. Whether it be a club sport, an organization (academic or socially constructed), or even Greek life. Just find something, break out of that shell that you have made, and do something. College is supposed to be a social experience where you get involved in numerous activities, meet new people, try new things (cliché, I know). So do just that, search around, find anything you like to do and odds are it will probably end up being one of the best things for you
Let’s just get right into it, learn time management skills. You’re going to end up being a clown in a circus with the amount of nonsense that you will have to juggle. From readings, to homework, social life, sleeping and eating, studying- you’re going to have to do it all. Find a way keep track of everything-reminders in your phone, a calendar, carrying a planner. Do what you need to do to NOT miss out on things. Also, utilize your academic adviser. They are there to help you find classes and understand what track you need to take to maximize your efficiency in college with regards to gen-ed classes, what classes are necessary for your major/graduate, and what they recommend are good classes for your interest. And take advantage of every opportunity you can. Every. Single. One. Career fair? Go. Guest speaker? Go. Sporting event? Go. Just…just go.
DON’T PROCRASTINATE!! I know you want to go off and have an amazing time your freshman year, but speaking from experience, make this idea take a back seat. Work first, play later. Set a time for studying. Set goals for yourself, modest ones please. Attempt to go for a certain GPA, get involved in a club, something that is achievable. Abuse the help of TAs (TAs are teaching assistants FYI). They are to assist you, it’s in their job title. Most professors don’t give full help, the TAs do. Go to office hours, get assistance if you need it, whatever you need to do to make sure you don’t start to slack. Also, rate my professor comes in handy. For giving feedback and seeing what other people think about someone, it’s your way to “shop around” and see who fits for you.
A lot of these ideas may seem scary and stressful, but we promise that if you follow most, if not all of these tips, you are guaranteed to be more prepared than the person sitting next to you. Get involved, don’t be “that guy”, abuse any help you can get for your academics to succeed, manage your time, and do your research. Welcome to the college experience, and we all hope you make it a good one 🙂
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