By now, many of you have probably graduated from high school, or your just days away from the big milestone. Although leaving behind what you’ve come to know for the past four years can leave you feeling bittersweet, you’re also about to embark on the greatest and most memorable years of your life — college.
The first time being on your own can be completely terrifying, but these 11 tips, will help make your transition to college easier, and will make your year even greater.
1. Take advantage of office hours
Some, maybe even all of your classes will be lectures with over 100 people. With that being said, it’s almost impossible for the professor to get to know you personally, which can be unsettling when you’re used to a class of 20+ people.
Despite what you may believe, professors are people too, and their overall mission is to teach you, and help you learn. Going to office hours not only gets you one-on-one time with a professor when you need help with something, but it also allows you to establish a personal relationship with them as well. You’d be surprised at how little people actually go to office hours, so it leaves a lasting impression on the professor that you’re truly there out of interest and want to learn.
2. Always have some cash
Although many of us are living that broke student lifestyle, and we’re all pretty much ballin’ on a budget, I cannot emphasize how important it is to keep some cash on you at all times — even if it’s only five dollars.
You never know when you’ll be stuck in a situation where you can only use cash, or if you’re like me, your credit card may get compromised and you won’t be able to use it for weeks on end (not kidding, this literally happened three times). So always have at least a little cash on you… trust me.
3. Don’t expect to be BFFs with your roommate
As brutal as this may sound, there is a possibility you will not be as close with your roommate as you’d like. You’re both completely different people, and do not know everything about each other. In a way, you’re basically strangers who know basics about each other.
Not only that, but people are different in person than online, and after a month of living together in a confined space, people’s true living habits and personalities show. I’m not saying do not try and become great friends with your roommate, I’m just saying do not set too high of hopes for your relationship, as it could turn out completely different than you anticipated, and ultimately leave you upset.
On the other hand, I know people who have developed the greatest relationships with their roommates and have created lasting friendships; it really just depends if you click or not.
4. Go to as many welcome week activities as possible
All those events that you see during your first days on campus that you think are really cheesy, or are entirely stupid are there solely for you.
You’re only a freshman once, and all those activities that may seem silly are actually a lot of fun, and help you get accustomed to campus, meet a lot of new people, and most importantly, you get a lot of free stuff out of it. Seriously, who doesn’t love free stuff?
5. Join a club
You’re never going to meet people if you just go to class and then back to your dorm room everyday. Colleges are filled with hundreds of clubs of all types, so there is definitely something that will spark your interest. Not only do clubs help you make new friends and gain new experiences or skills, they’re also resume boosters too. Plus, you can usually get free food out of it too.
6. Don’t be afraid to do something that’s typically outside of your comfort zone
College is all about new experiences, some of those experiences are good ones, and others, not so much. Don’t be afraid to try something new, even if it’s something you wouldn’t normally do (within reason of course). You never know, it may lead to something great.
7. Don’t just party every weekend
I mean, partying is fun, I won’t lie to you, but do not make it your weekly custom. Go out and explore the surrounding area of your school. Whether that be the city, suburbia, or even the wilderness, take time to enjoy everything your school has to offer, even the things that are not on campus.
Exploring the area around my college has given me some of the best memories of my first year of college (and the best Insta pics too).
8. Don’t bring everything to school right away
Unless you’re going to school across the country and cannot go home often, there’s really no reason to pack away all your clothes for winter and bring them to school immediately.
Bring the stuff you totally need down right away, and go home after a little while to bring more things back to school. Your parents, your car, and yourself will thank you when you have a stress-free move in day.
9. Get your textbooks ahead of time
Many people I talk to always say that they buy their textbooks the first week of classes. Maybe I’m just a try-hard, but I think this idea is absolutely ridiculous. A lot of people will be buying or renting the same textbooks as you, and your school’s bookstore doesn’t have an infinite supply. Plus, books only get shipped so fast to your dorm.
If your professor does not have anything listed about two weeks before you move in, email them and ask if you’ll be needing any books. Professors will love that you reached out to them. Also, remember your school’s bookstore is not giving you the best deals on textbooks, so check for used books on Amazon before purchasing any.
10. Be yourself
Out of all the articles on the internet that pertain to this topic, this is always on every list, and honestly, it should be on every list. Starting college, you’re given a clean slate and you’re able to establish new relationships. Remember to always stay true to yourself because there is no reason to feel like you need to act any different at college. There will be people who like you for you.
11. Don’t be afraid to post on your college Facebook group often
If you use Facebook, and your school has a Facebook group for your graduating class, do not be afraid to post on it often. Not only is it cool to interact with your future classmates, but it also helps you meet new people. From personal experience, I posted often on my college Facebook group, and I’ve met my best friends through it.
With all that said, I send you off. Hopefully these tips will become useful for you later down the line. To those of you who are reading this, enjoy your freshman year of college.