First Year Of College Tips
Graduating high school and entering college is a huge milestone and may seem overwhelming. Don’t panic! You’re about to experience some of the best 4 years of your life. Here are 18 tips that’ll help you make the best out of your first year!
You graduated high school which is a huge accomplishment you should be proud of! You’re about to start a new chapter in your life, which may sound scary, but rather than being nervous, be excited for the new friendships, memories, and adventures that are yet to come!
Consider where your campus is located geographically when packing! While you may not need a winter jacket at a school like the University of Miami, you’ll definitely need one at a campus like Boston University. I have a friend from Texas who goes to school in the East Coast who didn’t own a jacket and quickly regretted not investing in one when the first snow storm hit and classes weren’t cancelled...
Remember Everyone wants to make friends
One of the major fears everyone has when entering college is that they won’t make any friends. As corny as it sounds, just be yourself and whether it’s your roommate, someone from class or a club, or someone you bump into in the communal bathrooms, you’ll find your friends easier than you think. Even if it doesn’t happen immediately, don’t try to fit in by being someone you aren’t. One of the reasons college is so amazing is that the community is comprised of so many different personalities that you will definitely find your people! I met my current roommate by starting up a conversation while we were in line to get sandwiches. Friendships form when you least expect it!
Roommate situations vary with everyone!
Keep an open mind when meeting your new roommate and be friendly! Everyone’s roommate situation is different, some are best friends while others live separate lives. Both are perfectly okay! As long as you two get along and can live together that’s what is important. If you don’t get along with your roommate, take the situation up with your RA. No living situation is permanent so don’t worry!
Go outside of your comfort zone
Don’t be afraid to leave your dorm door open the first few weeks of school! This is a great way to meet people and also, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and start a conversation with someone. Not being afraid to talk to others is a great way to meet new people! Also, explore your campus and the community around it! Rather than staying in your dorm all day, try out a new restaurant every once in awhile and really open yourself up to your new home away from home.
Go to campus events
Colleges are always hosting career fairs and guest speakers. These are great places to form connections with professionals working in fields you might be interested in after graduation. These are also great places to figure out what types of careers you may be interested if you are anything like me and had no idea going into college.
Get involved on Campus.
No matter what your interests are, there’s probably a club for it on your schools campus! Definitely try out a bunch of clubs that peak your interest even if it means trying something new and going outside of your comfort zone! After going to a few meetings you can dwindle down the amount of clubs you commit to. Definitely try to get involved in at least one club on campus whether its a sport, theater, an academic club, or any other type of activity! If you don’t see a club for you, start one! If your campus has Greek Life, look into it and see if you’d like it. While Greek Life isn’t for everyone, it’s a great way to get involved on campus and meet new people. There are so many events and philanthropy events they host year round so you’ll never be bored!
School comes first!
College is a great place to grow as an individual and develop your independence and while it is a lot of fun, remember that your priority is your education! Always try to prioritize your schoolwork because at the end of the four years, you want to make sure you get your diploma!
Try to stay organized
Get a calendar or planner and write in all of your assignments and plans so you can develop good time management skills. Buy a notebook and a pen for note taking in class because studies have shown that physically writing down information helps you retain it better! Try out different study methods such as notecards or highlighting notes to see what works best for you! Also, try to study outside of your dorm room like in the school library or another location where you can focus.
Talk to your professors
Whether its a classroom of 8 students or a lecture hall with 200 students, make sure to introduce yourself in person to the professor and try to go to their office hours. This is a great way to form a more personal relationship with them so that if you’re ever struggling in their class, they will see that you’ve put in the extra effort and may be more willing to help. Also, professors can be great resources and connections to have throughout your time in college and you may even be able to be a teaching assistant for them later on in your academic career!
If you’re interested in a job, take a look at ones on campus!
On campus jobs are a great way to earn some extra cash and still stay connected to your campus. Campus’s often have numerous job offers that may interest you and you can work with other students which can form even more friendships! Also, campus jobs means you may not have to commute as far for another job and they are usually more understanding about your academic responsibilities than an off campus job may be.
Talk to your academic advisors!
Whether you’re like me and are entering college with absolutely no idea what you want to major in or if you know exactly what major you want, talk to your advisor! They are a great source to building a path for your college career and if you are ever stressed about your academics or major they are an excellent source to go to and seek help.
Take classes that interest you, even if they aren’t in your major. Realize you don’t like your major? Don’t stress!
If you have room in your schedule, definitely try a class outside of your given major! You might discover something you’re more interested in or something you’d want to minor in! If you are an undecided major, don’t freak out. Undecided is an excellent path for students who want to try out a bunch of different classes to see what they do and don’t like. If you don’t discover your major by the end of your freshman year, that’s ok! I didn’t declare until my spring of sophomore year and I’m very glad I tried out multiple different classes because now I have chosen a major I didn’t even know I was interested in when I first entered college. Don’t be afraid to switch majors! Countless college students switch their major more than once in their college career.
Set time to allow yourself to relax!
College can seem overwhelming at times and you may feel like you’re constantly busy. Your mental and physical health are extremely important, so make sure you set time for yourself to destress and relax. Unwinding is different for everyone so whether its going for a jog, reading a book, going out with your friends on the weekend, or watching your favorite show on Netflix, make sure you are giving yourself “me” time.
Live a healthy lifestyle!
Try the healthy options offered at the dining hall every once in awhile and try out the gym on your campus and see if they offer any fun classes like spin cycle or zumba! Staying fit is a great way to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Also try and get 8 hours of sleep every night. Though I know this may sound impossible, try to get around that number because sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on your classes and social life!
Don’t be afraid to get a tutor
Your school has resources to help you be academically successful... use them! Never be embarrassed to ask for help because that’s exactly what the tutors are there to do. See how one session goes and work from there!
Don’t leave your clothes in the washing machine!
If you put your clothes in the wash, set an alarm for when it’s done! If you don’t come back in time, chances are someone’s taken your clothes out of the wash and placed them somewhere else.
Keep a journal!
You’re going to want to remember your experiences when you’re older and look back on your time in college. Time really does fly and being able to write everything down will help you savor every moment and you’ll be able to remember the little memories when you go back and read it!
-Alexandra Lopes, University Tees Campus Manager and student at Northeastern University