I have only been in college for three months, but as I am nearing the end of my first semester, I have realized what has made my time here so enjoyable.
1. Meet new people
You are on a campus with thousands of people who are your age, and are having similar experiences to yours. Because of this, college is probably one of the best places to make friends. Chances are if you chose the same school as someone, you probably have something in common. Don’t be afraid to approach people. Ask people where they’re from, it’s an easy conversation starter.
Be friendly with your floor mates. If their door is open, walk in and start a conversation. Introduce yourself to people in your classes, and friendships will flourish. It’s okay to have some down time, but developing bonds and getting involved with a variety of different people will make your time at school so much better.
2. Hang out with people
There are definitely times when living in a dorm isn’t ideal, but take advantage of it. There will never be a time in your life again where you live on the same floor as a ton of your friends. Some of your best memories will come from just sitting on your friends’ beds, talking and laughing about random things.
If a group of your friends are going to the dining hall, join them. It doesn’t even matter if you’re hungry or not, eating meals with all your friends everyday is something you’ll miss.
3. Stay on top of your school work
You have a lot more free time in college. What’s important is learning how to manage that free time. In high school, most of us were probably creatures of habit: come home from school at 2:30, sports until 5:30, then dinner and homework. College is different. You often have down time in between your classes, and once your classes are done for the day, you have few obligations.
Try to get work done during your down time. Getting work out of the way will feel rewarding, whereas falling behind will only create unwanted stress. Completing assignments on time and earning good grades is what you’re at school for, and it’s important not to lose sight of that.
4. Utilize the library
Working at the library makes most people far more productive. Sometimes it’s fun to do homework in the common room with your floor mates, but when you really need to focus, the library is a great place to do so. Make it a part of your schedule to go in between or after classes. You may find you get more work done, and you’ll maximize your free time during the day.
5. Associate with people who make you happy
College is not the time to be with people who drain you. If someone mistreats you multiple times, let that friendship dissolve. If someone who you’ve befriended starts to display different interests, don’t feel obligated to remain close with them. If you lose a friendship in college, it’s ok. There are lots of opportunities to make friends.
There are so many people and personalities out there that you haven’t even encountered yet; and college is a great time to discover what kind of people make you the happiest. The people you surround yourself with will more or less determine if you like your school or not. You’re only in college for four years. Hang out with people who bring out the best in you.
6. Get involved on campus
Go to sporting events. Scream out your school’s chants, even if they’re weird. Even if you don’t like sports, there’s something about being in the stands with your peers, all supporting the same school. Join a club. You’ll establish connections with people, it’ll build character, and you’ll become more connected with your school.
7. Don't worry about social statuses
In high school, people tend to worry a lot about maintaining a social status. Don’t worry about that in college, because truthfully, nobody really cares. Talk to whoever you want. Do whatever you want. If someone judges you for who you are, you don’t need them in your life anyway. It’s important to be true to yourself, and you’ll find friends who like you for you.
8. Go to the gym
I wish I could say I went to the gym everyday, but I’d be lying. I know it can be a struggle. However, I feel so much better on days I do go. Exercising is great for your body and is an excellent stress reliever. Once we leave college, we will have to pay for gym memberships if we want exercise equipment at our disposal. In college, the gym is conveniently located, and free of cost. (Well, as free as it can get considering how much we spend on tuition.) But, you know what I mean.
9. Don't take it for granted
Four years may seem like a lot, but it really isn’t. Thinking back to high school, it’s crazy how quickly it breezed by. Think of how lucky you are to have the financial and physical ability to attend college. Remember all the things and people you’ll miss. Make the most out of your time because it’s not unlimited.
10. Make memories
If it’s a Friday night and your friends are going out, join them. Nobody looks back on their college years and remembers that really awesome night where they stayed in and caught up on sleep. It’s important to prioritize schoolwork, but once that’s out of the way, having fun is important too. Do things that you’ll want to tell your friends back home about. Do things you’ll look back on and tell your kids some day. Do things that’ll make you reminisce fondly on your college years.