Summer has gone by fast, hasn’t it? Just a few weeks ago, I was saying “hey, I still have 2 months left at home before I go back to college,” but now, that time has been cut in half and I, like all other college students, am beginning to cherish every last moment in our homes with our family and friends before once again going back and forth between living at home and school. For incoming freshmen, though, the stress level is a million times higher, as they are about to embark on a journey into the unknown in just a month. The amazing thing about modern technology, though, is that you all have countless young adults went through the same thing just a few short years before who are cheering you on. I’m sure you’ve already read hundreds of articles about how to handle and prepare for your first year of college, so a lot of what I’m about to say might be repeated; however, it wouldn’t hurt to hear some of these things one more time – especially from someone who went through the same thing this time last year. With that said, here is some advice and tips to for your first year of college.
1. Cherish the rest of your summer.
The summer before your freshman year of college is a time of reminiscing, planning, relaxing, and starting again. Most importantly, though, it’s a time to spend as much time as possible with your loved ones before you start out on your new journey in life. Make sure to capture each moment so you can look back on it someday.
2. Start preparing now (or a bit before).
One thing that is obvious about college is that you have to buy a lot of stuff. You’re going to be living in a dorm and, depending on which type of dorm you have, you will even have a bathroom and maybe even a kitchen. These rooms don’t come with everything included, either. You have to buy dishes, silverware, cleaning supplies, food, decorations, etc. For those of you with a Pinterest board dedicated to college like myself, you likely have a good idea of what your dream dorm will look like. Try to look for sales and good deals early on so you don’t wait until the last minute and risk things being out of stock (plus, you save a bit of money, too).
3. Take advantage of websites to buy or rent textbooks for less $$
Everyone knows that college textbooks are ridiculously expensive. I lucked out my first semester on my textbook prices; however, my second semester textbook prices was painful to even think about. You don’t need to buy your books at the university bookstore, though. There are several websites that let you rent textbooks for way less than what your college sells them for (think 70% less). It’s definitely a weight off your shoulders.
4. Know that some friends will drift apart while others will stay.
It’s a given, especially if you are all going to different colleges, that friends might drift away. Unfortunately, that’s just the way life is sometimes. Don’t let it get to you, though. College is about new beginnings. Try not to forget about your home friends, but try not to close yourself off from making new ones, too.
5. Set rules with your roommate(s) during move-in weekend.
Whether you live with friends or strangers, you absolutely have to set rules about what is and isn’t ok to do. It is also a good idea to make a chore schedule for each roommate, unless you are all extremely chill about who does what.
6. Take the weekend before classes start to get to know your roommate(s), campus, and the town surrounding your campus.
You are going to be spending the next 9 months with potentially complete strangers. Whether you like it or not, you are going to end up spending a lot of time with them in close quarters. Try going out together to find your way around the campus and town you live in. Find a place to go get dinner and learn about each other. Find out how good of a fit you will be together. Maybe even try to start doing that via text or Facebook stalking before school even starts. It’ll pay off on late nights when you need a friend, trust me.
7. Organization is key.
Keeping your dorm and school supplies organized seriously helps to keep your mind as decluttered as possible, especially during midterms and finals. Before you go to bed every day, make sure your clothes are put away and your desk is clean so you can start new in the morning. In the morning, make sure to make your bed every morning. It may be hard if it isn’t already a habit for you, but your bed is basically your couch in your dorm, so you don’t want it unmade all the time. As for your notes and studying, try to come up with a good organizational pattern that works for you. It makes studying a lot easier.
8. It’s ok to be nervous or even cry.
Literally every gets nervous and/or cries on freshman move-in day, whether they like to admit it or not. It’s perfectly normal.
9. Get involved.
There are hundreds of clubs and organizations that you can get involved in on your campus. All of them will look good on your resume. Enough said.
10. Go in with an open mind.
Be open to new experiences, but don’t do things that would go against what you believe in. New friends may try to change you, but make sure to stand your ground.
11. Enjoy yourself!
These are supposed to be the best years of your life – the years when your life changes and starts to come together. Make the most of every single day!