10 Pro Tips For Incoming College Freshmen From A Rising Senior
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Student Life

10 Pro Tips For Incoming College Freshmen From A Rising Senior

Trust You will make some of these mistakes, but you will learn along the way.

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10 Pro Tips For Incoming College Freshmen From A Rising Senior
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It feels like just yesterday that I was getting ready to move into my freshman dorm. I know that sounds cliche, but it is true. When people say that college goes by fast, they really do mean it. I think that it goes by way faster than high school, for a number of reasons. I can still remember vividly being both nervous and excited about going to college, and the relief that came with leaving high school. My mom and I spent much of the summer dorm shopping, frequenting Bed Bath and Beyond and Target for all the perfect matching dorm accessories (almost none of which I still use). While college is a very transitional and exciting time, there is definitely some advice that I wish I got when starting. Every family member and older friend wants to give you advice, and does, but there is usually some that is lacking, that which no one really talks about in college life. Here is what I want incoming freshman to know about college, now that I am an incoming senior in college.

1. You do not need nearly as much dorm stuff and clothes as you think you do.

You will, inevitably, overpack. I don't know a freshman that didn't (maybe a guy), but even they bring too many video games, athletic gear, or shoes. Please, listen to your friends already in college when they say that you won't use everything that you bring. I know that right now it seems like you will be completely stranded when your parents drop you off on campus, but there is a bookstore on campus, and I am sure that somewhere in the vicinity of your college town there is a Walmart or Target, or or some other nearby store. If all else fails, your parents can mail you things. Best case scenario, you will make new friends and you can share all your clothes and dorm food anyway.

2. You do not need a surplus of school supplies.

Throughout high school, one of the most fun parts of shopping for back to school was making a stop at Staples for shiny new school supplies. The best was picking out color coordinated binders, folders, notebooks, and new pens to carry around for all your new subjects for the year. In college, you need maybe a couple of notebooks or some paper, and pens or pencils, depending on your preference. The one key thing you need is probably a laptop or tablet for class. Other than that, you really don't need ten different binders and folders, maybe just get a couple.

3. Don't buy all of your textbooks at the bookstore.

You can find way better deals on textbooks on Amazon, Chegg, or in swap/sell pages for your school on Facebook. The bookstore is usually the last resort, unless you price check all the books on different sites and it ends up the same. The best option for textbooks is to rent, because you will never use the majority of them again, and if no one wants to buy them off of you, you could be stuck with them. Only buy some books that may be essential for your major that you may want to refer back to in the future.

4. Unless you are going very far away from school (in which case you should pack less of everything) only bring seasonal clothes with you.

You can get the rest of your winter clothes when you go home for fall or Thanksgiving break, depending on the climate where your school is. I know it may seem like you will deeply regret not bringing something, but you will never end up wearing it. Whenever I am at college, I find myself wearing the same two pairs of shoes everyday to class and everything else just takes up room.

5. If you are allowed to, get one of the lowest meal plans.

Many schools make freshmen buy the unlimited or largest meal plan, because you don't have anywhere to make food in their dorm rooms. If you have an option, go for a much lower meal plan. My freshman year I had a large meal plan first semester, and changed to a smaller one for the second. You will inevitably get tired of the dining hall food sooner than you think, and you will want more flexibility to eat out or buy your own snacks or food that you can prepare in your room. Many schools also offer a dining plan with some type of "flex" dollar, that you can use at on-campus markets and restaurants, or even at some off-campus places. You will be glad if you have these.

6. Go to the gym!

Everyone may not gain a full 15 pounds, which is why this saying is probably a myth, but most people gain some amount of weight. It is a combination of being exposed to a completely new environment, which often causes your body to respond in a different way, as well as being exposed to endless dining hall food, club meeting pizzas, and free dorm snacks at meetings. In addition, you no longer have your parents regulating what and when you eat, and you can go off-campus for a late night McDonald's run whenever you want. You also will probably be drinking more alcohol (which is calories) and you probably no longer have after-school sports to keep you in shape.

7. You and your roommate may not end up best friends, but still stay civil.

Unless you have a single, you will likely have a roommate, often whom you have never met before. While some random roommate assignments end up as best friendships, many do not, and this is perfectly normal. You may not want to be best friends with someone that you see at every hour of the day. You will probably get sick of your roommate at some point, but try to stay civil instead of fighting. It will make your living arrangement much less stressful, which is very important for doing well in school and being mentally healthy.

8. Take advantage of peer mentors, tutors, and office hours.

In high school, you probably didn't have to put in much extra effort to get good or decent grades, but no matter how good of a student you were then, it does not apply now. College courses are very different and much harder, and it is important if you think you are struggling or want to boost your grade, to attend office hours, tutoring sessions, or get a mentor in you major.

9. Join clubs, but don't overdo it.

Pick one or two activities that you are really interested in, and join them. It is much better to join something than to just join nothing, as it is a great way to make friends and branch hour of your dorm circle or the people you see everyday in class. It will help you meet people interested in the same things as you. At the same time, don't overdo it with clubs. You don't want to find yourself so busy with commitments that you have no time for schoolwork or even a separate social life. You have the rest of college to join things, but it is still important to get your foot in the door asa freshman in something you are really interested in.

10. Don't take too many credits, but also take enough.

Don't overload yourself with too many credits that will leave you stressed all semester. Part of freshman year is about exploring different majors and classes, as well as getting good grades. Freshman year is often the easiest time for earning good grades, as once you advance in your major the classes get more advanced. At the same time, make sure you are taking enough credits to be considered a full-time student, to graduate on time, or to keep a scholarship.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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