Transitioning from high school and living at home to going away to college can be scary because you don't know what to expect. Everyone tries to give you advice, but it can be really overwhelming and difficult to remember, so here's a concise list of simple things I wish I knew as I was preparing to move in to my freshman year dorm room.
1. Organize before you pack!
Label your bags, boxes, or other containers "bed," "desk," etc. so you know exactly where their contents belong. It makes everything so much easier rather than opening everything just to find your desk lamp.
2. Don't be afraid to talk to people!
In your classes, the dining hall, and even within your orientation group, keep talking to and sitting with new people. Especially in the beginning, everyone is looking to meet more people and make new friends. Strike up a conversation and say hi!
3. Leave your door open or spend time in your building's lounge!
This goes along with the last point, but make sure to sit in public places, like a lounge, the dining hall, or the library to interact with more people. Even keeping your door open can go so far! Keep putting yourself out there!
4. Keep on top of your assignments.
College offers so much more free time than high school, which means you need to be able to effectively manage your own time. Use a calendar or a planner to keep track of your assignments, due dates, exam dates, and extra curricular commitments. Write down all of the important dates in your syllabus as soon as you get them. Try to get ahead early on so you save yourself time and stress in the future.
5. Form relationships with your professors.
Professors become mentors throughout your time at college, and they are so helpful and important as you get closer to declaring your major. Take the time to stop into your professors' office hours and have a face-to-face conversation with them. Learning from their experiences can be vital in determining what you want to focus on.
6. Get involved!
Go to your school's activities fair and put your email down on their contact list. Get your name out there and experience as much as you can. Don't overload your schedule and stress yourself out, but give yourself the opportunity to get involved in things you're passionate about!
7. Stay true to yourself.
This one is kind of cheesy and cliche, but it's true. College an opportunity to start over and surround yourself with people that appreciate you for the person you are. Embrace the qualities that make you unique and the things that make you happy. Make relationships around those things.