This time last year, I was a huge ball of nerves and excitement whenever I thought about going off to UVA. I was excited because it was the beginning of a new chapter of my life, and I seriously could not wait to start. However, I was also extremely anxious because I was pretty much clueless about everything related to college. I wasn't sure how to even try and prepare for living in a new place without my parents and having to make a new set of friends. I ended up looking at YouTube videos and different blogs to try and figure out what I should buy and do to get myself ready for college life, and even then, I still didn't feel completely ready. So, to try and help anyone who was as clueless as I was before my first year, here is some advice for all of the first-years trying to prep for college.
1. Try to get textbooks online
If you know that you are going to stay in a particular class, rent your textbook or buy a used one online to save a lot of money. Many professors will submit what books or supplies they require before people start to move in, and you can search for them on the bookstore website. While you can always rent or buy the books from the bookstore website, I would recommend looking around on Amazon or other textbook rental websites to see if you can get a better price.
2. Use your college student discount as much as possible
So many stores and apps have a discount for college students, which is so helpful when you have a ton of other expenses to pay for college. Amazon Prime gives you a six month free trial and then half off of a year-long Prime subscription, Spotify lets you have premium and Hulu for five dollars a month, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond gives you a 20% off discount for your entire purchase and free shipping for your four years as a student. There are also countless other websites and apps that give you a discount, so you just have to look around before buying anything online.
3. Look at videos or websites to see what you should pack
Like I said before, I looked at different blogs and videos to get advice for my first year. While I don't think that they every mentally prepared me for college life (but I honestly don't think that anything could have), they really helped me figure out what I should and shouldn't bring.
4. When packing, do not forget to bring the smaller items too
While bedding and decorations are very important dorm items that help to make your room feel more like home, don't forget the smaller, everyday items that can be overlooked. Things such as sandwich bags and tissues are sometimes just as important to bring as the bigger stuff.
5. Try to stay in contact with your roommate or suitemates
By now, you probably have your housing assignment and know who your roommate is going to be. It's nice to keep in contact with them and start to build or continue to build that friendship with them. This will make your first few weeks easier since you already have a decent friendship with someone (which especially helps if none of your high school friends went to the same school as you).
6. This may be a pretty nerve-wracking time, but know that the nerves will go away and you will probably have one of the most amazing years of your life
There are so many people who start college every year, and every year they are just as nervous to begin this new part of their life. Everyone being in the same boat really helps to make new friendships or feel less alone in this whole process. And, after a little bit of adjustment, you are going to do great. There are so many university resources and people who are rooting for you that you will be able to get the amount of support that you need to thrive in this new environment. So, take in all of the nerves and excitement, because you are going to have the time of your life this school year.