Going into your freshman year of college is one of the most exciting times in your life. It's something you've been waiting for your entire life after watching movies all of your childhood and hearing stories from older friends or siblings and family members. It's a time to re-invent yourself, but there are a lot of things I wish someone would have told me before I started, so I hope to save you from that. Here are some need-to-knows before you start your freshman year of college.
If you're living on campus (which a lot of us choose to do), packing is one of the most important parts of getting ready for college. The most important thing to remember about packing for college is: Do not pack your entire room, and especially, do not pack your entire closet. As much as you think you'll need your bluetooth radio, all 20 pairs of shoes you own, and all of your clothes, you won't have room. I tried this, and I sent my mom home on move-in day with almost half of the things I packed and my roommate and I still had a tough time fitting everything in our room. One thing you do need to make sure to pack plenty of is snacks. Whether you're just hanging out in your room watching the new season of "Orange Is the New Black" on Netflix or you're up all night studying for your Bio final tomorrow morning, those snacks will come in handy. There is also a good chance that more than once you'll be hungry but too lazy to go to the dining hall, so you'll need some ramen, soup, or anything else you can substitute as a meal. When you start running out of snacks, you'll probably make up some pretty interesting meals but we've all been there.
(This was way too much stuff.)
2. School work
This isn't high school anymore. Whether you thought so before or not, you will realize in college that high school was easy. Though you may not have had to study in high school, or very hard at that, study, study, study. You're paying hundreds of dollars for each class, and thousands of dollars each semester and school year. You may as well burn about $50,000 if you think you're going to be able to go to college just have fun and not do any hard work, because you're wrong. You need to put effort into your work, and lots of it. College is totally different. The vast majority of your assignments will be due online. Checking in on your assignments for each class and checking your school e-mail daily is a must. It's super easy to fall behind if you don't. I also learned this, so get into the habit early. Checking your e-mail really comes in handy in the winter at 6am when you're trying to find out if school is canceled, but Yik Yak almost always knows first. You will pray for snow days when you didn't study for the test the next day, and you will spent countless nights up all night studying for the next days exam. Welcome to college.
You'll get very used to your bed looking like this about 90% of the time.
As much as this doesn't sound important, you should get to know your teachers early on. Something as simple as introducing yourself the first class or e-mailing them to have a good Labor Day weekend goes a long way. Getting to know your teachers in the beginning of the semester can save your ass, and it also makes asking for help a lot easier. E-mail your teacher before missing a class. They'll respect you a lot more, and I can tell you it helped me go from a deserved F to a C.
Books are expensive, like crazy expensive. Between books and access codes I spent over $1,000 freshman year. Over $500 on a math book. Look for books online, on places such like Amazon, but order them early because though there is syllabus week, some teachers assign homework the first week. You most likely won't ever need to bring your books to class, but they're important for studying and teaching yourself what you didn't learn in class. (Yes, you're expected to know things you didn't get taught in class.) Some classes don't even use books, so try to figure out the consensus before spending money on books (some teachers may also tell you that they aren't using the book and to not bother buying it). Books at your school bookstore may seem more convenient but they're probably super expensive. Older students usually try to sell their books to freshman. Also check into renting from your bookstore because it's a lot cheaper and you can get rid of the book you'll never use again at the end of the semester hassle-free. You also don't need all new school supplies like you have always enjoyed. Use your old backpack and calculator. All you'll need new is some notebooks and some pens and pencils.
Do not make the mistake of carrying these to class on the first day.
You'll meet plenty of new friends, and you're living with them. It doesn't get better than that. It isn't always great. There will be times when you just want to sleep and your floor mates are running up and down the hallway screaming, and there will be times your roommate needs to pull an all-nighter and study and you need to sleep and vice-versa. But you figure it out. Although you've met great new friends, never forget your friends at home, even if it's just hanging out for the night.
Last and most importantly, have fun. Most people look back at college and remember it as the best time of their lives. Enjoy yourself, skip class a few times, meet new people, make midnight trips to Walmart, stay in for the night eating Pizza Hut, and dress up for Halloween with your friends because this is the last time in your life you're allowed to be irresponsible and carefree (almost). Have fun, but don't forget why you're there.