With all the freshmen moving into their dorm rooms this week, it may be nice for them to receive some tips and general knowledge from an upperclassman. With that being said, the students who are first-generation college students probably need a little more guidance than those who can easily turn to their siblings or parents.
You will not be left out of things based on your family's educational background, but you may not understand some of the things that the multi-generation students do — especially if those students are legacies of your college. This is perfectly fine! You'll eventually get to know all of the things they know, you just get to do it in your own way. In my opinion, learning the ropes of college without any prior knowledge just adds to your experience, not takes away.
Don't throw out money when you don't have to! There are scholarships specifically for you First Gens! Google and apply for them because education is not cheap my friends. Supplies, tuition, room and board. You will sign your life away to pay for these things so try to get scholarships to cover as much of it as you can. On the topic of money, try to buy your textbooks used and check everywhere before you buy them new. There's a multitude of companies and students who are trying to sell textbooks cheaper than your school's on-campus bookstore — make the on-campus store your last resort, the prices there will be much higher than the prices from an outside party. On-campus stores increase their prices on just about everything, from textbooks to shampoo.
Get involved! Networking is EVERYTHING in college. Whether you want to network for social means or academic and career means (or all of the above), networking is an important part of life and it really starts in college. The saying, "it pays to know people" is incredibly accurate. You can network by getting involved in just about anything; you can network with coworkers, club members, and even the people living in your residence hall. Talk to your professors and get to know them. You may clash at times, but they are the ones feeding you the knowledge you need to become successful in your career path. Your professors can provide a different outlook on your major and interests that will broaden your intellectual horizons.
Join a club and try something you've always wanted to try. My friends and I joined a hang gliding club my freshman year. There's no doubt that your school has a club that will open your eyes to a new experience, whether you decide to stick with it or not! The people you choose to be friends with will play a large role in shaping the way your college years unfold. Choose people that inspire you and help you thrive in whatever way you desire to thrive.
Choose a major you are in love with. Choose a major that makes the student debt worth it. Choose a major that you would choose again and again. If passion and excitement are not the first words that come to mind when thinking about your major, then switch it. Switch your major ten times if you want. As long as you make sure you are pursuing a degree that will let you immerse yourself into a field of the world that you will enjoy every day. If you're struggling but you know that you're studying the field you want to be in, don't switch majors. It's difficult to ensure that you are working your hardest to strive and be the best that you can be. There are resources everywhere, USE THEM. Get tutoring, read a book, watch an online video, make flashcards. Do what you have to do to be the best that you can be.
Call your parents and grandparents. Call your sister or your brother. Send the occasional text to friends who chose a different college than you. You'll miss these people, and it's a sure fact that they will miss you too. Your parents will love hearing about the things you are doing, they never got to do them so they are genuinely interested. Have them come to a football game, walk them around campus. It's as much fun and as new to them as it is to you. Help each other along the way.
Enjoy it while it lasts.
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