If this is your first year of college and you're just about to begin, you probably have gotten tons of advice from different people and perspectives. Move-in day is more than likely among you, and you might be stressing about whether or not you'll get lost on your way to your classes or if you'll fit in, join clubs, etc. Rest assured, everything falls into place and you're going to have the time of your life. The important thing to remember amongst everything is not to spread yourself too thin, have fun, and study when you need to.
In addition, here are 5 things to keep in mind as you go into your freshman year of college.
1. Get up earlier than planned to map out your classes.
This might seem silly, but I found it very useful to get up sooner in order to get ready sooner and to be able to leave my dorm room sooner to get to my class. I did this because I wanted to make sure I found the right building, classroom, and also wasn't one of the last people to walk in and sit down. From my experience, being one of the last to arrive to class can draw attention since there might not be too many seats left and you're left with squeezing in front of people to get by to that one open seat like in a movie theatre. It'll also give you time to open up your laptop or get out a notebook and pen to follow along and take notes. Trust me, you'll want to take notes on your first day. Most professors jump right into a lecture after a discussion of the syllabus, and you need to be prepared to take down as much information as possible for your exams and projects.
2. Wait to buy your textbooks!
This sounds hasty, but take it from someone who has always needed to purchase online access codes for their classes. College textbooks are EXPENSIVE, and you'll want to save as much money as possible when buying yours. Sometimes your school can recommend a textbook or assign one based on the class that you're taking but wait until the professor explains it on your first day of class. In some cases, the textbook that's required is different from the one the school automatically assigns and you'll be stuck with the wrong textbook or even worse: buying one when it was never necessary to in the first place.
3. Walk around campus to familiarize yourself.
If you're at a university of any kind with campus to explore, take advantage of a few hours out of a day or in between your classes to walk around and find your favorite spots. Scope out the library, dining, sports fields, your advising office, your entire dorm, sorority/fraternity houses, etc. Get to know your campus since it's where you'll most likely be for you next 3-5 years of college (unless you transfer like me). Doing this is how you discover some of your favorite spots to be on campus throughout your time and years there, and it's even better to bring friends to whether it's for studying or just hanging out.
4. Keep an open mind about clubs and groups.
If there comes a time for you to walk around and ask questions about different organizations, groups, sororities, fraternities, or any other type of scholarly group, get all of your bases covered and don't walk off without having all of your questions answered. If there's even a thought or a pang of temptation to join an organization, you can ask questions and even give it some thought before joining. Just be sure to look into a lot of different things and don't be so closed-minded about where you look. On my campus, different organizations come and go, and there's always a variety and never just a couple of lame options. Do the research and find something you think you'll like. You might end up joining into something that makes your entire college experience better. You could also join an organization and decide it's not for you and that's okay too. At least you'd have given it the benefit of the doubt.
5. Keep your dorm or apartment clean.
This might seem really simple and like a "duh" moment, but lemme tell you how easy it is to let a dorm room get really built up with garbage and half-empty plastic water bottles. It takes only a couple of days for dirty dishes, bottles, shoes, dirty clothes, and hair ties to cloud the place and for the floor to become invisible. Be responsible with your trash, sweep and dust to avoid having to deal with allergies, wash your sheets, blankets, and pillowcases to avoid sicknesses, and wipe down your desk and shelves every week or two. I promise in the long run you'll be happy that you did all of this. I've walked into some rotten dorm rooms and stared at them and wondered how anyone lived in it.
Your first day won't be as scary as you think it might be. It's just another first day of school, similar to high school, but minus the school bells and the strict dress code. It's so important for you to pay attention during class because you're paying to be sitting in there, and you're just wasting your own time and money by not listening or not showing up. Professors don't care how well you listen nor about your grade, but they are there if you actually reach out for their help, and not right before your final exam to raise your grade for you.
Keep your head up and smile. You're in college now, welcome to the fun part of your life.