Graduating next semester, I've had some of my best memories at my university. I've met amazing friends, learned so much from my classes, have had some professors become mentors... Those are the things that you can't learn via a 50 minute zoom call.
1. Professors are your friends.
Whatever your major is, you're bound to find at lease one professor who you click with. Little by little, the more you meet with them, you'll realize that they're not only your teacher, but your ally and possibly your biggest support system. A zoom call with an entire class, maybe even 100+ students, you won't get that one-on-one time.
2. Living in a dorm will change your life.
Coming from someone who spent a while in a dorm with 7 other girls, the lessons that I learned were monumentally helpful in my life today. You quickly learn boundaries (or lack thereof), how to tolerate other people who live different than you, and will possibly find one of your closest friends like I did.
3. Handpick a schedule that is best for you.
Since I am not a morning person, I took all of my classes as late as they were offered and benefited that much more from them because I was able to focus better. If you have a class that's offered at multiple times, pick the one that you'll be able to work best in.
4. Do some research on your future professors.
Rate My Professor is the best tool you can use going into your first semester - especially if your gen eds are taught by many different people. Find out what kind of professor they are by reading what other students say after they've taken their classes. Trust me, it will drastically change the way you pick your classes.
5. Avoid the dining hall at all costs.
Occasional bugs in the food... Need I say more?
6. Make memories however and whenever you can.
If that means staying up late to make memories with your friends, do it! You won't want to look back on your college career and only remember the times you overstudied in the library.
7. Don't always put academics first.
Hear me out... Remember that your mental health is the most important thing to consider. If you have scholarships to keep up and need to do well in classes, be sure to balance that with keeping a clear mind. It's a lot easier said than done, but the effects of burnout, depression, and anxiety are much worse than a so-so grade.
8. Use the school's resources.
Things like counseling services, on-campus nurses, RA's and RD's, tutoring rooms, everything in the library... If it's accessible to you, USE IT! They're there for you so take advantage of it because let's be honest; college costs a lot. Get your money's worth!
9. Don't be afraid to talk to professors about class modifications.
If you need an extension on an assignment or are really struggling in a class, talk to your professors! This isn't guaranteed that they'll cater to your every need, but some professors are flexible with their students if they are honest and keep open communication.
10. If you struggle with mental health, talk to the ADA office.
This was the best decision I ever made, and I regret that I only got involved starting my sophomore year. The Americans with Disabilities Act allows special opportunities to students who really struggle with mental health issues. Sit down with the person in charge, ask for some special modifications, and they will automatically be applied to any class you're in, no matter what it is.
As you start this crazy journey, remember that college is what you make of it. Remember that you're there for a reason, and don't forget to make the most of it.