"Oh so you're starting your freshman year of college?" This is such an intimidating topic for so many people, but it doesn't have to be as scary as it sounds. Whether you're moving far from home or just two hours away like me, the best way to prepare is to listen to some advice from someone who has already made the change and loved it.
One of the most important things I thought I fully knew about myself (but definitely confirmed in my first semester of college) was that I no matter what, can't study or do homework in my own room. The simple solution I ended up finding, was to take my homework and head to the library or nearest coffee shop. My suggestion, whether you have the same problem as me or not, is to find a nearby spot that you feel comfortable working in, with or without friends. With this idea, I look forward to getting a coffee and some studying done.
2. Be Inviting
When transitioning to a brand new place, especially a giant college, you will meet tons of new people, whether you try to or not. Something I could not stress the importance of enough is being open to talking to and becoming friends with people you meet. Beyond this, never be afraid to reach out to people first to meet up. This last year, I met most of my closest friends this way and since then, we were together almost every day.
3. Forget Procrastination
I am the absolute worst when it comes to procrastination, but this goes to say if I can do it, you can too. The best strategy I found to fight this battle with is to make a to do list. When I became overwhelmed because of procrastination, I would write down all the things I needed to finish and as I finished, I could cross them off and reward myself. The other biggest way to help this is to prioritize things. Yes, going out on a Thursday with all your new friends seems more enticing, but that test on Friday or Monday morning should be higher on the ladder.
4. Take Care Of YOU
A lot of people get sick in college and whether it be the flu or a small cold, it is so important to listen to yourself when you feel like you need to rest and take a day off because unlike being at home (unless you live at home during college) you'll have to still take care of yourself and do homework while you're sick. Another huge thing I learned was that having a good sleep, meal, and workout schedule is just as crucial as anything. Working out relieves stress and is honestly my favorite study break.
5. Find Your Passion
In college, especially at a university there will be an overwhelming amount of things to be involved in. There are clubs, intermurals, research labs, honoraries, jobs, Greek organizations, and so many others. My suggestion is to go to the club fairs you'll always hear about, ask new people what they're involved in, look online, and just do anything to get yourself involved in your school. This will expand you as a person and you are guaranteed to find something you love. For me, I realized I really enjoy writing even though my major is strictly science. Fortunately, I found the Odyssey Online and will continue to write even though I finished taking the required English classes.
6. Take A Break From School, At School
A huge piece of advice I can offer is to find balance for your studying and having fun. After you figure out what your successful studying schedule is, reward yourself when you can. In college, there will ALWAYS be something other than studying to do. It is definitely not a crime to go out and if that isn't your thing, there are so many other ways to take a break without leaving school.
7. Make Yourself Comfortable
You're going to most likely be living without your family and maybe even without any friends from home around you, so you need to find ways to make your space comfortable for you. Bring some stuff from home, like your favorite decorations or blanket and make your room somewhere you feel happy in. The rest will come naturally.
8. Don't Forget Your Friends
The last major piece of advice I have for someone who is new to college, is to keep your friends from home close. With social media especially, it is beyond easy to keep in contact with someone directly. Trust me, your friends will miss you and you will miss them and the best way to handle this is to stay in touch. You'll both have so much to tell each other, even before you reunite.
Beginning college is a very overwhelming time in anyone's life, but luckily you've read this and now know some of the secrets I learned from my first year at U of A. Good luck, you'll love it!