Surviving Your First Semester

Surviving Your First Semester In College Isn't Easy, But It's Doable, Here's How

A list of things I did (and some I didn't, but probably should have).

472
views

Starting your first semester in college may seem like a daunting task, but it's not impossible! Here is a list of 10 things to do to make a smooth transition and get through your first semester.

1. Get organized

Staying on top of tasks may have been easy in high school, but managing your time in college can be a challenge. Being unorganized can work against you, especially when assignments start piling up and midterms/finals season approaches. I know it can be difficult, especially with this newfound freedom, but you'll thank yourself later by keeping a planner and to-do list.

2. Go to office hours

Office hours are the number one thing incoming freshman dread, but they're not as bad as they sound. Office hours can be extremely helpful, especially if you're in a large lecture hall class. It's a great resource to not only get to know the content better but your professor, as well. Don't be afraid to take advantage of this one-on-one time because it can help you excel in the class and beyond.

3. Make friends

No one can ever replace your friends back home, but being in college is the perfect opportunity to meet new people and expand your social circle. It doesn't take much to start a friendship. Keep in touch with the people you meet at orientation so you have someone to hang out with when the semester starts, or try to strike up a conversation with the person that you always sit next to in class. Forming new friendships in college makes the experience so much better.

4. Join clubs

Going to your school's involvement fair is one of the first big college events you'll attend. Join as many clubs as you can! You don't need to commit to each one, so don't be afraid to sign up. Anything you find interesting and would like to know more about, write your email down on that list. It's a great way to get involved on campus and find your hidden passion.

5. Study!

It's boring and hard to do, but it must be done. Just attending your lectures isn't enough, you need to put in that extra effort to get a good grade. Figure out what studying style works best for you, whether it's making flashcards, having a study group, or rewriting notes. Set a schedule and stick to it; designate days to study for each class and for how long. And no matter what, please don't cram — just don't do it.

6. Take breaks

All work and no play isn't the way to go. While you are at college to get an education, having fun and taking time for yourself is equally as important. Go to a sports game, go see a movie, or go to a party. Do something you enjoy that will break up your normal routine of classes and studying.

7. Self-care

Your physical and mental health is the most important thing. While I don't advise skipping classes, if you need to take a day off, do it. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and eating right. Working out may not be your thing, but a little bit of exercise a day is good. Cry if you need to and talk to someone (whether its a friend or a campus resource). Take a bath, light those scented candles, drink some tea, and throw on a face mask, because you deserve it.

8. Coffee (and lots of it!)

This is a given. Sometimes you need a little caffeine to get through a long day. Or if you're an addict like me, you need it to get through any day, period. Just make sure you don't drink too much!

9. Call home

Although I'm a commuter, I was barely home, so I called and texted my family often because I missed them. If you're dorming and from out of state, being homesick could hit you harder. Try and talk to your family and friends from back home once in a while because you'll always need that support group, and it's nice to get updates on what you've missed and what's changed.

10. Be you!

Lastly, don't forget to be yourself. Allow your new circumstances to change you for the better and not for the worse. Good luck, have fun, and be happy!

Popular Right Now

12 Dorm Room 'Essentials' That Are Actually A Waste Of Money

If three years of college has taught me anything, it's that I wasted a lot of money and space on things for my dorm room that I never used.

650
views

Now approaching my senior year of college, there are so many things that I have experienced in my three years away that I either look back at and smile just at the thought of or immediately regret. With a younger sister going into her freshman year of college, I hope to teach her as much of those lessons I learned in advance so she doesn't make the same mistakes as me. One of the most important things I learned after moving in and out of dorm rooms and apartments for three years is what should and shouldn't come with you to school. Because, let's be real, as much as we want to pack away our entire lives and fit them in our minuscule dorm room, not everything is necessary.

However, knowledge is power, and I don't want to just save my sister from making those mistakes. That's why I'm here to share the 12 things that aren't necessary for you to bring to school:

1. A Keurig/coffee maker

While living in an apartment and having all the space in a kitchen for a coffee maker and the time to make my own hot drinks, having a Keurig was a godsend. But I'm going to be completely honest, as someone who wanted a Keurig so badly before freshman year...I rarely used it when I lived in the dorms. Between having meal points to buy my own coffee and just never having the time or energy to make it in the morning and then clean the dishes afterward, it just wasn't worth the waste of money and space.

2. A giant television

You may see pictures of dorm rooms and see students with giant televisions along their window or squished onto their desks. But unless you're living in a larger apartment, having a huge flat screen TV has no purpose for a small dorm room. There are TV's usually all over campus, especially in the common rooms that are free for you to use. If you really do feel like you need a TV in your dorm, a smaller one will suffice, because anything larger is going to take up some much-needed room.

3. Any type of hot plate/mini grill, etc.

Besides the fact that these are banned in most dormitories anyways, it's not smart to sneak one of these into your rooms. I can't tell you how many people I know that have accidentally started a fire in the dorm room from using a toaster they snuck in or a special "grilled cheese grill." The dining halls will have everything you could possibly want and need, and most dorm rooms come with a mini fridge and microwave to supplement anything further.

4. Candles

I'll admit, I am guilty of using these my sophomore year of college. Do I regret the millions of times I freaked out because I almost lit my dorm room on fire? Absolutely.

It's not worth it. Your RA will probably catch you, it's not worth the risk of accidentally setting your shoebox-sized dorm on fire, and the smoke detectors in those rooms are so sensitive that you're bound to set them off.

5. A printer

Unless you're living off campus in an apartment, there really is no reason to have a printer in your dorm room. There are tons of printers throughout the different buildings of every university, and most allot a certain amount of sheets for you to do your printing. Printers are big and clunky, hard to store, and the ink is very expensive. Don't consider buying one unless you plan on moving off campus.

6. An iron and ironing board

Take it from someone who absolutely hates wearing wrinkly clothes, the whole iron and ironing board duo was not a smart move my freshman year. It took up way too much room and when I did actually want to iron, it was so annoying to find a spot to do it in my small room.

If you're really obsessive about having non-wrinkled clothes like I am, you can invest in a mini steamer, which is super cheap, stored extremely easily because they're so small, and work just as well as an iron. I ended up swapping out for one of these my sophomore year and loving it so much more.

7. Bean bag chairs/Folding chairs

Any extra seating for a dorm room is honestly unnecessary besides the standard desk chairs that come with the dorm. The floor space is so limited that taking it up with any other large items is going to make it extremely difficult to navigate around your room. Also, when your friends come to hang out, they usually will end up just sitting on your bed or your desk chair anyways.

8. A body pillow

I don't really know what the use of these things are. I had one freshman year, and it laid against my bed the entire year and I never used it. I just found laying on it extremely awkward and uncomfortable and it was just so big that it took up too much room on my already tiny Twin XL bed.

9. A laundry hamper

A stand-up laundry hamper is just going to take up way too much space that you don't have. Instead, invest in some nicely made laundry bags that you can put your dirty laundry in and just easily carry over to the laundry room. A lot of stores even make special bags that differentiate between lights, darks, and delicates so the sorting is already done for you before you do your laundry.

10. A vacuum

While the idea of having a vacuum is nice, and I myself have had one all three years, it just took up way too much room in my dorm and I later found out you could just rent one from the commons whenever you wanted to clean your floor. Most universities do have cleaning supplies for rent, such as brooms, swifters, vacuums, etc., so there's no need trying to fit all of those in your closet.

11. A million throw pillows

While they'll make your bed look cute, making your bed every single morning and remembering where to put the millions of decorative pillows can become very annoying, not to mention finding a place to put them whenever you turn down your bed.

12. Picture frames

While having tons of pictures in your dorm room is nice, and I say the more the merrier, bringing physical picture frames is just a waste because there's not much shelf or desk place to place them. Instead, find a cute wall decoration that holds photos or clips to hang them from your wall. It'll save a ton of space and also cover up those bare, ugly dorm room walls.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Things I Miss Now That I'm Home From College Again

There are so many reasons to be glad that the school year is over, but if you've done it right... there are a lot of reasons to miss it too.

43
views

So, school is over now and I've come home. As expected I was so relieved at first. No more showering with flip-flops, no more listening to screaming girls running up and down the hall, and a space that is mine and mine alone. But after a week or so of being back, there are a few things I've already started to miss.

I know that not every single person has the ideal roommate but I got really lucky with mine. Coming home I was excited to have my own space, but now when I'm doing my midnight scrolling, I'm realizing that I miss being able to talk to her about the funny things I see in that very moment. Tagging, DMing, and texting her doesn't feel the same as a long night of giggles spent together.

Also, while seeing old friends when you get home is amazing, and there is always a lot to catch up on, you do start to miss your other friends too. Being in college means that your friends are going through similar things as you are all the time. You have tests together, clubs together, and sometimes you spend way too much time procrastinating together. The bond you begin to form is one you definitely begin to miss - especially when you guys don't live close off of campus.

Coming home also means you don't have a set schedule or at least not immediately. You may come back to a previous job and that puts something on your calendar, but the free time you still have during the week can be a little too much. I know I've spent way too much time obsessing over the Tati/James drama than I ever would have at school. The routine I had at school kept me busy and entertained, and I'm honestly missing it a lot right now.

There are a lot of other things to miss too - even things you thought you wouldn't. You miss the classes, the teachers, and sometimes the food. I know I miss the environment. It isn't a perfect one, but it's full of people just trying to find their way. We are all working through the roller coaster of life and we are all stuck on one beautiful campus together while we figure it all out. I miss meeting new people at the bus stops or running into old classmates and catching up.

I guess the bonus for me is that I just finished sophomore year which means I have more time to spend at school. Come senior year, I guess I'll have to learn quickly how to deal without the things I miss - and also create a schedule so I can travel to see all of my friends, but those are all problems for future me.

Related Content

Facebook Comments