Transitioning into college can be an unsettling thought for some people and getting into the groove of exactly how it works can take some time. However, I’ve come up with the top five things that I’ve discovered along the way of my college career that would have made my freshman year much smoother.
1. DON'T sign up for 8 am's.
I know for some people this may sound like a no-brainer. However, coming into college, I wanted my school days/class to be over as quickly as possible. I figured if I could wake up at 7 am for high school, taking an 8 am class in college wouldn’t be a problem. WRONG! Waking up for an 8 am in college takes DISCIPLINE. You no longer have a parent or guardian constantly barging in your room telling you to “GET UP!” In college, it’s just you and your alarm.
Whether you decide to get up and go to class is completely on you. Taking an 8 am class also means you’re willing to take early exams. Can you handle this after pulling an all-nighter of studying, being hungover, or having that long day/night at work? These are all things to consider when signing up for an 8 am and you should be realistic.
2. A planner is your best friend.
The first day of class is always “Syllabus Day.” This is the day that your professors give you the syllabus for their class and go over the course rules and schedule. A syllabus includes a list of all the assignments, exams, projects, etc. and their due dates for the course. Take the time to write EVERY assignment and its due date in your planner.
Some professors won’t remind you of assignments that are due like your teachers in high school may have. They simply give you a syllabus and expect you to abide by it. Therefore, it is critical that you stay on top of these assignments and plan accordingly to make time to work on them. If you miss the due date, you may not be given another chance to turn it and will receive a 0% for it.
3. NEVER buy textbooks from your school's bookstore.
I learned this the hard way my freshman year of college. I thought it would be the smartest option to buy the textbooks from the bookstore, not only because it was convenient because it was located on campus, but also because I KNEW they would have all of them. Again, I was completely wrong.
For starters, some courses I’ve taken hardly even used the so-called “required” textbooks, so I ended up wasting money on them. Therefore one suggestion would be to try to feel out a course to determine if you really need the textbook or not. If you realize you do, AVOID THE BOOKSTORE.
Buying textbooks from campus bookstores can be very costly. An alternate route that I would suggest is looking on websites such as Chegg.com or SlugBooks.com. These websites offer the same textbooks for WAY cheaper prices.
4. Bring your car.
I know bringing a car to college can be expensive because of the need to buy a parking permit. However, it is worth it. Most colleges require that you stay in a dorm on campus the first year. I know living in a dorm may seem convenient because everything is within walking distance, but what happens when you need to buy food to restock your mini-fridge? Or when you want to go shopping for a new outfit for homecoming or that party coming up?
Relying on the bus or other people who have cars to go places can be frustrating and inconvenient. It’s best to be able to get up and go where you need to at your discretion.
If you’re somewhat of an introvert like me, you know how easy it is to just stay cooped inside your dorm room, simply because you’re comfortable there. However, getting out and meeting different people is critical in college. You may discover you have a common interest or major as some people and begin to build a relationship off of that.
Networking is key in college and knowing some of your peers and professors may be beneficial to you in the long run. I have met some amazing people, simply because I made it a point to be out and about on campus and go to different events.