Take it from a girl who’s already been through her first year of college, it can be tough. Not only do you have a larger and more difficult class load than you did in high school, but you also have a newfound independence. While this independence is great, it can (and does!) affect how you perform in school.
Many freshmen have the idea that they can take their high school habits and transfer them over to college. Hate to break it to you, but that just won’t work. If you procrastinate on a project, you will be pulling an all nighter the night before it’s due. No more slacking off on group assignments or not taking notes in class. Being on top of things is very important in college, especially now that you don’t have family around to make sure you’re doing your work.
Getting used to all the responsibility can be stressful, so that’s why I put together this helpful guide on how to start college off on the right foot!
#1 – Organization is Key
I cannot emphasize organization enough! Keep your desk, your backpack, and your mind clutter-free! There are a ton of ways to do this, many of which I will cover.
1.1 Planners – Planners are one of the world’s greatest inventions, if you ask me. You can plan out your schedule, log assignments, and keep track of important dates. They can be absolute life savers! Sometimes it helps if you color code certain classes or activities. For instance, you could write club meetings in blue ink, assignments in pink, tests in green…you get the idea. If you don’t mind spending a little extra money, I highly recommend Kate Spade agendas. I have the large gold polka dot one, and I love it!
1.2 Dry Erase Boards – Another helpful tool is a dry erase board. You could use this to write inspirational quotes, important reminders, or anything that was on your mind! Last year I bought a dry erase calendar with room for memos. I also use it to keep track of important dates like birthdays and large events. This isn’t the exact kind I have, but it’s by the same manufacturer and I know some people who are happy with it!
1.3 Desk Organizers – One of the biggest causes of my procrastination is when I have things on my desk that are distracting. It’s so much easier to get something done when everything is put in its place. For instance, pens and pencils can go in a cup and extra papers can be filed or placed in a stack. I got a couple of small boxes that I keep extras such as tape, staples, and sticky notes in. I also bought a desktop organizer that has three small compartments and one large one. I use this to file papers, store dry erase markers, and other miscellaneous stuff like that.
#2 – Know Your Way Around
Believe me, no one is expecting you to be an expert on every building on campus, but it definitely helps to have a general idea of where places are. The most important places to know are your residence hall, your class buildings, and dining centers. Some other great places to know are the recreation centers, the student union, the library, and important administrative buildings.
Some schools are really helpful in that they have a navigation app to help you figure out where you’re going. Nothing screams “I’m a freshman!” more than carrying around a giant map of campus. If your school doesn’t offer something like this, then try to figure out where all your classes are a few days in advance. It’s always a good idea to walk your class schedule, especially if you have to get from point A to a point B all the way across campus.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask people for help. I’ve only been back on campus a few days and I’ve already helped new students find certain buildings and offered advice. I enjoy helping people, and so does most everyone else!
#3 – Keep Your Door And Your Mind Open
3.1 Open Doors – Keeping your door open is one of the best way to meet new people! You see the people on your floor every day, why not make an effort to get to know them a little better? People are much more willing to talk to people on their floor if doors are kept open. Within the first few hours of moving in my freshman year, at least 5 people came by to say hello and introduce themselves.
3.2 Open Minds – You meet so many different types of people in college, so it’s very important to keep your mind open when you’re meeting new people. This also applies to different activities or clubs around campus. Go check out a few different clubs and see if you like them! This is also a fantastic way to meet new friends that share the same interests as you!
#4 – Talk To At Least One Person In Every Class
Your first day of class can be pretty stressful! Going into a large lecture hall where you don’t know anyone is definitely a little intimidating. My advice to you is to talk to at least one person in every class. You can never go wrong with introducing yourself and asking the other person about their major. People will be so thankful that you initiated the conversation, and who knows, you might meet a really great friend! But even if you don’t end up being best friends for life, at least you’ll have that person to go to if you ever have a question about the class.
#5 – Call Your Family
Last, but certainly not least, just because you’re living away from your family doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them often. College is often the first time people spend extended time away from their family, and that can be very emotional. It’s okay to be a wreck the first night or two, and it’s actually expected. If you need to call your parents the first night, do it. There’s a pretty good chance they’re also a wreck, and hearing your voice would make their whole day.
Well guys, those are my tips for you! I hope you have a fantastic first year of college!
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