College is an exciting time for students. For most people, college is their first time living independently. Because of that, however, it’s also just as intimidating. Entering college is a culture shock. Living alone, creating your schedule, and attending classes take a level of self-discipline many students never expected. College shouldn’t be about sweating the small stuff, though, and that’s why we’ve put together this list of the tips freshmen should know before they head to school.
Contact Your Roommate
If you’re moving into the dorms, you probably received an email with your new roommate’s name and contact information. Reach out to them! Say hi, add them on Facebook, and most importantly, find out what each of you is bringing to the dorm.
Register for Classes Early
As soon as you can, sign up for classes. Many students of all levels say never take a morning class, but really, that depends on you. If you’re a morning person – that 9 am might be a great idea! Either way, register as soon as you can so you don’t find out too late a class is full.
Introduce yourself to your professors. Visit your TAs during their office hours. Talk to your classmates. Meet your roommate’s new friends. Networking at college is the best way to find out about internships, classes, and sometimes even jobs!
Don’t Skip Classes
College is exciting, and sure, you’re going to end up at a party or two. But no matter how late you were out, always go to class. Unlike in high school, college classes meet less frequently, so missing just one day can cost you big in the long run.
But Make Sure to Go Outside!
On the flip side, you shouldn’t become a shut in either. College is stressful, and that means free time is even more important. Go to the concert with your friends, head to that party at the frat house, or even just take a walk sometimes!
You hear it said all the time that you should get involved with your school’s extracurricular activities. It’s for a good reason though, since clubs and sports keep you from becoming a hermit and help you stay sane after those grueling library study sessions.
Keep an Open Mind
This is another piece of common college wisdom, and it can mean several different things. As a student, you have a unique opportunity to try new experiences in a safe, friendly environment. Many schools have clubs for things like sailing or fencing, which you may never have considered. If there’s a subject you’ve always wondered about, take a class! Sometimes this is a great way to find out majors for those who haven’t decided.
The “freshman five” – or 10, 15, or 30 – is a very real threat. If you’re living in the dorm, you probably have a dining hall nearby. Combined with the flood of free food at practically every college event, there’s more than enough to eat and it’s easy to start packing on the pounds. Luckily, most schools include gym membership in their tuition, so hit the rec center after that pizza party and you’ll feel a lot better!
More than anything else, college is about coming into your own. Your experience is yours alone, and you should live it to the fullest – and yes, that includes studying too.