After receiving much-anticipated offers of admission, high school seniors turn their attention to preparing for their college experience. Whether it is joining campus message boards, connecting with incoming freshmen on social media, or shopping for dorm swag, college-bound students eagerly await the start of the fall semester. We’ve previously discussed some dorm room must-haves, but here we will offer some often over-looked advice on how to survive freshman year and beyond:
- Make an effort to get to know fellow students and expand your social circle. Look for “open doors” in your residence hall; often, these rooms contain the most friendly and outgoing students.
- Take advantage of all of the student services: counseling, tutoring, advising, etc. Know what resources are available and make the most of them.
- Get to know your professors early: e-mail them or visit their office hours to introduce yourself. This is especially important in larger lecture classes where you will likely just be a number; make sure the instructor can match your face to the roster.
- Flip flops, or other quality shower shoes, in the bathroom are a must. Foot fungus is not your friend.
- Schedule time for yourself. Carve out at least one hour a day to something you want to do to relax. Practice self-care. This can be meditation, exercise, yoga, napping, reading for pleasure, taking a walk, watching a show, etc.
- Consider placing your phone/alarm clock out of the immediate reach of your bed; it is way too easy to hit snooze and fall right back to sleep.
- Always go to class. You never know when a professor or TA will make an announcement or change something in the syllabus. You should only miss class when you are too ill to attend.
- Invest in a good planner (paper or digital) and commit to consulting it regularly. Put reminders in your phone for assignment due dates, class times, lab times, and extracurricular activities.
- Always make sure to backup your files.
- Call home and email/Skype with close friends at least once a week; they are missing you.
- Find a good study space for you. This is likely not going to be your dorm room. Find a spot with few distractions and a place that you can carve out space to get work done: library, coffee shop, student union, etc.
- Read the entire syllabus for each course and understand the expectations and policies; if you have any questions, do not make assumptions and do not hesitate to contact the professor for clarification.
- Try to make a friend in every class. Connections can help you clarify assignments, study for exams, and get updates on classes that you miss.
- Try to meet new people, engage in new activities, and take classes that interest you, but be careful not to overschedule or overextend yourself.
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