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Here are 30 tips that I would have found super helpful to have known before starting my freshman year of college! I hope you enjoy and let me know what you think!
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- Don’t bring everything you own
Spacing is limited at college, so chances are you won’t be able to fit all of your clothes in your closet. When you first arrive leave your sweaters and winter clothes at home, and when you go home for Thanksgiving break you can swap your summer clothes for your winter ones! Also don’t worry about bringing a ton of storage bins at first, you can decide once you’re there if you need to make a Walmart or Target run to get more.
- Get an ID holder that has the barcode outside for easy swiping
My freshman year I kept my ID in a wallet all year and I so wish I would have gotten an ID holder. There are special ones that hold the bottom part of your ID in while the part you swipe is outside, so you don’t have to go fishing for your ID every time you’re at the dining hall or need to get into a building.
- Find a study spot you love for those long hours
Early on you’ll want to find a spot that’s comfortable for studying, such as the library, your room, outside, etc. If you like absolute silence while studying then most libraries have private rooms you can go in, or if you like background noise then common rooms are a great option.
- Make as many friends as you can in your classes
Making friends in your classes is probably the best tip I can give you. If you ever miss a day and need notes, you want help on a homework assignment, or even just having someone to walk to class with can make life so much easier.
- Be friendly to everyone (you never know when it’ll come in handy)
People are going to be way more likely to help you when you need it if you’re known as a friendly and approachable person. Be friendly to everyone because you’ll never know when you’ll see those people again!
- Try to be on good terms with your professors
It’s okay to be the teacher’s pet in college! If you don’t participate in class or talk to your professor often then chances are they won’t remember you. Networking is absolutely key in college and you never know when you’ll need a recommendation or help from a professor.
- Command strips are your best friends
Since you can’t nail anything into the wall at college you’ll need lots of command strips for holding things up. Posters, bulletin boards, white boards, and you can even use the hooks for towels or your backpack.
- Stay out of drama the best you can
You’ll be living with these people for the next four years, and if you go to a small school then being caught in drama can lead to a lot of unnecessary problems. Try your best to stay out of it and don’t cause fights with people if you can help it!
- Become familiar with your courses before class starts
The first few days are stressful, so maybe read the first chapter of your textbook to get familiarized with what you’ll be studying the next few months. It can take some of the pressure of the first day off, and you’ll already have a head start if they assign the first chapter as a reading assignment!
- Always keep on top of homework, even if it doesn’t count as a grade
I once had a class that assigned homework every day, but it was never collected or counted for as a grade. Because of that I would often do my other homework first and I ran out of time to do the not-graded homework. This can really put you behind in class, I highly suggest always doing the homework for much-needed practice. A lot of my professors even used homework questions as questions on quizzes and tests.
- If you have any questions absolutely ask your professors for help
Your professors will most likely have office hours for you to go to, and anytime you want a tutor, or you’re struggling, the first thing they’ll ask is “Do you come to office hours?”. Going to these whenever you’re struggling will not only get you on good terms with your professor but it can give you clarity on whatever the assignment is.
- Hang out in common rooms often
A great way to make friends is to hang out in common rooms instead of your room all the time. This way people will begin to recognize your face and become familiar with you!
- If you and your roommate don’t get along then don’t be afraid to switch roommates
Before considering switching I would definitely try to work things out with your roommate. Sometimes, however, you can be great friends but terrible roommates. Certain conflicts such as one being messy and the other being neat, can be hard to resolve. If you decide to switch then I’d try to stay friends and accept that it’d be better to live with someone more like you.
- Buy snacks for between meals or if you decide to skip any
I didn’t realize how many snacks I ate until I got to college. I love food and it’s impossible for me to only eat three times a day, so I like to keep lots of healthy snacks in my room for whenever I need something to hold me off until the next meal.
- Bring a microwave, minifridge, and a coffee/tea maker!
This is so important and you’ll literally use all three of these all the time. I brought all of them freshman year and I would highly suggest that everyone has these in their room.
- Be involved on campus right away!
I made the mistake of thinking freshman year was too early to get involved on campus, since I barely knew anything about campus. However, I know a ton of freshmen that are already super involved in clubs and events! It’s a great way to get to know people and it’ll also look great on a resume.
- Explore your town outside of campus
Campus will start to feel like your own little town after a while, because you can shop there, send mail, all your classes will be there, and you basically have no reason to leave. Don’t forget that there’s a town outside of campus though, and make a day out of exploring it!
- If you decide to go to parties, never wear nice shoes
If you decide to wear nice shoes, then throw a funeral for them before you go because there’s no way they’ll remain nice by the next day. You’ll be walking around in the dark and most likely you won’t care at the time what happens, so bring a dedicated pair of dirty shoes for those nights out.
- Always have a buddy to take care of you at parties
Having a friend at parties is essential. Even if you don’t drink, you should volunteer to be the friend to take care of others. It’s a nice thing to do and it’ll make for some fun memories!
- Try to exercise often and eat healthy
It’s really easy to gain weight in college, it’s just the way it is. Chances are even if you eat healthy and work out a lot you’ll probably still gain a little weight, and that’s absolutely okay. It’s important to be healthy though so you can be energized.
- You don’t need a notebook and a folder for every class
My freshman year I brought one notebook and one folder for every class, and it’s really not necessary. It’s a lot to carry in your backpack and if you happen to forget a folder then it’ll mess up your notes. Now I keep one binder for all my notes with dividers for each class.
- Make your bed every morning
Even if you’re a messy person, making your bed every morning will make your whole room look better. It helps for if you happen to have someone over, and it’ll keep you off your bed for most of the day! That means you’ll be less likely to take a nap or lay down watching Netflix.
- Apply for jobs before the school year starts
If you’re hoping to have a job on-campus freshman year then you should apply as soon as possible. Most upperclassmen apply for jobs before the school year ends, so to get a spot you’ll need to act fast. You can check the school’s website for possible job positions.
- Keep a planner, because you won’t be able to remember every assignment
Whenever I get an assignment, or a test date, I usually write it down in my notes. Once I’m done with classes for the day I take all of them and write them down in my planner. That way there’s one place to check if you have anything due, and it can also make a great to-do list!
- Get a tutor, even if you’re really smart
College classes can be hard to adjust to, so getting a tutor can be extremely helpful. I had a little bit of trouble my freshman year in a certain class, and getting a tutor was the best decision I ever made. We often met as a group with other people who needed help, and those study sessions saved me from bad grades.
- Remember that your classes are your priority
It’ll be easy to be distracted, especially whenever people are asking if you want to watch a movie, go to the store, or just hang out. It’s so important to get used to saying no whenever you know you have an assignment to do. You might miss out on some small stuff, but in the end getting good grades is way more important.
- Tapestries and Christmas lights are a great way to decorate your dorm room
If you’re wondering what you can do to make your dorm a little more cozy, then get a tapestry and hang some Christmas lights! Lots of girls have them in their rooms and they can take the place from boring dorm room to a great hang out spot.
- Remember to use your student discounts at certain stores
Amazon prime is a great way to get textbooks, or anything else you might need for college. It’s 50% off for students, and you’ll get your first 6 months free! Also if you shop at stores like H&M, J. Crew, etc., then you can get a discount using your student ID!
- Check your email often
I would suggest definitely setting up your email on your phone as soon as possible, and checking it at least twice every day! Professors will often send you updates through email and it’s also where you can get daily announcements.
- Keep your syllabus around because it’ll most likely have all your homework assignments, quiz/test dates, etc.
Professors use the syllabus religiously, which is different from high school when they often wouldn’t get used at all. Writing down your assignments as soon as you can will help you stay on top of what needs done that week.