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College Tips: 10 Things Every Freshman Should Know

June 15, 2010 By: Julie Manhan Category: Best College Tips

A lot of people think you just have to be smart to go to college, but you also have to be courageous.  You have to be brave enough to step into the unknown to try something you’ve never done before.  But before you take that next courageous step, make sure it’s not a blind one.

It’s easy to think, since you’ve heard so many stories about college and maybe even visited several, that you know what to expect when you get to campus.  The truth is that college freshmen often find things to be different than they had expected.  That can make for a tough transition, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Here are a few things you should know that may make your transition to college an easier one.

1. You will be homesick.  No matter how ready you may think you are to be away from home, in the midst of all the changes you will be experiencing, you are bound to be at least a little homesick at college.  If you make an effort to meet people and get involved on campus, you may find that your homesickness will begin to subside.

2. Orientation activities are worth your time and effort.  With a choice of both large and small events, as well as a variety of types of events, there are plenty of opportunities to meet people.  Don’t be shy; make the most of what’s being offered.  If you are living in a residence hall, be sure to attend events that help you meet the people you will be living with.  If you’re a commuter, orientation events can be very helpful in making connections and helping you become a part of the community.

3. Roommates get along better when they talk about expectations at the beginning.  Sharing a room requires compromise and good communication. Each of you will need to be willing to adjust your expectations and actions so the other one doesn’t feel uncomfortable in his/her own home.   Talking about the little things before they become big problems can help you avoid unnecessary stess.

4.  Not everyone can be trusted.  While the majority of people you encounter will probably be very trustworthy, it only takes one to make your life more stressful. So, along with keeping your laptop, iPod, and cell phone safe, be sure you keep anything having to do with your finances in a place where they are out of sight and not readily accessible.  That also includes anything with your social security number on it.

5.  Constantly talking to high school friends may make it harder for you to make college friends. While keeping in touch with old friends is a good thing to do, but to feel at home in your new school, it’s important to invest time getting to know your new classmates.  You’ll be doing both yourself and  your friend a favor if you limit your calls to once or twice a week.

6.  It’s important to be patient with yourself and others.  The first few months of freshman year can have its ups and downs.  Adjusting can take time.  It can also take time to forge new friendships, so try not to get discouraged and keep on going to events that sound like they might be fun.

7.  You’re not in high school anymore.  Well, duh.  But don’t be surprised when a professor doesn’t remind you about an upcoming exam or give you an extension on a paper.  Most professors will expect you to keep track of important dates and to get your work in on time.  Make sure you get their reading done too or you may find yourself at a disadvantage on the next test.

8.  Balancing work and play in college can be very challenging.  Even the most organized student can have some trouble getting used to the heavier workload and number of activities available in college.  If you set a schedule for yourself and stick to it, it will be much easier to get everything done and still have time to do the fun stuff.

9.  If you’re having trouble in a class, seek help right away.  Because classes meet less frequently than in high school, it can be easier to fall behind and harder to catch back up.  Dont’ hesitate to talk to your professor and get tutoring as soon as you may start feeling lost.

10.  Taking care of yourself is essential to doing well in class.  It’s harder to study when you’re sick, not getting enough sleep or living on french fries and ice cream.  Your mom would tell you to be sure to eat at least one balanced meal a day, wash your hands thoroughly, and avoid staying up till dawn. Be sure to listen to her.

Knowing these things in advance will help you start your new adventure well prepared. If you keep all this in mind as you head off to college, chances are your freshman year will hold fewer unwanted surprises and leave more room for you to just enjoy being a college student. Good luck!