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Tips for Surviving Your First Year of College

Welcome to college! Is it everything you imagined? From a senior to a freshman, I’m here to welcome you to campus and hand over a few tips now that I’m on my way towards graduation! In my first year, my cousin handed me a book with 1,001 tips for navigating college. I can guarantee that I did not follow all 1,001 tips but I did develop some of my own. Here are some of my tips to you for navigating your first year:


Tip #1: Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Do you have a secret obsession with video games? There’s a club for that! Don’t shut out any possibility of exploring new avenues you never had the chance to explore before!


Tip #2: Keep your door open. My first year while moving in, I had numerous floormates walk in to say hello, and over the year they became some of my best friends! 


Tip #3: Get to know your professors, even outside of office hours. When you form great relationships with them, it may make you feel more comfortable in class as well. 


Tip #4: READ the textbook! Even if the material feels like something you covered in high school, you will never know what else you might find or learn from looking at it with fresh eyes. 


Tip #5: The library is your friend! Do you have an insane research project you don’t know how to tackle? Don’t be afraid to ask a librarian for help finding books on the topic you’re writing about.


Tip #6: Get to know everyone you see, but don’t feel the pressure to be best friends with them instantly. As a senior, I can say that the closest friends I had my first year are not the same friends I have my senior year. I can cherish all of my friends but relationships will change over the years. 


Tip #7: Don’t sit alone in the cafeteria. Did you see someone in your class you thought was interesting? Strike up a conversation with them, chances are they’re looking for friends too!


Tip #8: Don’t feel the need to dress up for every class. I had a 9am my first year and the last thing I wanted to do was throw on heels and stumble to class. There isn’t a dress code to follow, so if you want to wear your sweats, go ahead!


Tip #9: Plan ahead! You get your syllabus of assignments on the first week of classes, make sure to mark down your papers/tests and plan ahead! The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to stress out the night before an assignment is due!


Tip #10: Don’t forget to create memories! Take photos in the caf with your new friends to tell your parents how you’re doing in your first year! They’ll come in handy when you want to reminisce in your senior year. 


Good luck to all the first years at Dickinson!

Julia Mercado

Dickinson '20

Julia is an English major who just loves to write. You can normally find her looking for the next Netflix original to watch... or coming up with her own script ideas. With Her Campus, she hopes to reach out to other college women like her!
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