College Prep: Freshman Edition

WELCOME TO COLLEGE

Your first day of your college experience is probably something that you’ve been thinking about since the first day of senior year of high school. The amount of advice that’s been given to you by teachers, coaches, counselors, friends and family is probably overwhelming. You’ve probably done your fair amount of research of what you should and shouldn’t expect when entering this new chapter of your life. The real question is: why do we treat the idea of our first year of college as something so terrifying? There are so many amazing perks to what college has to offer. However, the more you dread it, the less you’ll find yourself actually enjoying the experience. If you’re coming into college still unsure of what it is you want to study, that’s completely okay! Don’t feel discouraged because you don’t have to have everything all figured out from the very beginning as if you’re going to fall behind. You have time! Just make sure whatever you choose in the end is something that YOU are going to be passionate about in the future!

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WHAT TO EXPECT

College is not like high school in any way shape or form. Your friends you had in high school may not make it throughout your entire college career and that's not something that you should be upset about. Think about it like this: you no longer have to wonder who you’re going to sit with at lunch in the cafeteria and you can decide what times are convenient for you to take your classes! If you’re more of a morning person, try to take those classes early and get them out of the way. Or if you absolutely dread the idea of waking up when the sun is still peaking, try taking afternoon or evening classes. The flexibility of making your schedule is endless. There are also so many opportunities to get involved on campus so don’t waste the first year of college by just going straight to your dorm and then only going to classes (or if you commute, going straight home and back). Get involved and take this opportunity to network and meet new people outside of the classroom. Extracurricular activities such as clubs, Greek life, honor societies, or leadership positions are great ways to stay busy!

STUDYING TECHNIQUES

Get a planner. This cannot be emphasized enough. If you didn’t use a planner in high school, you better start using one now. A planner will save your life throughout your college experience and you will be able to see the due dates for different assignments clearly. Try to have fun with it by using different colored pens and highlighters for each subject or customizing it! There are plenty of great websites out there that you can purchase your own personalized planner as well. Also, time-management is a must. Of course balancing school, work, and extracurriculars can be a hassle at first, but once everything gets set into motion, you'll find out what it is that works best for you. Maintain set study hours and stick to them. The more you procrastinate, the more schoolwork will eventually pile up on you, and in college especially, procrastination is something you want to try your best to avoid. Not only this, but study in a way that is effective for you. Just because one of your friends uses one technique doesn't mean this will be as effective for you. There are visual, readers/writers, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. Try to discover which method of learning is best for you and stay consistent.  

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HOW TO SAVE MONEY

College is beyond expensive and that is a well known fact. One of the best options you can do which will also help you save some pocket cash is, once you get your course syllabus and the requirements from your professors, get those textbooks as soon as possible. Some professors may or may not require a textbook for their course, and the syllabus will further explain what it is that is needed. If possible, try buying your books through Amazon.com or Slugbooks.com rather than the bookstore your school may have on campus. These are two excellent sources for getting textbooks at the best prices, and the on campus bookstores tend to be a lot more expensive.

Another thing we may experience as a freshman in college is stress eating, especially when it comes to getting adjusted to your classes. If you’re balling on a budget, try meal prepping. This is a great idea if you plan to live on campus and don’t have a meal plan with your dorming option. Plan out your meals for the week and make them in advance. Then, when you’re in a rush, you can easily whip out your meal from the freezer, toss it in the oven or microwave then get ready for class throughout the week. Schedule out what days you want to prep your meal, and this will not only save you money, but you won’t starve throughout the week either! 

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