A few weeks before I left for college, my upperclassmen friends gave me all sorts of advice to prepare myself. From food hacks to time management tips, I felt equipped with enough knowledge to embark on my journey as a college student. Although I can list about a hundred suggestions, here are 5 things to do to start off your college experience:
1. Get familiar with your school
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Whether you’re a resident or a commuter, set some time before school starts to give yourself a tour of the campus. Going on a tour during your college visit not only helps you know where your class is; but you can discover which route to go on or which shortcuts to take to get to class with the most efficient time. Take a map and walk all over campus several times, just so you know where all the main buildings are. Find all sorts of ways to get to the café, to the library, and back to your dorm. Note which buildings your classes are in and where the bathrooms are. You wouldn’t want to be that one student who arrives to class late because you got lost, would you?
2. Make at least one friend in each class
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Not only is this a great way to make new friends—it’s also a way to help you in class. When you’re absent from class, you can hit up your friend for the assignments and announcements you missed. Having study groups allows you to do assignments together, improving your understanding of the material through the various opinions of your friends. Plus, it’s fun to have people who understand your struggle when you complain about the workload or the tests!
3. Get involved
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Chances are you’ll have a lot to do on your free time (depending on your classes and your workload). There are many options to choose from besides staying in your room to “Netflix and chill”. You can apply for a job, join a club, do intermural sports, audition for a production, or sign up for a creative expression class. Join a club that interests you, or get out of your comfort zone and find a club you’ve never thought of joining. Many colleges also offer elective classes that count for credit, so search for classes like dance, art, music, and more! These are endless opportunities to have fun and make friends while experiencing new things and share your creativity with others.
4. Represent your school
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Having school spirit is such a crucial thing because it unifies the student body. Be proud of your school and get some gear! Don’t forget to buy something for you family and friends too, so they can represent you and your school. There’s always a sale going on in most campus stores, and stay on the lookout for special student discounts. Going to school events is also another way to show school spirit. Watch a few home games with your friends and go to all the fun events on campus (Hint: you might even get some free stuff as well). Wearing a shirt or hat with your college’s name printed across it shows others that you’re proud of being a *insert school mascot here*.
5. Schedule your week
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Even if you prefer to go with the flow, having an agenda or using a calendar on your phone can go a long way. Get into the habit of logging in important exam dates, assignments, and school events. Write down which classes you have at what times, when club meetings occur, or even when you have a hang out with friends. This way, you know when everything happens and how long you can procrastinate before starting on your paper. Your agenda planner can also be used to remind you of things as trivial as buying milk or TURNING IN THAT PAPER or calling home to let them know that you’re alive and well.
BONUS: Go out and have fun!
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A wise woman once said, “GO OUT AS MUCH AS YOU CAN BEFORE ALL YOUR WORK PILES UP.” This could not be truer. I’ve had so much fun going out with my friends and exploring the city during the first few weeks of school. Unfortunately, I seldom go out now because I have rehearsals every night. Pair that with exams and projects, and you got yourself a busy girl.
Take advantage of the days where you have nothing written down in your planner, and use that time to yourself. Chill out, watch Netflix, put on a facemask and just relax. You need to find a balance in your schedule so that you’re not constantly stressed by the amount of things you have to do.
Although I’ve only been a college freshman for a month, these are the most valuable things I’ve learned from being a college student. Growing up is a learning process and I’ll definitely be discovering more ways to make college life easier.
(Copyright to Universal Pictures for Pitch Perfect scenes)