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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Iowa chapter.

So, you’re a college newbie! Congratulations! Welcome to four years of crying, stressing and yelling. No, I’m joking. College is actually going to be the most memorable four years of your life. It’s definitely scary coming to another environment and figuring out who you are in this community. I’ve been there. I came from another country that’s 8,000 miles away from here, so believe me, I know it can be scary. But you know what? There is so much to look forward to. Here are my tips to have an amazing college experience.

Keep An Open Mind

I know. Easier said than done, right? But I cannot even begin to emphasize how important this is! Don’t forget that you’re just one person in a community of thousands! There are so many different people coming from different backgrounds and cultures that you need to be able to keep an open mind about everything. Not even people, but keep an open mind to your classes, experiences and opportunities. Be open to doing something new everyday. It’ll make your year so much more exciting and spontaneous!

Know Your Resources

I know it’s not slapped on every single surfaces on campus, but there are people to help you out incase of trouble! For example, your TAs (teaching assistants), professors and even RAs. People on campus often don’t make use of what resources are around them. If you’re having a stressful day, go talk to someone at UCS (University Counseling Services,) if you’re having trouble with a class, find a tutor! There are so many places to go if you need help. You just need to ask someone and help will be there!

Download These Apps On Your Phone

This is an important one. If you’re a freshman, and you’re living in the dorms, chances are your RA uses GroupMe, which is a social media app used for group chats. It’s a great way to get to know your fellow floor mates. Bongo is another one! It stands for “bus on the go” and it’s handy if you don’t want to walk to those early morning classes. Another handy app would be Hawk Tools, which is where you can find after class events and even figure out which laundry/dryer machines are in use from the comfort of your own room. Pocket Points is a lifesaver, if you’re in college and want to save some money. The app will make you lock your phone, while on campus, and the longer you keep your phone locked, the more points you get! The more points you have, the more discounts you’ll receive several places on campus. And importantly, don’t forget about the app Rider! A UIowa car will come pick you up (driven by a police officer) and drop you off back at the dorms safely late at night!

It’s Not All About Academics

It’s very easy to lose yourself in school work because you’re trying to get those As. But just remember that your college years are going to fly by, so you need to make the most of it. Make sure you give yourself some ‘me time’ and go out with friends. Balance your time wisely and you should be on the right track. You need to do everything in proportion. College is all about experiencing new things, making memories and reminiscing on good times. Don’t forget to have fun once in awhile. 

I hope this has helped you, fellow student! Don’t fret, college is going to be a fabulous experience!


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Ridhima Jagtap is a college newbie, a.k.a a freshman, working towards a degree in the field of journalism. You'll often find her chasing after cats and watching adorable cat videos on YouTube. If she's not doing this then she'll be singing her lungs out so that her whole floor can hear her. She hopes to blow people away with writing what she's passionate about. Books, music and a lot of animals!
U Iowa chapter of the nation's #1 online magazine for college women.