The start of college is just around the corner, and for you freshmen, it will be a time of new beginnings — you’ll have a lot of new freedoms and new responsibilities. It can be exhilarating, but a lot to take in all at once.
I got a lot of good advice when I started college, and I thought I’d share some of it with you, to help you get off on the right foot:
- Go to class. This may seem basic, and you may be planning on it right now, but once you get to college, you’ll find that a lot of people do skip class , especially the early morning sessions! Don’t give in to the temptation. Even though no one is around to make you answer that alarm clock, get in the habit of always attending class. It will make a big difference in your grades. In my opinion, it’s even more important to attend class than to do the required reading. (Obviously you should do both, but I’m just saying!) Plus, you are paying for these classes — get your money’s worth!
- Study between classes. Once you start college, you’ll probably be surprised at how much free time you have during the day. You’re used to being in school seven hours a day, but in college you may only have three classes on any given day. That leaves lots of hours in between. Resist the temptation to head back to your dorm room and watch soaps between classes. If you don’t have an on-campus job to occupy your time between classes, then stick around and head to the library. Review your notes, catch up on reading (you’ll have a LOT of reading to do in college), or finish any assignments you might have. If you get in the habit of staying on campus and studying during the day, you’ll find that you have a lot more free time in the evenings.
- Stay on the weekends. It can be tempting, especially in the first few months of college, to pack up and head back home on the weekends. After a long week of the unfamiliar — finding your way around campus, trying to get a handle on your classes — many students prefer to spend weekends in their comfort zone, around old friends and family, in familiar surroundings. Resist the urge, especially at first, even if you find yourself at loose ends on the occasional Friday night. If you stick around on the weekends, you’ll find that most other freshman are also looking for friends and trying to figure out college life. You’ll quickly start making more friends and finding things to do. It will be important to your happiness and your ultimate success in college to have a strong network of friends and a fun social life at school, as well as back home.
- Be careful with your money! College may be the first time you’ve been in charge of your own money, so now is the time to start some good habits. Figure out the best way to keep track of your checking and savings account balances. Managing your accounts online may be the easiest way. Save your receipts so you can keep track of your spending, and compare it against your online transactions. Start working on a budget from the get-go.
- Be cautious about credit cards. You’ll be inundated with offers at college. Get just one credit card and don’t charge any more than you can afford to pay off each month to avoid additional interest charges.
For those of you who have survived your first year of college, do you have any tips to share with the incoming freshmen?