Last week, our friends over at Unigo published a great back to school guide with a ton of tips for college freshman, including links and videos with helpful advice for those of you starting college for the first time. After checking this out, it made me wonder what tips I’d give to college freshman. As a wise old sophmore in college, I think it’s my duty to tell you a few things.
Here are some basic tips for your first year away from home.
Image courtesy of foundphotoslj.
- Start fresh. Think of college as a brand new beginning. New school, new friends, new you. Even if you know someone going to your college, try to expand your group by meeting new people. I quickly became very good friends with my little group- I call them my “second family.”
- Go to at least a few of the social events at the beginning of the year. Yes, they may seem a bit lame (because, generally, they are) but they’re also a great way of meeting new people- and that’s one of the best things about college.
- Get to know the world around you. Don’t just become familiar with your campus. Get to know the town itself, big or small. I thought I’d like Charlottetown after I moved there from a different province. But once I got to know the local music scene, I fell in love with it. Plus, it’s a tourist town so it’s loaded with cute little shops and has a nice sea view that’s great for photos.
- Make your dorm room your new home. Bare-walled dorm rooms are über-depressing. Bring posters and pillows with bright colors to liven up the room. Discuss a color scheme with your roommate. Having a homey dorm will make it more comfortable and nice to be in.
- Keep in touch with your folks. You might not get home sickness right away… but yes, you will get it. And it will hit you like a ton of bricks. No matter how busy you are with school and friends, make time to call your parents or keep in touch by email. They miss you as much as you miss them- probably more. But like everything, homesickness does pass. And when it does, continue to call your mother.
- Manage your time wisely. I bought a day planner before I started school and I’m so glad I did. Most cell phones now come with a planner right on them but I prefer the old-fashioned journal kind. Crossing tasks off when I finish is much more satisfying.
- Watch your budget. Personally, I’ve always been frugal, but even Miss Cheapskate herself ran out of money at one point last year. Why? Dinners out and ordering food in. I hate cooking, so I ended up ordering out a lot. During my second semester, I learned to limit myself to eating out or ordering in once a week. Speaking of food…
- Learn to cook a few decent meals and watch what you eat. Three words: the Freshman Fifteen. Sometimes Freshmen can go a little crazy with their diets when they’re away from Mom and Dad. I know I did.
- Use common sense when drinking. There’s another money-sucker: alcohol. We’ve all heard it before: don’t leave your drink unattended. It’s still a significant thing to remember- date rape is no joke. Avoid drinking games, don’t drink and drive, and know your limits. And don’t show up at class still drunk from the night before.
- Remember why you’re there. Don’t skip class. College is way too expensive to just shrug it off and sleep in. You’re there to learn and prepare for your future so take it seriously.
You should also check out these past posts from the myUsearch blog.
- Parents: What Do Your Kids Need to Know Before College?
- College Life: Myth vs. Reality
- The College Party Scene: The Truth
- Dorm Room Snacks That are Actually Good for You
- Keeping Safe On Campus
- Dorm Life & Living With a Roommate
- Out-of-state College: Tales of Homesickness
- 15 Lessons From My 1st Week of College
- 10 Tips to Stay Fit in College
- Stretching the College Budget: My Strategy
- Things You’ll Forget to Buy for Your Dorm Room
- Packing For College (Part 1 of 2): 25 Must-Haves
- Packing For College (Part 2 of 2): 25 Items NOT To Bring
- Easing the Pre-College Jitters
And don’t forget to check out the Back to School Guide from our friends at Unigo.