Everyone starts college with a clean academic slate, along with a lot of independence and numerous decisions as they begin the transition into adulthood. The decisions that new college students make and the actions they take during the first year of college have a major impact on the rest of their college experience.
Whatever you do, be sure to be yourself and try to enjoy your college experience as much as possible. Yes, you will feel stress and get homesick, but by following some basic guidelines those first few weeks and months will be much easier for you in the long run.
Go to all orientations. The faster you learn your way around campus and around all the red tape — the more at ease you’ll feel, and the better prepared you’ll be when issues arise.
Get to know your roommate and others in your residence hall.
The people you live with, most of whom are going through similar experiences and emotions, are your main safety net — not only this year, but for all your years. You may change roommates after the first semester or you may stay roommates for all four years — just take the time to get to know your fellow first-year students.
Get organized. In high school, your teachers most likely led you through homework and due dates. In college, professors often will post assignments for the entire semester and expect you to be prepared. Here is where the planners, organizers, phone apps and wall calendars come in to play and can assist you in keeping in step. Become an expert on course requirements and due dates. Organization is one of the most important keys to success during your four years of school.
Find the ideal place for you to study. It may be your dorm room or a cozy corner of the library, but find a place that works best for you — while avoiding as many distractions as possible.
Go to class. Master of the obvious- right? Maybe, but sleeping in and skipping that 8 am class will be tempting at times. Avoid the temptation. Besides learning the material by attending classes, you’ll also receive vital information from the professors about what to expect on tests, changes in due dates, etc.
Meet with your professors and get to know your academic adviser.
Professors schedule office hours for the sole purpose of meeting with students — take advantage of that time. Getting to know them will be to your advantage if and when you hit a snag or need some help. Your adviser is the person who will help you with course adds and drops, scheduling conflicts and help you decide on your majors and minors.
Seek a balance.
College life is a mixture of social and academic happenings. Don’t tip the balance too far in either direction.
Get involved on campus.
A combination of homesickness and a feeling of not quite belonging hits most incoming freshman. Consider joining a student organization, club, sorority, fraternity, or a sports team. You’ll make new friends, learn new skills, and feel more connected to your school.