Forget Survival: These 7 Tips Will Help You Thrive Your Freshman Year of College
Too many articles talk about “surviving” freshman year of college as if you are going to be fighting an uphill battle the whole way. We have a little more faith in you than that! In the following article, we will be discussing ways that you can do more than survive. In fact, these tips will help you thrive.
The first thing to realize is that you have everything in your arsenal that you will need to pull this off. From there, you can learn the rest as you go. We recommend planning to budget, socialize, and organize your studies. Know where your resources are to help you make the most of things. Build a good support group around you. And, above all, try to make class every single day to show your professors that you’re in this thing to win it!
1. Control Your Spending
Money can be tight for a lot of freshmen on campus. Consider exploring what financial aid is available, not just through your FAFSA form but through community scholarships as well. If you choose to live off-campus, look in to getting a roommate.
Whatever you do, avoid the temptation to use credit cards. It can seem liberating at first. Then, the first bill arrives, and you realize that spending now and paying later is a recipe for disaster. You’re much better off not spending and instead opting to stow away your cash for the purchases that you need to make.
2. Get a Roommate
Getting a roommate or two or three is perfect for reducing expenses like rent, utilities, cable, and Internet. That said, living in a house with 3-4 other people can be stressful. If you’re living with these people full-time, then you have a built-in social life waiting for you. Make sure they’re people you get along with!
The downside of living on campus is that you don’t always have control over whom they put you with. If you do end up with a dud, consider putting in for a transfer to someone’s room with whom you actually enjoy being around. For this reason, you might want to keep in touch with high school friends going to the same college. Also, you can ask new friends from your classes if there is a strong connection there right away.
3. Respect the Rigor
Look, you won’t encounter anything in your freshman year of college that is so drastically different from your college-prep high school courses. The foundation for excelling at your studies is there. But this is college, so don’t take the difficulty level for granted.
Study for exams. Do your homework the right way, even if that means missing a few problems to understand the overall concept. Talk to your instructors about concerns that you might have. And when it comes to your roommates, make sure they understand what your studies mean to you and that they, too, respect the rigor involved.
4. Know Where to Find Resources
There are plenty of resources available to help catch up on homework and to keep up on your classes. Write or call your professors prior to class so that you have a heads-up on what you need to do for your assignments or the class. Hold on to your syllabus for each course and read it thoroughly. Mark key dates early on, and then familiarize yourself with where to locate the resources to help with those projects and assignments.
It’s always helpful to sit down and look at what learning options you have available. Do this each week to make sure you’re not missing anything.
5. Make Time for Fun
This isn’t to suggest that you have no time for fun. Indeed, you absolutely do! But, before you decide to go out, consider a few things first. Is there something that you can watch on TV or online to pass the time? Books? Quids? A museum excursion?
We encourage you to get creative and fun if you can for a while before committing to going out. There will be no shortage of partying in college; in fact, this is the point of life. Choose where you want to go, how far you want to go, and when you want to go. University life is in flux and people expect you to be flexible.
We can promise that the first week of university will not be easy — but that’s okay! Every semester is different and you will settle into a routine as long as you stick to it. Find what works for you, and find your happy place so that you can have fun. Just avoid relationships – friendships, romantic partners – who start to turn you away from your main priorities.
6. Learn Where Everything Is On Campus
Having a clear sense of where everything is on campus will keep you from getting lost. It will ensure you make it to your classes on time while maintaining control over what you spend your time on. Last but especially not least, it will make you feel safer in your environment.
7. Tour the Town
Take the same approach for the town where you’re living. Know where the high-crime areas are. Pinpoint your favorite hangout spots and only incorporate new locations when you can maintain your focus and travel with plenty of friends. Geographical awareness will help you to avoid unsafe situations.
Aside from the safety factor, it will just help you feel more at home in your city, and that will free you up to take in more of the nuance that lends every city its personality. You can really start to develop a sense of school and community pride as a result. You’ll also be able to locate the most important community resources for whatever questions or challenges you experience along the way.
Mastering These Tips Will Help You Capitalize On Your Freshman Year of College
Your freshman year of college is a time to learn and feel your way around. If everything goes to plan, your college home will be your home-home for at least the next four years. Incorporating the seven tips we’ve shared above will get your through these first two semesters and give you a great deal of momentum for the time to come.
What are you most concerned about for the freshman year ahead? What’s got you feeling confident or insecure? Share your tips and thoughts with fellow freshman-to-be below.
[Featured Image by Flickr Creative Commons]