First Year at College? Top Three Tips to Help You Thrive
With the new college year just around the corner, students all over the US are preparing for the big move. Cramming all your possessions into a rented truck and moving lock, stock and barrel into a new world of possibility is undoubtedly an exciting time. It can also be nerve-wracking, emotional and just a bit daunting in equal measures. For many of you, it will be the first time away from your parents and while on the surface that might sound like exactly what you want, the reality of not having mom and dad there at a moment's notice is not without its trials.
The decisions you make at this stage and the way you conduct yourself in your first year of college can have a major impact on your success or otherwise at college, not to mention the rest of your life. The point is not only to survive, but to thrive and develop the skills and tool set which will hopefully carry you forward to the glittering career of your choice.
You can look at your first year of college as happening in three distinct stages; the big pack, the first few weeks and the reality of life as a first year student. Follow these top tips to help you get through each stage.
#1. Packing Up
Aside from the necessary list of items issued by your chosen college, it is likely that you will want to bring a whole heap of stuff besides. Keep in mind that just because you can fit it into the truck, that doesn't mean it will necessarily fit into your college room. Your space is likely to be small and shared. Keep it simple and bring the necessities. It's not like you will never be going home again. You can always add to your belongings later on when you have setlled into your new surroundings. The only thing that you should definitely be looking at taking is a lockable filing cabinet where you can secure valuables like your laptop, phone, camera and cash.
#2. When You Get There
There will a mountain of stuff to distract you when you first arrive at college. It's tempting to put the important stuff on the back-burner and concentrate on going to all the parties instead. Even if you do it in between social gatherings, you should make an effort to go to all the orientations. The quicker you find your bearings, the sooner you will feel at home. You should get to know the other students in your residence hall (outside of the parties). The friends you meet now will be sharing similar emotions and will be by your side for the next few years. Make sure you are organized and know where you are supposed to be and when for the first few weeks. After that it should come naturally, but you still need to turn up in all the right places while you are finding your feet.
#3. Knuckle Down
After the hectic first few weeks, life at college will settle down. It's up to you to make this experience work for you. What does making it work mean? Undoubetedly it means different things to different people, but at the very least, it means attending class and doing the work that is expected of you on time. College professors and your academic advisor are there to help you, so make sure you take full advantage of this key resource if something isn't clear to you and even if it is. Fostering good relations at this early stage may just serve you well later in your course. Make time for friends and social events too. That old adage, "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," is true. Seek equilibrium between your academic pursuits and your life outside of that. You should be looking to achieve a good balance between the two sides of your life.
Above all, be true to yourself and remember that mom and dad are only ever a phone call away. If you want your parent's help in making the transition, point them in the direction of this thought-provoking article over at Today.com - How to prepare your child for freshman year.