If you feel overwhelmed by your freshman year in college away from home, you are not alone! The first semester away from home is a difficult time for about every college student–you’re not just learning college curriculum, you are also learning the challenge of how to be a college student. Here are some basic first year survival tips.
Be responsible for your own learning. No one is going to remind you when your papers are due or hold you responsible for doing your homework every night instead of socializing. Make sure that you go to class every single day unless you have an extremely good reason not to go. Now that you’re no longer forced to be in class, it will be tempting not to go. Just know that if you don’t go, you’re not going to do well. When in class, take good notes and pay attention—no text messaging your friends or updating your Facebook status.
Try to meet new people. Be sure to take advantage of freshman orientation week–if you go home to visit old friends and visit family, you’ll be missing out on the opportunity to make friends and build an independent life away from your family. Face your fears and your homesickness and stay on campus, at least for the first month or so. The same goes for if you have high school friends on campus with you– avoid hanging out with them all the time and take the opportunity to make new friends and meet new people.
Learn to be financially responsible. Even if you’re lucky enough to have parents who can help you out financially, you need to learn to spend money wisely. Also, be careful with credit cards–credit card companies prey on college students heavily, and before you know it, you may be in more debt than you thought possible. Make sure that you have an emergency fund for things like medical bills, car repairs, etc., so that if something goes wrong, you’re prepared to deal with it.
Eat right and stay healthy. Try to eat well, exercise a reasonable amount–walking around campus counts, get regular medical checkups, and get enough sleep. Make sure you understand basic nutrition and how to eat right–college is full of junk food temptations and if you’re not careful, you’ll be packing on the dreaded “freshman 15” in no time and may make yourself sick in the process. Be careful not to have too much sugar or caffeine, and avoid consuming too much alcohol.
Seek out help if you need it. Academic and psychological help is available on all college campuses, but you need to take the responsibility to get the help you need. Don’t be afraid to ask professors for help if you are feeling depressed or psychological overwhelmed.
If you follow these simple steps and guidelines, your first year as a college student will go much more smoothly. Take the time to educate yourself now to guarantee a great college experience.