For new college students, the freshman year is an interesting mix of personal growth, learning experiences, and entering adulthood. There is so much crammed into this one single year of your life that it is important to get through it as successfully, and with as little stress and strain, as possible. The following list of dos and don’ts will help you to get through your freshman year in the best way possible.
Take the school tour that is offered prior to the first day of your freshman year. This will help you to get acquainted with the general layout of the college and you will also have the chance to meet some of the other new students that will be spending this first college year right there alongside of you.
Make some new friends when you begin your college career. Try to be friendly and not overly shy. You will get very lonely throughout your years away from home if you don’t get out and meet new people to share your time with. Friends can celebrate your achievements with you and also be there for you in the hard times.
Create a budget that will work for you. You are going to be responsible for ensuring that your bills get paid and your needs are met, probably for the first time in your life. Don’t just spend with no idea of how your financial situation is looking. You are going to need to have a budget in order to know what you can afford and what you can’t.
Take care of your health. You don’t want to be sick during such an exciting time of your life and you don’t want to have to miss classes and risk falling behind, either. Get exercise, eat healthy, drink plenty of water, and get adequate sleep at night. Doing these things will keep you healthy, both mentally and physically.
Buy your books used when possible. As soon as you get your list of classes, head for the student bookstore and find all the needed textbooks that you can in the used book section. College textbooks are extremely expensive, especially when purchased new. There is nothing wrong with the used books that last term’s students have finished using. They will have all the same information and are generally in fairly good condition still.
Take safety precautions while you are living on your own at college. Lock your doors at night. Don’t walk alone after dark. Be cautious with your food and drinks when you’re out so that no one puts anything in them unbeknownst to you. Carry a charged cell phone with you. Do everything that you can think of to ensure that you remain safe from harm.
Be a good roommate, if you are sharing housing with someone. Being a good roommate means picking up after yourself, respecting the other person’s space and possessions, being courteous about noise when he or she is needing some quiet, and generally just treating your roommate the way that you want to be treated.
Develop good study habits now. Your freshman year is the time to lay a good foundation of study habits that you will build on for the remaining years you spend in higher education. Don’t procrastinate, don’t turn things in late, don’t ever cheat, and don’t study at times that you aren’t alert and focused on the material you should be learning.
Introduce yourself to professors as soon as possible. This way, when the time comes that you need a little extra help, you will feel comfortable enough to request it and the professor will likely feel more inclined to help you if you aren’t a complete stranger.
Join a club or some other social group in your freshman year. You don’t need to overdo it and join so many that you are overwhelmed with obligations, but there are many opportunities for you to get involved in one or two different things that interest you. This will help you to meet more people and it will also look good on your transcripts.
Schedule more classes than you need to. Take your freshman year to get accustomed to the demands of college life. Taking on too much at once can be very stressful and it can become overwhelming to try and keep up with everything.
Get into the habit of partying. This is your first year away from the rules of home and you may feel like taking advantage of your newfound freedom, but if you get into the habit of partying too much, your grades are almost certainly going to reflect this. Although your college years should be fun, remember that your primary reason for being there is to get an education.
Live on fast food. Not only will fast food actually get quite expensive when you are eating it meal after meal, but your health will suffer, as well. That “freshman fifteen” isn’t something that you have to gain. Eating healthy, fresh foods will keep those excess pounds away and help your wallet stay a bit fuller, too.
Procrastinate on picking your classes. One of the greatest things about college, which differs from high school, is that you have a lot of flexibility about what classes you take and when you take them. This is only really true, though, if you sign up for your classes early so that they aren’t all filled up already by the time you get your requests in.
Cram for tests. This is not an effective way to study for your tests and exams. It is a terrible habit to get into and will not be beneficial to you.
Be afraid to ask for help. There is nothing wrong with asking questions and it is definitely not going to be good if you fail a test because you didn’t want to just let the professor know that you weren’t quite understanding a particular concept or lesson.
Skip classes. Not only will your attendance be affected if you fail to show up regularly for your classes, but you will also fall behind in the classwork and possibly, the homework as well. There may be things done in class that you can’t make up, too, which will mean that you take a zero grade for the day.
Your freshman year of college is going to be one that will require you to make a lot of decisions on your own which were once made with parental assistance. Following the list of dos and don’ts suggested above will help you to start off your college years on the right foot, creating a strong base for the rest of your years as a college student.