Here are a few important tips I learned last year starting with the Do’s. College is the time to start finding out who you are and where you are going. You can’t do that if you sit home in your room. Go out and meet people. Go try foods you don’t think you will like with the cultural studies groups, and go to the potentially lame comedian. You don’t always have to do this, but you should go at least once. That should be your motto, try almost everything once. Join some clubs and see what new hobbies you can develop. Do go to class, and if you get a bad grade, don’t avoid it, get help! There are so many resources that many students just don’t realize or utilize until senior year or later. Teachers, tutors, study groups, the library, are all there for a reason, so go ahead and use them.
Keep your door open the whole first week, obviously not while you are changing or anything, but most of the time just have it propped. Smile and say hi to people passing by and you will have more friends on your floor than you no what to do with. Always buy used books because the school will never give you even close to what you paid.
Now for some don’ts. Don’t get the biggest meal plan, no matter how good you think the food is, after a few weeks that buffalo chicken wrap you thought was amazing turns into, “wow, chicken again.” Use your dining funds, most schools have meal exchanges so you can spend it on chips, cookies, apples, anything that you want. But seriously use it, or you are wasting a lot of money. Speaking of money, college is really expensive. It is here that you will meet so many kids who seem to either have no money, or have a lot of it. If you are going to hang out with some people who do have a lot of it, be careful. Keeping up with the Jones’ starts early, and trying to stay on the same level as your friends can get very expensive quite quickly. Rather than going to Olive Garden and the mall every weekend, try going to some of school funded events. They offer major discounts and a lot of fun, and free stuff. Take advantage of this, it really is the only time in your life you will have so many options thrown at you.
Have fun and be social, but remember what you are really there for. Studying is important, and your grades really will be proportional to how much effort you put in. Take an online class to see what its like, they are usually easier than the regular lecture classes but not always. Also try to get to know some of your professors. In this case, size really does matter. Even in a big school there are opportunities for person interactions and good relationships with some of the staff.
The more connections you get the better your life will be. Good relationships pay off, big time. Especially if you are looking for a job. Being a TA or a tutor is an awesome opportunity, and it usually pays well for not too much work. Apply for work study jobs if you can, they are by far the easiest and you can usually study if there isn’t anything pressing to do. Apply for scholarships too, even the smaller ones can really make a difference. Along with making a difference, don’t call home everyday. Try for once or twice a week. Start as you mean to go on, its okay to spend one night moping because you miss your family and want mom’s hot chocolate, but thats about it. If you work on getting settled in and cultivating new friendships you will be much better off in the long run.
Stores like Target are amazing, but so is the Dollar Tree. You will need a lot of odds and ends but shopping and unpacking is fun. Don’t room with your best friend, chances are you won’t stay best friends for long. Your roommate is always tricky, but usually it is bearable. Even if you don’t like them, give it some time and you might surprise yourself. Go to a few party’s, on weekends only though. Don’t get drunk all the time, its a lot of calories and problems, trust me. Nursing classes will be mostly girls, and engineering classes will mostly be guys, and its not going to change in the immediate future. There is probably more stuff to say, but this is enough for now. Have fun and work hard, that is all that really matters.