Are you an incoming freshman? Are you panicking? Stop. Inhale, exhale. Are you breathing again? Good. I have a secret to tell you. Your first year at college is going to be amazing. I'm even going to let you in on some things to get you through your first year.
High school did not prepare me at all for how much I'd have to study in college. Big shocker, right? Before you get scared and think you can't do this, breathe. Trust me, I'll help you get through this part. Trick 1? Hire a tutor. There should be a tutor for every possible class and major. You just have to hunt for them. I didn't do this because I'm stubborn and it hurt my grades a lot. If you're like me, suck up your pride and get a tutor. It won't kill you. In fact, studying with another person may help you remember things better.
Trick 2? If you tutor isn't helping you learn at all, let's be real I'm sure that's happened before, try studying with friends in that class. Trick 3? Make flashcards. I know you're thinking "really Cydney? I haven't done that in ages." Well it works for me. Just give it a shot.
Set goals for your day or week.
Big or small, this will help you prioritize. This can be anything from joining a club to writing a paper to attending a school event that you've never been to before. It's your goal list, you decide what goes on it. Just be warned, if you don't write anything down it is possible that you'll forget something important. Last minute scrambling is not fun in college.
Trick 4? Buy yourself a planner to keep track of everything. That way you can see if you can go to that game or grab dinner with a new friend.
Do not try to pack your entire life in your car.
"But Cydney, what about all my clothes?!" Have your parents ship you clothing as the weather starts to change or go home on a weekend to grab a few things. Trick 5? Bring the necessities. Your school should have sent something in the mail about your housing. Usually they should have a brochure or paper with items to bring to your new home. Look at it! Don't toss it away. You'll probably end up buying things while you're going to school anyways.
Think about it. Do you really have room in your car to pack your entire life plus a school year's worth of new things? No, don't even go there.
Live in a dorm your first year of college.
It sounds crazy because I know you probably want your own place but just do it. Dorm life is always interesting and you meet a lot of people that way. Between hall meetings and social things, you never know, you could have a lot of fun! This is also a good way, if you're working during the school year, to save money.
Save your money. Save every little bit you can.
Yes save all your coins, you'll probably need it to do laundry if you don't go to college close to home. If you want that apartment next year, save. There are so many things you can save for. Having a little extra money hidden somewhere is a good way to be prepared for an emergency.
Trick 6? And I know we all hate this word, budget. That means not going to Starbucks 3 times a day. Buy your own coffeemaker. Don't eat out every night. Don't buy 15 items on Jawbreaking at once. I know it's hard but you have to resist! Don't buy everything at the school store. I'm not talking supplies for class. I'm talking about the shirts, pants, and whatever else has your school plastered on it. I was guilty of buying quite a few things to show my school pride.
Go to a game.
Whether it be football, basketball, baseball. Just go to one. It'll be fun.
You think I'm joking, don't you? I'm not. Go to social events. I am not saying go to a frat party. I am not saying socialize rather than study. I am saying if you have the time, go outside and walk around campus. Look for flyers, posters, anything that may something about a school event coming up.
Don't be afraid to join a club that interests you.
You obviously already have something in common with the people in it.
Do not go home every weekend.
This ties in to socializing but let me tell you why you shouldn't go home every weekend. You won't get the full college experience. You won't know the feeling of living on your own. I'm not saying to never go home but a lot of things happen on campus on the weekends. Especially during football season! Tailgating means free food, I'm just saying. Don't be afraid to stay on campus for a weekend or two when you first arrive.
I wasn't able to go home or see my family for a while. Of course I felt homesick from time to time but I found ways to use my time. If your roommate goes home every weekend, this also gives you alone time. Who doesn't love alone time?
Do not stay on your computer or phone 24/7.
This is easier said than done. Technology basically rules our lives nowadays. Of course, keep your phone with you in case of emergencies or a good photo op. Do your homework. If it takes 24 hours to do, I'm really sorry. If you're stressing out, take a break from the technology. Take a walk outside. Read a book. Sing. Dance. Just do something to relax. The world is not going to end if you take 10-30 minutes to chill.
If this helps you through your first year, you have a tip, or you have a question, leave a comment below! I'll happily respond to it and help you out the best way I can! You can do this. Get ready to make some wonderful memories and step closer to your dreams
Photo Credit: Ryan Tauss
I am a self starter extraordinaire with a knack for empowering people to cultivate their best lives. Cooking is therapeutic for my sanity. I'd rather spend my day on a spontaneous road trip with my best friends than shopping, but Target has my heart. If I'm not at the bookstore with my mom, taking a nap, or on the couch binge watching something with my cat and my boyfriend, I'm probably at the dining room table working.