You’ve been thinking about your freshman year of college since the day you walked off the stage at your high school graduation, and if you’re normal, you’ve been thinking about it since before that. But you were never taught how life would be on your own, so how do you figure it out? I wish there was a simple answer to that, but unfortunately, you will always keep messing up and learning. So, until you can successfully sustain yourself, here are some tips on how to help along the first year of your college.
If you didn’t know, college is not like high school. In high school, it’s really easy to get by without studying or studying too hard. But before you realize it, you’re balls-deep into your midterm week and you have two tests and a paper due in 12 hours. Make sure to prepare and get organized BEFORE school gets too hard for you to handle. Go out and spend the money on a notebook, folders and storage units to get all your stuff in a way that works for you.
You’re definitely going to get stressed. What “don’t stress” means is to not get more stressed than you need to be. A good friend from my childhood always said, “Life’s what you make it,” so if you make yourself aware of what is stressing you, you can adapt better to the stressful situation. Say that you have three tests and a paper due all in the same week. You’re freaking out, but acknowledging that these things are stressing you out and planning your study/work time ahead, you can easily move throughout the week with the minimum freak attacks.
Don’t use all of your DB
Self explanatory, but difficult in practice. If you can, only use your DB for small things like snacks on the way to class or coffee from Peet’s. Using your DB for your bigger meals (dinner or lunch) will use more at one time and will deplenish quicker than you think. The occasional meal is okay when you only have $5 in your bank account, but if you use it frequently, you’ll only have 20 bucks on your card after the first two weeks.
Find your comfort zone
In this context, the meaning of a comfort zone is anything (anyone, anywhere, any group) that you enjoy and feel the most comfortable in. This could mean a club, a room on campus, a friend group, a job, and literally anything else that makes you the happiest. Having a safe space where you can be grounded in your values, beliefs, lifestyle or your personal convictions. It will help you a lot when times get rough and you need help or encouragement.
Use the resources given to you
To help put it into perspective: YOU’RE PAYING FOR THE RESOURCES PROVIDED TO YOU. The teaching assistants, tutors, study sessions, health resources, library resources and many more things around campus are only there to help you. It’s tough getting through a major life change like moving to college, and lots of places around campus are here to help you succeed. Don’t waste your money.
Life at a major turning point can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Take time to learn your surroundings, budget your time and money and don’t be afraid of missing out.