For every freshman, college is a new environment, it is a world of its own set for you to discover. As you pack your bags and wave goodbye to ma and pa, no one tells you the realities of this journey. You can read about it, or ask older cousins or friends who have embarked on this journey but the truth is, everyone graduates college with their own experience. No experience is ever the same. College is often a testing ground, it is usually the transition from adolescence into adulthood and it is generally when most people are discovering who they really are, what they are here for, what they would like to pursue thereafter etc. But it is important that you take each day as it comes. So, here are five handy tips you should take on board as you enter this new chapter of your life.
1. Do your research
For most students, college is a foreign place. It is a huge step up from high school where you had the comfort of teachers who would pamper you, parents, who you could rely on for support and safety. Not that you don’t get that in college, you do to an extent but here there is a greater level of responsibility and that’s why it is important you know your facts. Prior to your arrival, do some research online, check out their website, look through the campus map, locate a few of your lecture halls, find out where the library, cafeteria or things that interest you are. If you are fortunate enough, visit your campus at least twice. This is advisable for everyone as this is where you will be spending the next four years of your life so you want to make sure you are comfortable and more aware of your surroundings. Thus, this gives you more confidence on induction day and eases some tension because there will be new faces…I mean who are these people?
2. Find out who your roommate is
Most times, you have the opportunity of knowing your roommate especially during open days. This gives you the privilege of bonding and getting to know each other- course details, background, interests and with social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, it is easier for you to keep in contact and possibly start a friendship. This also helps in letting off the pressure with the fact that you know someone! However the Freshers’ event is always an opportunity to meet new people, socialise- college brings people from all over the globe and remember college is more than an academic training, it is a whole new learning experience, developing the necessary skills you would need for the corporate world or whatever venture you would like to pursue and relationships are very important. Make an effort to step outside your comfort zone and do some networking!! Besides you are still new, making friends with sophomores who are more familiar with the surroundings will help especially when you get lost or you need to get somewhere. We’ve all felt this!!
3. Stay organized
Deadlines, sorority meetings, this society and that event, essay deadlines. Summary of a college week and it is even busier in the first few weeks of college where every society seems appealing to join and you are curious and want to explore your many interests as well as keep up with your lectures and tutorials. Therefore, it is more than important you stay organized and up to date with all that is going on, I would advise buying a planner before you arrive, this way you can fill in the most important dates and keep abreast of your week/month schedule. Also, your alarm and calendar on your iPhone will definitely come in handy! Be on top of your game with deadlines, always write them down then write out a to-do list from the most important to the least important things you need to get done.
4. Do all the necessary ‘Target’ shopping
You want to come to college prepared. Therefore, buy all your books, stationeries, toiletries and the necessities beforehand. You want to leave the first few weekends to rest and save your money instead of running from place to place trying to find the nearest drugstore etc. Write a list of all the things you need and as you buy them, tick them off. Sometimes there are always emergencies that spring up which is fine but the majority of your essentials should be purchased.
5. Have a list of important contact details
Some colleges/universities usually have important details such as a security number or maintenance telephone number in case you are stuck or you are unsure of something. It is always good to keep these numbers just in case. It would also be good to have it written down in a notepad, I know it sound outdated in this tech world but still things still go wrong, you might lose your phone or the battery can die out. It's always good to have a backup plan while at college! This way you are on top of your game. That is what college prepares you for, the real world, it is scary, we live in a world where people are becoming increasingly independent and experiences such as the one you are about to embark on or have embarked on can truly make or break you.
Remember to learn all that you can!
The most important thing is to learn all you can. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, I learned this from Michelle Obama, it is something she has said time and time again at her commencement speeches. If you don’t understand something, ask, it doesn’t matter what XYZ will say, you are there for a reason and you have that right. Besides, you are a new student so that should be expected. Try new things; do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone each day- that’s where greatness lies. Most times, you will be fearful, that’s normal, but let that be your fuel to success.
Good luck to all the incoming freshmen! Always remember you can do it!