10 Tips for Surviving Freshman Year in College

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  1. If you’re going to be living in a dorm, make sure to check with the school about items not permitted in dorms. Some colleges won’t allow hot plates and such in the dorms, so it’s always best to find out before move-in day.
  2. As soon as you are of adult age, credit card companies will begin to bombard you with offers. Don’t do it. Yes, it’s sounds easy and cool and like an adult thing to do, but credit cards can get to be really expensive really fast. Save yourself future financial troubles and just say “no.” However, if your university offers a meal card, go ahead and get that; a meal card can help you stay on budget because you’ll always know how much money is available. And in case you didn’t know, meal cards are like debit cards that most times can only be used at eating place on and/or near campus.
  3. Go to your college’s orientation. Better yet, maybe go to several orientation sessions. I know they’re boring, but orientation meetings will help you become familiar with your college. And when starting out, you can’t get too many tours of campus. It’s always helpful to know all the different buildings because your classes will most likely be spread out.
  4. Become involved on campus. A lot of college students will drop out because they don’t feel connected to their surroundings and they begin to miss friends and family back home. You don’t have to cut out your old pals and your kin, but getting involved at school will make your life easier socially and possibly academically. If you don’t know where to begin, check out the student center or find out if there is an activities board. There’s always plenty to get involved in on a college campus. Maybe the student newspaper needs help, or the local Dungeons & Dragons group needs another player or maybe a theater group needs some to help with stage design. Connecting with campus is especially important for commuting students.
  5. Don’t take too many classes your first year. That might sound a little flaky, but it’s for your own good. You’re going to be away from home and in a busy environment. You’re going to have a lot to do. Don’t stress yourself out more than you need to by weighing yourself down with a ton of classes.
  6. Keep in mind that classes during your first year or two of college might not be as exciting as you had hoped. The reason for that is because so many of the classes will be required classes. But hope lies in the future! Once you have taken the majority of those required classes, you can really get into your major and take classes in which you truly have an interest.
  7. If you have to work your way through school, you’re best getting a part-time job if feasible. Better yet, you should probably try to get a job on or near campus so you don’t have to run back and forward to classes. Check with your school’s human resources department or a student employment department.
  8. If you are on a campus of any size, and many colleges are, expect to get a lot of exercise. You’re probably going to be walking a lot. So make sure to have comfortable shoes, possibly even walking shoes. If you need a little more speed, get a decent bicycle. Most colleges will have plenty of bike racks all over the place, just remember to buy a strong bike chain and lock.
  9. Avoid staying up all night to study. You might feel like you have to cram for a particular test or paper, but if you wear yourself out you’re not going to be doing yourself any good. If you’re tired, your mind isn’t going to remember half what you need to remember anyway.
  10. Have fun! That’s right. Enjoy yourself. College can be an exciting place and time. When else are you going to be able to study interesting topics as much as you want while making new friends and hanging out with them all the time? Just don’t party too hardy. You don’t want to be hungover before a test, and remember that if you are not 21 years of age, drinking is illegal and can get you a night in the hoosegow.
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