First off, this isn’t the best title for this post, because college is a different experience/perspective for each and every person that goes through it. And technically, I’ve been here for two weeks because of volleyball!! But for the purposes of talking about real college, I’ll go over whatever realizations I’ve stumbled upon this week.
You don’t have to buy all your books from the bookstore.
I think this one, no matter how many times you’ve heard it, is rarely actually taken into consideration. A lot of my friends bought their books full-price as soon as they got on campus; and therefore lose hundreds of dollars. Feel like only losing about half of that, or less? Me too. I bought all my books through slugbooks.com (a website that finds your book, and compares it full-price vs various buy/rent website offers). For 16 credits and seven books, my total amount added up to the full-price of just one of my books. Although I wish I had purchased some of them earlier, because some classes do start work on the first day of class, I feel so much better knowing that I spent the least amount of money I possibly could have in that situation.
Know how to use your free time wisely (yes, naps included).
Personally, I’m horrible at this. I procrastinate like nobody’s business! That may have worked just fine for me in high school, but it just won’t cut it in a college course. Having a planner helps you visualize what time you have open for studying, eating and socializing (because you still need to make time for that!!). After that, though, it’s all about you making sure everything gets done. Got one hour after lunch before class? Go over vocab or your last quiz. Even if you don’t want to do that the whole time, do that first so you have that time after to do what you actually want. Prioritize your time; your homework is probably going to be first priority, then food, then friends and whatever else you want to do. Don’t forget, you can combine all three of those things at the same time, and still get things done!! Having study time with friends may bring a sense of accountability to the table.
A SIDE NOTE ABOUT NAPS: They aren’t always good. Depending on the length of deep/REM sleep, you could be messing up the rest of your day by not going for the right amount of time. Fifteen minutes is ample time for a refreshing nap, and won’t cut out too much time in your day! Naps over an hour not only are bad for sleep later at night, but also leave you feeling groggy (and who wants that?).
Remember to contact the people you miss back home.
Whether that’s your parents, siblings, or friends, you may be sucked up in all the hype of living in a new place with so many things to do, but remember how much they love hearing from you. Even if it’s a quick text, it means a lot down the road. And if you forget to talk to them after a week or so, don’t think that opportunity is gone. They understand that this is different and exciting and a busy time for you, but make sure they know you’re thinking of them!!
That said, there are some people that you won’t need to talk to every day/week to keep in touch. It doesn’t mean you care about them any less, but it is sometimes easier to cherish moments and conversations with people when it’s not an everyday thing.
This obviously should only be taken to a certain extent, but college is a place of beginnings! If a group of people are going somewhere to study, get coffee, etc., join in on the fun!! If someone asks to sit by you in the dining hall, use it as time to meet new people. Even something as simple as asking questions about what year they are, where they’re staying and such gets a good conversation going (and you may get a friend out of it). Sign up for clubs, go to that block party your school is having, just say YES!! It’ll bring you out of your shell, and may give you a chance to do things you didn’t have the opportunity to do in high school.
Find Your Studying Habit Early On
No matter if that’s coffee & Alicia Keys (me), or classical music in the library, or even complete silence, figure out what works best for you to do your studying. If you find that before the really hard work comes around (and EXAMS), it’ll be so much easier to get that going. In the first week, I suggest moving around to different places while you study to test the waters. I promise you’ll be able to find your niche!!
Leave Your Door Open (If You’re There)
Get to know the people on your floor!! Leave it open for people to come in and talk (if you want), and go around to other’s open doors and get to know each other. You’re all living there for the year, so you may want to get to know your neighbors. Who knows who you may find, what friends you might make!
Make Smart Choices in the Dining Hall
This isn’t to say you can’t eat whatever you want/only eat salad, but remember not to gorge on the food you enjoy in the first week! Don’t forget, those food choices will be cycling back around frequently- and you’re going to get sick of it. Slow down that process, and be able to enjoy it without feeling like you have to stuff yourself to get it while it’s still there!
That said, if you are trying to be healthier, keep your plate full of variety and color for each meal! Remember to be constantly drinking water- bring a water bottle everywhere you go! The more water you drink (especially before meals), the quicker you’ll be to becoming full. Also, HYDRATION IS KEY!!!!!
Get Out! Explore!
You get the gist. Take a walk somewhere new, find that little store your roommate was talking about, look for the perfect cup of coffee, be outside!! This is your home for nine months- make it your own, find your place! *Shia LaBeouf voice* JUST DO IT!!!
I hope this helped anyone starting/going to start college soon! Comment below any other questions you may have!!