Attention to each and every KSU freshman: walking across the stage towards a high school diploma is more than just a simple strut. That walk rewards you with a sheet of paper acknowledging four years’ worth of accomplishment. It is a fundamental moment wherein you walk up those platform steps a high school student and walk down as a graduate. The purpose of this article is to help those bound for the collegiate world make the transition from locker littered halls to coveted campuses, read on for 15 things every KSU freshman should do before they come to campus!
1. Schedule an appointment to choose classes with your academic advisor.
As a ksu freshman, you will have to enroll in classes specific to your major. Sometime in the summer after you graduate (usually in June), you will enroll in classes on campus based on what your academic advisor recommends for you. Don’t wait to schedule this appointment! It’s a dog eat, dog world, and in this case that means first come, first serve. Don’t let your schedule be dictated by your lack of enthusiasm at giving up a weekend to enroll. Take the mandatory on campus enrollment as an opportunity to meet people in your major, walk through your schedule, and see the campus without the masses.
2. Get a summer job.
College is expensive, man! There are books, tuition, housing, dining, and lots of other things to be paid for in the coming year. Earn some money this summer by getting a job and start saving up. You’ll be glad you did when you become a ksu freshman.
3. Talk to your roommate.
Whether they’re your best friend like mine is or a completely random stranger, talk to your ksu freshman roommate. Establishing a line of communication before living together is important. You will be able to get to know them through asking questions, and having basic conversations. Roommates are opportunities to make friends; since they live with you, they are forced to spend at least some time with you. Capitalize on this, and make the most of it even if you already know them.
4. Think about whether you want to rush or not.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term rush used as a noun, let me enlighten you. Rushing in college is the process of exploring the various chapters of sororities and fraternities your school has to offer. I am not in a sorority, but have had multiple friends explain the procedure to me. Basically, you arrive a week before classes start so you can visit each sorority or fraternity, be interviewed, make an impression, and by the end of the week be bid on by the chapters that want you. It’s a great opportunity to meet people with similar interests, get involved on campus, and move into your dorm early. If interested, look into the costs associated with rushing (you for sure have to pay an early move-in fee), plan on all the fabulous weeks’ worth of outfits you’ll need (dress to impress people), and (if you’re an overachiever) do some research on greek life. At the end of the day, you may realize greek life isn’t for you, but at least you put yourself out there.
5. Look at clubs or organizations you might want to be involved with on campus.
There’s more than just sororities and fraternities to join. From clubs related to your major to student government to sports recreation teams to skydiving club (specific to Kansas State University), there’s a world of opportunity to get involved at your school. Look up these clubs and plan out what meetings you want to attend come fall. Remember: you don’t have to fall in love with the club, just try it out. Half the fun of college is figuring out who you are and what you want to do. Joining extracurriculars will expose you to new activities and new people.
6. Look into on-campus jobs.
On-campus jobs are good for two reasons: 1) you will be broke no matter how invincible you may think you and your wallet are, and 2) the university knows you’re an involved student with classes and cannot dedicate your time solely to work. They will schedule your shifts around your commitments, and give you the work times you request to the best of their abilities. I recommend applying as early as possible so you can choose the shifts that will work best for your schedule. Applications should open sometime in late July or early August. Don’t be afraid to contact your university for the specifics, though.
7. Learn about your college town.
Here at K-State, the students are lucky enough to have Aggieville, a few neighborhoods that house the bars, dance clubs, and fast food restaurants that give college kids the energy to go on. Find out what towns or attractions are around your college, and make plans to visit them throughout the semester. It’s a great chance to get off campus and escape from the sameness for a little while. It is important as a ksu freshman to explore the place you’ll be living for the next four years, and learn about the places that make your college town unique.
8. Buy items for your dorm room.
First of all, check out this amazing article for literally everything you need to worry about bringing to college. Consult your roommate about who’s bringing what. I recommend one person brings the mini fridge and one brings the microwave because both are a must. Your university should also have a list somewhere on their website of what they recommend students bring. It’s really helpful to look at for an idea of not only what you need to get, but costs associated with those items as well. And don’t forget-this is the room you will be living in for a whole year. Don’t be afraid to spruce up your side of the room with posters of Finnick Odair, Christmas lights, and Moroccan color schemes. Dorm rooms aren’t prison cells unless you allow them to be.
9. Update your wardrobe.
You’re going to college! It’s time to start preparing for the next phase of your life, and one key way to do this is finding your own style. Forget about who you were and what you wore in high school; college is a chance to find a new you that can dress like a corporate mogul or a preppy student or a tired person. Whatever ensembles you choose to buy, be confident and happy with your choices. Money will run tight once you’re in college, so really take advantage of Mom and Dad’s wallets while you still can and go buy yourself something pretty. Don’t forget to buy gear that supports your school, too.
10. Buy snacks.
If you are a true ksu freshman you know that snacking takes the edge off of studying and stress. I recommend keeping strawberry Poptarts, Honey Bunches of Oats (the almond kind), and a big bag of your favorite candy (York peppermint patties if you’re anything like me). Find out what works for you and stockpile for the first two weeks; by then you will either have made a friend who has a car or have figured out how to walk to the nearest grocery store.
11. Spend time with your family.
Believe it or not, you will miss the crazy humans you call family. Yes, they took naked baby photos of you, made you eat vegetables at dinner, grounded you occasionally, and did hundreds of other odd and infuriating things throughout your eighteen years of life, but they are still a big part of you. They are the people who held your hand when you were too uncoordinated to walk, put up with your rebellious phase, and loved you through all the awkward years that may have never ended. Let them know you appreciate them for getting you this far by spending time with them. Time is the most precious commodity you can spend and giving it to those you love is one of the most precious gifts you can ever dream of giving. So go visit extended family, see your cooky grandpa who tells ‘Nam stories, and talk to your Mom. They won’t be there to hold your hand at college, kiddo.
12. Bring a memento from home.
Yes, obviously bring pictures of your friends and family back home to put on your desk but bring at least one tangible thing from home with you to college. Like Andy almost bringing Woody to college in Toy Story 3, bring something that has significance and will remind you of your roots. A stuffed animal or action figure are the items I would recommend, but do what feels right to you. I am proud to admit I brought my stuffed Scooby-Doo doll to college and don’t regret it one bit.
13. Plan out the things you have to look forward to throughout the year.
While college overall is a great thing, it is stressful. Classes, studying, and extracurriculars will keep you busy throughout the year and you will need a way to let off steam. One way I do this is through putting the dates in my planner when new books or movies I’m excited about are coming out. Some things on my list this year were Winter by Marissa Meyer, Mockingjay: Part II, Deadpool, Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare, and Captain America: Civil War. Keep in touch with those things that interest you and indulge yourself in them. Its true college is a chance to experience new things, but that doesn’t mean you have to let go of all the old things. Keep in touch with yourself by keeping up with your interests.
14. Make a freshman year bucket/goals list.
When I was a ksu freshman, college was an opportunity for exploration and change. I wanted to start discovering more about me separate from where I had grown up and who I had been during my previous academic career. In order to do this, I made a list of goals for my freshman year. Some of the list included socializing three times a week (I am an introvert through and through), exercise three times a week (freshman 15 be damned), and keeping a GPA of 3.0 or higher (I wasn’t about to relax just because I had gotten accepted to a college). I can proudly say I checked most of the things off of my list, and did experience lots of the change and adventure I had hoped to during my freshman year. By having that list of goals above my desk during the year, I could visibly see whether I was achieving my goals and take the needed steps to change if I wasn’t.
15. ENJOY THE SUMMER!
One of the most important things for every ksu freshman to do! It’s your last summer to officially live in your parent’s house, see the friends you’ve known since kindergarten, and take pleasure in the familiarity of your community. Don’t waste it indoors watching Netflix; go out and take advantage of your freedom and your youth. Believe it or not, never again will you be as free from commitment as you are right now. After this summer, you will be a college student who will be working towards a fulfilling future with a career, life, and obligations. Take the time to feel the pride of your accomplishments and prepare for the next step in your future.
What else should a KSU freshman do before they come to campus? Comment below and share this article with friends!
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Adrianna is a student at Kansas State University majoring in English with an Emphasis in Creative Writing and minoring in Leadership Studies. She likes reading, apple pie, Sebastian Stan, and watching Disney movies.