There are so many things you can do to make sure that your college experience exceeds your expectations and you really have a great time. These eight things you need to do to survive your first semester of college are just some of your essentials. These tips are will help you with your health, social life as well as your academic life to make sure you receive a balance between a good time and still getting your work done. Learning how to master these skills even after your first semester is going to help you get through your entire education.
1. Don’t Just Sit In Your Room
There is this thing that everyone is going to tell you to do and that is to leave your door open. Whether you are living in a dorm, a house, or an apartment and you have roommates you should leave your door open so that people will stop by and chat and you can meet and/or get to know more people.
While this is true and you should definitely do this, it is sometimes awkward for people to pop their head in your door and start blooming a lifelong friendship. Unless maybe the person is really outgoing! Something that is really going to help you though, is common areas. Sit in the lobby or lounge of your dorm or sit in your living room. Somewhere that you are out in the open. Then if someone comes in, a conversation will start up without being inside of anyone’s personal space.
2. Join An Organization
Whether this is joining a sports team, greek life, or chess club you should definitely join something. Joining an organization is going to help you socially and academically. This is super helpful during your first semester of college because it allows you to meet people who have similar interests as you. As you are spending a lot of time together, you become closer and, BAM lifelong friends.
It helps you academically for a few reasons. One of them is a GPA minimum. A lot of clubs and sports have this. In order to stay a member or to play you have to keep your GPA up. They offer study hours and support to give you time to do your homework and then you’re doing it with your friends! It also helps because you now have a large group of people you can ask for help if you are struggling in a class, need books, or need to know the right class to take. There are only positives here!
3. Go to the Dining Center
This is a big one during your first semester. Honestly, even if you live off-campus you should look into just buying the passes at least for the first semester to go to the dining center. This is where you can meet a lot of people. You all are experiencing the same thing. The great or horrible food, the long lines, just college life in general and you will just spark up conversations naturally. You all are feeling and experiencing similar things, so people just start to talk. It is just a big place full of yelling and expression of character. People just go up and start talking all of the time, so you should try it too!
4. Go to the Gym
Most colleges give you access to an exercise facility paid for within your tuition. A lot of them have really nice gyms and recreation centers as well. I am sure you have heard by now about the freshman 15. Well, let me tell you right now, it’s true. Even if you don’t gain the whole 15 pounds or you gain 50 pounds your weight is going to change. You are making friends so a common pass time is to go eat, you are going to the dining center, you are snacking watching Netflix in your room, your mom is not there anymore to make you dinner, so you’re constantly eating out, you’re trying to stuff your face because you know you won’t have time later, you’re plastered, so you’re eating a large Dominos pizza alone on your living room floor.
Just everything involving food in college equals gaining weight. And this does not change throughout college. So get to a gym and get active even if it is the bare minimum you should at least be doing 30 minutes. If you do not like lifting, check out what else your rec center has to offer. Like rock climbing, yoga, or kickboxing classes!
Okay duh. But seriously, you need to make time for this. Class is just a little info session, not where you really learn the material. You become familiarized with it in class and have the opportunity to ask the professor questions, but where you’re really going to learn the material for the class is in the library with your book and google. This means that even if you are the dumbest student at the university or one of those jerks who can barley pay attention and still pass with flying colors you need to be studying before an exam.
That being said you need to find the study method that works for you, whether that’s just skimming or notes, making hundreds of flashcards or writing the information over and over and over. You need to study in college in order to pass. I promise you it will seem like high school. It will seem like you don’t have to study. But you do!
6. The Trick to Drinking
College is absolutely associated with partying and drinking culture. Right off the bat let me tell you, if you are looking forward to this calm down, the opportunity is never going to stop presenting itself. If you are not looking forward to this, relax that is not all that college is about and definitely not the only thing that is fun during your time in college. If you want to go out and party, do it. You can make some really great friends and some really great memories (hopefully ones you can actually remember).
Just know your limit. Know that if you’re going out on a Thursday, don’t drink too much and stay hydrated, so your 8 am is a bit more bearable. And ALWAYS make sure your homework for that day is done before going out. Do not pay thousands of dollars to go party. You’re paying thousands of dollars for a degree. You can drink for the rest of your life, but your degree is now.
For those who don’t like to drink much, you will be FINE. Get used to saying the word no. A lot of memories in college just involve laying on the living room floor or walking around Walmart. As long as you are with good people you will have a good time. Going out doesn’t mean you have to drink. Sometimes just watching people act stupid can be a good time in itself. Anyone that is a true friend is not going to pressure you to get drunk, if that happens, pretend to sip on a drink, excuse yourself and go dump it down the sink or in the bathroom. Then ditch those friends ASAP. There are better ones out there.
7. Learn to Speak Up for Yourself
This is the first step into getting you into the real world baby. No more hand-holding. You don’t have your parents, a teacher or BFF to fight your battles for you anymore. It’s all on you. This is a good skill to learn because the only person who is going to be there for you throughout your entire life is you. So you might as well learn to stand up for what you want. If your roommate is doing stuff you don’t like, speak up about it. You don’t have to be rude, you just have to explain how it makes you feel and how you don’t want that in your tiny bedroom of a home.
You need to learn this right away because you will have to do it for several aspects of your college life. You’re not in high school anymore, so you don’t have to deal with the drama. Cut people off, switch roommates, remove negative parts of your life and then let it roll off your shoulders. Being kind and getting what you believe to be fair is something that is to be learned during your first semester of college and it is going to take you far in life.
8. Know Your Resources
You are going to hear this a lot, but get your first-semester pride out of the way and listen! Universities have a lot to offer you and all for free! (Well you pay in your tuition, but it feels free!) Are you struggling with a class or a certain topic? Go to the tutoring center. Your laptop gets a virus? Go to the IT Center. You feel lonely, sad, or homesick? Go to the counseling center. You have to print your paper? Find the computer labs and the printers. You have questions about your courses or your future? Go to your advisor or professors.
Universities have so much to help you make it through not just your first semester, but through your entire time there. Getting yourself familiar with these resources during your first semester is going to make it easier to utilize them throughout college. You already have a hard task at hand by transitioning to college, so might as well do all of the new scary things right away to get them out of the way!
What helped you survive your first semester of college? Comment your tips below!
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