Going through college is a learning experience for everyone. No matter how well-prepared you are, you will always make mistakes. As someone who has been through the whole experience, I have some secrets on surviving freshman year to help freshmen enjoy college and have a social life.
1. Don’t wear your lanyard around.
During orientation you will get your ID card and a lanyard to put it in for safekeeping. I’m all about using the lanyard, I did and it was a good place to store my ID and not have to worry about losing it. I just carried it around in my hand or put it in my backpack. But, I don’t recommend wearing it around your neck, or even worse, wearing it backwards so it hangs down your back. When freshman are the only ones on campus, it won’t be a huge flag, but once the upperclassmen are walking around, wearing the lanyard lets everyone know straight away that you’re a freshman. Break the habit early by never doing it.
2. Budget wisely.
I’ve seen this happen too often to people. They get so caught up in buying alcohol or food that they run out of money very quickly and are forced to mooch off friends and survive on cafeteria food. Don’t let this happen to you. A couple of times, of course, everyone runs out of money, but if you let it repeatedly happen, your friends aren’t going to be so nice anymore. A great tip to surviving freshman year (money-wise) is by making an account with StudentRate. You’ll score tons of deals on all of your favorite brands with secret student deals for money off and cash back. You’ll save on everything form clothes and dorm decor to a new laptop and travel expenses.
3. Study first, party later.
I know most people think of college as one big party and yes, there is plenty of time for that, but college should be foremost about getting an education. I don’t know many parents who want to pay an exorbitant amount of money just for their child to party all the time and fail out. If you get your work done first, then you’ll have nothing to worry about when the weekend comes. I was an athlete too, and even thought it was only D3, it takes up your time and if you let your schoolwork fall to the wayside, your GPA will suffer.
4. Watch yourself while drinking.
Don’t be that freshman that blacks out at every party because they don’t know how to handle their alcohol. If you can pace yourself, you’ll also be able to drink for a longer amount of time, instead of passing out at 11:30. This is especially true if you decide to drink during the day and plan to go out at night. I’ve seen it happen where someone drinks too much during the day that they miss the fun that happens that night. It’s also just better for you and will keep you more aware of what’s going on around you.
5. Study at the library.
There’s just too many distractions in a dorm building. Your neighbors will be playing music or have people over, and you never know when someone is going to come knocking at your door. I’m not a big fan of going to the library myself, but I do get a lot more work done there than I ever did in my dorm room. And don’t think you’ll be the only person who goes there; all my friends would always have study parties where we’d get study rooms and do homework together. It’s just too hard to do work anywhere else without being distracted.
6. Don’t buy your books at the campus bookstore.
They definitely overcharge your for your textbooks and they never have enough. For some reason, I know my bookstore at least wouldn’t buy enough books for everyone in the class to have one because they were banking on not everyone deciding to buy it, so I would have to wait for them to get it in stock. One year, by the time my book came in the semester was almost half over and the book in question was no longer needed. I had to buy two copies just so I could have one for class. You can also check out Studentrate to compare textbooks prices from online stores.
7. Have a laptop.
I knew people at school who brought desktop computers with them instead of laptops, or who didn’t bring their own computers at all. I suggest definitely bringing a laptop. You can study wherever you want and a lot of teachers will allow you to bring computers to take notes on instead of using a pen and a notebook. Also, if you want to study with friends or something, you can just bring your computer to their room, or to the library. It’s way easier than trying to find an empty computer in the library or computer lab, especially during midterms and finals week.
8. Go to office hours.
Building a relationship with your professors is never a bad thing. I realized this when it was senior year and I needed a letter of recommendation, and I had very few teachers who I felt comfortable asking and who would say yes. By going to office hours, you get that personal connection with your teacher and it shows that you are giving an effort in the class, which could help you if you’re borderline for a grade. Instead of that B+, it could be an A-. And teachers are great connections for the real world. I have a friend who gets recommended by his teacher to all sorts of jobs and opportunities because he took the effort to participate and get to know his professor. And start early. If the only time you are in the office is during finals week, that’s not enough.
9. Back to school shopping with your parents.
This way, you don’t have to spend your own money on items for your dorm room or school supplies. It will help save a lot of money that you can now spend during the school year. If you stock up, then you should be set for the whole year. Be very thorough, so this way you won’t have to visit a Target near you and spend your money on sometime that your parents could have bought you while you were back to school shopping. If you’re parents are willing to pay for things, take advantage.
10. Get some sleep.
Sleep can be pretty hard to come by while you’re in college, between maintaining your grades and a social life. But it’s a very important bodily function that will help you to focus more in class, be a nicer person (I know I at least tend to get a little cranky when I don’t get a lot of sleep), and help keep off that freshmen 15. If you have a night where you don’t have a lot of work or anything to do, go to sleep early, your body, and everyone else around you, will thank you for it.