You’ve waited for this day for years, and now it has finally arrived. You get to move away to college, and start a new, exciting life on campus! But because college is quite different from high school, many students find that their excitement gives way to anxiety and confusion pretty quickly. Follow these 8 tips to help you ease into your new life on campus.
Put your smart phone to good use. One of the biggest challenges, for most incoming freshmen, is learning to adjust to a different schedule. You won’t have the same classes every day, from 8 am until 3 pm. On top of that, no one is taking attendance or preventing you from skipping (or just forgetting) class. Investigate different smart phone apps and identify one that makes sense to you. Use it to keep track of your schedule, and even set alarms to remind you of your classes.
Get to know your advisor. You have an academic advisor for a reason! But most students make the mistake of ignoring this resource. This person can help to ease your transition, so don’t forget about him or her.
Set boundaries with roommates. Living with roommates can be a crash course in communication and interpersonal skills. It’s fun, but also a challenge. Right from the start, sit down and discuss your needs and expectations for living together, so that everyone is on the same page.
Get out there and get involved. Early in your first semester, you will notice many orientation-themed events. Attend a few of these events, and check out what your school has to offer in terms of academic supports, clubs, part time jobs, and more.
Stay safe. A college campus is a lot different from a high school campus. Don’t walk alone at night, and check out your school’s resources such as safe ride programs. Learn the locations of emergency call boxes, especially in the areas around your dorm or night classes.
Keep track of your possessions. Write down the serial numbers of your cell phone, laptop, and other expensive items. If they’re ever stolen, this could help you recover them. Keep your car and dorm room locked when you are away, and don’t store valuables inside the car. Register your bike, if you take one to campus.
Learn how to do laundry. This seems silly, but if you don’t know how to do laundry, learn this skill before moving away to college. The last thing you want is to spend the semester in pink socks.
Learn the transportation program. You don’t really need a car to get around most college campuses. In fact, it’s often easier without one, because you don’t have to be burdened by confusing parking zones in far-flung locations. Familiarize yourself with your campus bus system, and you can get around just fine.
When in doubt, ask for help. Campus life can be overwhelming, but there are plenty of friendly people who will be happy to help. Start with your resident advisor, your academic advisor, an upperclassman friend, or a favorite professor. If they don’t have the answer, they can point you in the right direction.