Looks like it’s that time of year again. Parents have dreaded the day for 18 years, whether it be because the money they’re about to spend, or the fact they’re letting one of their own fly out of the nest. The children on the other hand, have looked forward to this day for 18 years. No longer are the kids high schoolers, but instead they’re now college students who are about to start an exciting new chapter in their life.
A long, hectic, and tiresome move in day commences, and after final goodbyes are said (after a the waterworks stop temporarily), there the student is. For what is likely the first time in their life, they’re alone for an extended period of time. It seemed so exciting to this point, but now the reality has started to set in and some new fears start to develop. “How am I going to meet new people?” “What if I don’t like my roommate?” “How are classes going to be?” and so on and so forth.
Not to worry though. For any new college student, these are completely normal questions and doubts. After all, it is a big step into something totally new. But for those who are able to make the transition while maintaining good grades and friendships. college is assuredly one of the best times of your life.
Now, onto the real heart of this article – tips to adjusting to college for first time students (and parents).
1. Go to Class
One trap many new college students fall victim to is the “luxury” if attending class only when they want to. Sure, it’s true that most professors could care less whether or not you’re there. They’re getting paid, the university is getting their money, and they’re not going to hold your hand through the whole process. But going to class EVERY time is one of the best ways to get a stable foundation in college. If you’re feeling really sick, then you don’t have to, and honestly it probably doesn’t hurt to miss a class or two per semester. But in all reality, try to limit the number of times you miss class. You’re paying for it (and if you break down how much each class cost per day you’ll really see why it’s important) , so you might as well go. Besides, once you start going to class you have and you have a solid routine day in and day out then other things will come much easier. The final good reason to go to class is to meet people and create study groups if you feel necessary.
2. Be Involved!
Another trap new students fall into is the comfort of their room. You should definitely be comfortable in your room and with your room, but too many new students get stuck in a rut in which their room is too safe of a haven, and in that “haven” students are doing one of the worst things you can do – shutting yourself off from potential friends. I could go on and on about this section, but for the sake of brevity (and perhaps for the sake of another article solely dealing with campus involvement) I’ll cut it a bit short.
3. Use Free Time Wisely
Okay, so if I were to say that I closely followed this rule my first two semesters of school then I would be lying to an extent. I probably spent way too much time on Facebook and YouTube where as I should have been reading (but hey, a 3.4 GPA ain’t too bad!). Still though, not using free time wisely is a fatal flaw of a college career. You don’t have to be a bookworm and study every waking moment if you don’t want to. Personally, I spent a lot of my free time just hanging out with friends, and by doing so I’ve created a solid friendship base and plenty of branches of friends to hang out with as well. If you want a job and feel you can handle it then hey, by all means get a job; that extra spending money will come in handy. Colleges usually do a tremendous job of employing students part time and full time, so if you look you’ll find opportunities. For example, the University of North Texas employees more students than staff and faculty. The choice is up to you in college, and no one will enforce rules for you, so it’s the prime time to build up your self-discipline and spend time wisely.
4. Remember, EVERYONE Is In the Same Boat
This can be the hardest part to remember, but it’s crucial to remember. At one point I felt like I wasn’t really hitting it off with anyone but for whatever reason, something clicked one day. The thing I always kept in mind though was to be friendly to everyone, because everyone new in college is feeling the same way. You’re not going to be friends with everyone you meet, but if for one out of fifty people you can make a solid and great friendship with, then it’s worth it. Always, always remember that everyone is wanting to meet new people, so be gregarious and have an open mind.