You’re packing up the car for your first year of college with all of the odds and ends that will soon fill a small, 10x10 room shared with another person and all of their odds and ends. Classes are starting. There are clubs to join. Events to attend. Friends to make. It can be slightly overwhelming.
But not to worry! As a soon-to-be college sophomore, I can tell you that the changes are severe but can be fun. So, for your enjoyment and information, here are the Top 10 Most Important College Tips for an incoming freshman:
1. Be prepared to make friends. While there may be friends from high school attending the same college as you, it’s a totally different world. Chances are you will begin to lose touch with those old friends. There are so many interesting people in college, take advantage of it!
2. Impress your professors. Remember that kid in high school who everyone hated because he was best friends with the teacher? Yeah, you want to be that kid now. While in high school it can be annoying, it pays off in college. Professors have connections and believe it or not they control your grade!
3. Get outside. Take a walk, take a nap on the grass, study in the park, just get outside. You will be studying a lot and sitting in a cramped and dimly lit, tiny room, and it will drive you crazy. Get outside, you will feel better.
4. Make coffee your new best friend. If you don’t already have a good relationship with coffee's caffeinated goodness and rich aroma, now is the best time to start building it. Staying up late studying or pulling all nighters may kill you, and coffee will be your savior. Trust me on this one.
5. Beware of the cafeteria meat. I don’t care how expensive your school tuition is, the cafeteria food is always disgusting. And the meat? From experience, I can tell you to be careful. You don’t want to be hanging your head over the toilet all night when you have a test the next morning.
6. Take adventures. Explore the town your college is in. It’s a whole new world with so many people. Explore. Find your favorite place in the town, the best coffee shop, hookah bar, boutique … make the town yours.
7. Go to events. Go to every school event you can. Whether it’s a football game or a theatre performance, go to it. Not only will you meet new people but you will get to know your university even closer. It will make you feel more at home and give you a sense of ownership.
8. Join clubs. Whether it’s one club or five, join some. And for those of you who think they don’t have a club for what you’re interested in? Trust me, they do. And if they don’t, then start a club. You make friends and connections for your future. This is exactly what college is about.
9. Go to class. I may sound like a goody-goody for saying this, but don't skip class. Unless you are sick beyond the ability to walk, go to class. Professors often give extra credit for students who have a high attendance record. And I don’t care how smart you are, everyone can use extra credit!
10. Have fun. Smile, laugh, talk, dance, party a little, have some fun. You are on your own and making your own decisions. While this can take some maturity to handle properly, you have to remember to have a good time. College is about you and your life and your future. Have fun and enjoy it.
Nikki Darling attends the University of North Texas. Read her thoughts, and those of fellow College Life columnist Christine Baker, on a regular basis on TSB.