Tips for starting College Life
These days many of us have a stereotypical view of what “College” really is. Thanks to the media we either picture newfound freedom that includes wild frat parties and minimal sleep or the pressures of passing classes and exams. In all honestly, you may encounter both of these extremes but alone they do not come close to encapsulating the rich, diverse experiences that college will bring to you. In order to ensure a smooth transition from childhood to college life it is important to prepare by knowing your resources and support systems. At most institutions incoming freshman live in residence halls where they have roommates, shared bathrooms, and dining halls. Residence halls are a great way to meet new people, to put together student organizations, and to plan fun events but it is important to remember that Residence halls are not personal apartments. There are going to be new rules to follow and tough consequences for breaking these rules. Also, prepare to be flexible: many dorms do not offer much privacy and space. Unfortunately this is the price you pay for the excellent social and networking opportunities. Though you may feel cramped at times, most students would say that with the friends they make, the clubs they create, and social gatherings that the tradeoff is worth it.
Another part of the transition is time management. No longer will you have class in a solid block from 8-4 nor will anyone tell you when to go to bed or study for your exams. It is important to keep a schedule so you can stay on top of your studies and keep active to curb loneliness and stress. Balance is key: get out there and take advantage of all of the student orgs, artistic and musical opportunities, clubs, sports and social gatherings. Schools have budgets just for student organizations, so look into what is offered—it is most likely free or very cheap. If your dream club is not yet in existence, get some students together and start your own. Many institutions will provide materials, the space, and foot the bills. One of the most unique and life changing experiences that college can offer to you is the opportunity to study abroad. In a study abroad program a student moves to another country for anywhere for a few weeks to a year to study and live immersed in a different culture whether or not the country speaks your native language. If you have always studied a foreign language, this is a great opportunity to become fluent. Through this experience you can gain knowledge and perspective on a new culture as well as your own. Many college students say that the experiences they had traveling, seeing the world, eating new foods, were the most exhilarating of their college career.
Remember that college is not restricted to studying and partying. You create your college experience by trying new things and taking initiative so take risks, stay organized, and keep and open mind. Also, remeber to learn about the different types of College Loans, Grants and financing available to help pay for School.