10 Things You Should Know Before Starting College
April 17, 2012 | by Lauren Murphy
So you’re all ready to start college: new town, new school, new room, no parents! While college is the start of a new chapter and one of the most significant transitions in your life, there are a few things you should know before you start.
- Your roommate doesn’t have to be your best friend.
Ideally, you will become friends with your roommate, but great friends don’t always make good roommates. If you get to choose your roommate, talk about your living habits before committing to a year together.
- Socialize—everyone wants to make friends.
Put yourself out there and go outside of your comfort zone. Even if you know one or two friends from high school at college
- Greek life is not just like Legally Blonde.
Sororities and fraternities are not for everyone, but they do provide great opportunities for networking, socialization, and getting more involved on campus. Don’t assume that Greek life is going to be just like the Hollywood version—keep an open mind and consider rushing.
- Don’t over pack.
Even the best dorm rooms aren’t going to comfortably hold all of your possessions, so pack with discretion. Consider what items and outfits you’ll actually use, and leave some of the extras at home. You don’t need every single (or any) t-shirt you collected from high school events. You’re in college now, you don’t need your clothing to remind everyone you’re a freshman straight out of high school.
- Practice self-control.
Yes, the cafeteria is all-you-can-eat. No, this doesn’t mean you need to stuff yourself at every meal. The freshman 15 can be a reality, so practice portion control. Self control also applies to time management—you will be able to find someone willing to party every night; that doesn’t mean that you should.
- You can fail.
Unlike high school, your professors aren’t going to reach out to you when you’re struggling in a class. You’re an adult now and are expected to act like one. Be prepared for the increased speed of classes and realize you will have to take much more time to study. If you don’t study for a test, it doesn’t mean you’ll get a B-, it means you’ll fail. So reach out to your professors and work hard.
- Don’t go home every weekend.
This can be tempting if you live close to school, but don’t do it. The weekends are the best part of college—they’re when you make the most friends and the best memories, so don’t miss out on the fun by going home every chance you get.
- Keep in touch with high school friends.
You aren’t going to stay friends with everyone you knew in high school, but do take time to maintain your best friendships from high school. Whether this means skype dates or creating a Facebook group where you and your friends can keep each other updated, you’ll definitely regret losing touch with these people.
- Don’t buy textbooks from the bookstore.
Firstly, you probably won’t actually need every book your professor assigns. For the ones you do need, check out one of the many online sellers or renters available, or consider splitting the cost with a friend in the same class. Trust me, there are much better ways to spend your money.
- Be wary of early classes.
I know I made this mistake first semester. I had class every day in high school starting at 7:50am; I could easily do an 8:30am, right? Wrong. You’ll be up later than you were at home and early mornings just seem even earlier in college. If you can avoid early classes, do. You’ll thank me later.
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