By now you’ve likely settled into your new college home. Either you are stressed out, or having a ball (maybe you’re both). If you are stressed out, don’t worry because it will get better in time.
So whether you’ve gone away, or living at home and commuting, there are certain things you should have accomplished by now, which would be 30 days! I look back on my time as an undergrad, and there are somethings I wish I had done after the first month of my freshman year. So after reflecting, I’ve decided that you probably should have done the following:
- connected with your professors (I’m talking about visiting them during their office hours)
- made at least one good, reliable friend
- networked with at least one classmate from all your classes whom you can rely on for notes in case you have to miss a class. You should return the favor, of course!
- found your ideal study place (mine was the library). FYI, it should not be your bed!
- played tourist in your new home (this applies to those who’ve left home for college)
- joined at least two clubs
- found a cool restaurant to go to on a weekly basis
- know your way around campus, especially where all the important offices are
- picked out one day of the week that is a “you day”, in other words a day dedicated to you, free from school work of any kind. Mine was Sunday!
- checked out the Greek scene (no worries if you haven’t joined one)
If you haven’t completed all of the above, that’s okay. But you should have achieved at least five – I did! The purpose of this checklist is to make things easier on yourself when the demands of college increase – and they will! College is supposed to be one of the most memorable experiences of your life, so it’s important to learn from those that have already been down this road. So all the best the rest of the way! Learn lots but at the same time enjoy the ride!
That time of year has come again, when colleges across the country are back in session. If you’re a freshman, you’ve likely experienced a rollercoaster of emotions from excitement all the way to sadness. The whirlwind of changes and new experiences probably has your head spinning right about now. Don’t worry, because things will get better from here on.
So much to do over the year and yet so little time. I’ve just started my first year earning my Master’s Degree in education, so I know what it’s like. It’s kind of nice and refreshing to see those freshman students on campus as I recall my days as an undergrad. I’d like to share with you a few things YOU SHOULD DO during your first week at college. This goes for those of you that are living at home and commuting to school, too.
- Make sure your professors know who you are. Briefly introduce yourself after class, or better yet drop by their office. Not only does this demonstrate your interest in the course, but they will remember you when you need help. This is a must if you happen to be attending a school with 30,000 plus students. Most professors will expect you to take responsibility and initiative.
- Meet someone new every day. This is the time when new students are desperate to make friends, so dive in and say hello! Strike a conversation with someone in class or the student center – it’s easier than you think. New friends will come in handy when homesickness and the college grind kicks in.
- Find your ideal place to study. The student center and the library may seem the obvious, but sometimes they are not the best. You’d be surprised how crowded and noisy the library can get. Find at least two places to hit the books in case one doesn’t work out. Some classroom buildings on campus have quiet spaces to study. You’ll be almost guaranteed peace and quiet since most students study elsewhere. Where ever you study, just make sure it’s not in your dorm room.
- Explore the city/town in your college. If you’re away from home, the first week is the best time to take in everything your new home has to offer. As the grind of papers and tests mount you will have less time for this. Depending on your location, the weather will change, making it more difficult to see the sights.
- Establish a good relationship with your roommate. This only applies if you’re living in the dorms. You will be sharing a room with this person for the next eight to nine months, so it’s important that you get off on the right foot. Have a simple conversation and make the appropriate compromises needed.
- Know all your important dates. No not that kind of date, I’m talking about all your test/exam dates and assignment deadlines. They are all printed in your syllabus, so make sure you record them on your tablet/smart phone or agenda. Most professors will not remind you about deadlines as they expect you to consult the syllabus – so be forewarned.
I hope you find this helpful and that your college experience is everything you desire. College is what you make of it and you will look back on it for many years after graduation.