So, I started college two years ago this fall, which first of all blows my mind. And secondly reminds me of how absolutely nervous I was as my parents helped me to move into my room. (And I even knew my roommate from high school!) So I thought I’d send this out there to all those terrified new college kids or maybe just the ones who have questions about the basics. So maybe I’ll start with roommates.
1. Roommates. No, it will not matter if you room with your best friend, a stranger, or an acquaintance. In the end, you’ll either have a really good friend, or someone you never talk to again. And that’s okay. College is about being you. Not pleasing someone else. So, if you find someone to room with great. If not, that’s okay too. Most colleges match you to someone they think you’ll get along with.
2. Respect. On that note….respect your roommate! If you’re a poor roommate chances are your roomie will retaliate in unpleasant ways (like hiding the toilet paper or locking everything up). So be nice, establish rules and boundaries, and don’t do anything that could be offensive to someone else. Honestly, not everyone grew up like you did. And that must be remembered.
4. STUFF. Make sure to know ahead of time what room amenities are. And yes you really will want a microwave and fridge and probably a TV. If they aren’t provided, contact your roomie and set up who brings what. Chances are you’ll have an extra of everything lying around for you two to share in your new dorm room. I could talk forever about this, but everyone one has their own personal taste.
5. Meal Plans. Unless you’re an athlete with a huge appetite, you probably don’t need 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. So, start small and take into account eating off campus and in your room. Or maybe you aren’t a breakfast person. You can always add more meals later.
6. Books. GO ONLINE FIRST. Bookstores on campus are outrageously expensive and you’ll never get the full price back. So be sure to buy and sell you’re books online through places like Amazon as much as possible. Additionally, look for downloadable books for your computer/ Kindle/ Nook/ Ipad/ etc.
7. Classes. Print off your schedule and map or use your phone app if your school has one. A few days before classes, preferable not a weekend in case they lock buildings, go find your classrooms. Trust me on this one. It’s pretty different from high school. You only have so much time to get to classes. So know where they are. If you need a bike or skate board to get there on time, now you’ll know. But that’s not to say that there are some very lost people on day one of classes so you won’t be the only lost sole. And you can always ask for directions. 9/10 times someone will help you.
8. Be open. Meeting new people can be so hard. But, it’s actually pretty easy at college. There are always people around. And if you’re in a dorm or have roommates you are already half way there. If not, talk to people in your classes or that you randomly run into. The best time to meet new people is the first week of classes. Talk to whoever you sit down next to and be chatty. Take numbers and emails for homework.
9. Get involved. Now, I am NEVER the one to get involved in too many things. However, in college there are many clubs and groups and living communities….you’re bound to find something. Personally, I lived in a dorm where you went to classes about service and volunteering and learned to make a difference. And we also did community service together. It was some of the most fun I’ve had in college thus far. Usually there are involvement fairs at the beginning of every semester!
10. Professors. Suck up to them. Email them with questions. Go talk to them. It can be about a reading assignment, for help on something, or just because you’re interested in their work. You don’t have to be that person who talks all the time in class but it definitely helps if your prof knows your name. For example, I once disagreed with a grade on a paper…and talked the TA into giving me so many points back that a C became an A. They are human and make mistakes. Show them. And 9/10 times you’ll get a grade boosted.
11. Parents. Call them. Let them know you haven’t died. What your classes are like. What you did for your weekend. They want to know you’re safe and having fun. But even if you don’t think so, they miss you. Besides you might just need their washer and dryer one of these weekends. Also, your siblings appreciate the calls as well.
12. Supplies. Welcome to college, you can now take notes however you want. Whether it’s on the computer, or in a notebook, or completely and utterly disorganized. Do it your way. Now is the time to find out what works for you. I do recommend if you use a computer… remember that you can’t really draw those chalk board diagrams with this. And, turn off your wi-fi in class for your grade’s sake. Anyway, use what you want and do what you want. Just do what works for you. On a side note, it is basically a necessity to own a lap top in college. You can find them used or for cheap. But definitely be sure to invest in one. It will be your life in college. Homework assignments, grades, papers, research, books, quizzes…..they’ll all end up online.
13. Papers. Be prepared to write a lot of them. Especially as a freshman. Your intro classes will require it a lot. In order to get a good grade, I recommend following the directions exactly, writing a 5 paragraph essay, and editing it more times than you think necessary. I find that most teachers grade grammar more than content. So long as your content is relatively logical.