Advice for Starting College

college freshmen

Starting college is always a big change. You’ll get to learn and experience many new things, meet new people, and will most likely pull a hundred all-nighters to get all your papers done on time. We’ve all been there. By now, you might already have a college checklist or bucket list prepared based on what everyone and the internet tells you. But here are some less talked about pieces of advice for every college freshman to keep in mind on their first few days.

Make sure you have all requirements beforehand

This should go without saying, but make sure that you have all your class or entrance requirements before you start your first day. Unless your professor doesn’t tell you the requirements before the first day, having everything prepared saves you a lot of time and trouble later.

Things like required textbooks, advanced readings, and other materials are best prepared before class even begins. It might be tedious, but you also don’t want to be running late because you were buying everything you needed or risk being unable to buy them all because they ran out. You’ll thank yourself later for thinking ahead.

Don’t take on too many classes than you can handle

It might be tempting to overload your schedule now to have fewer classes to attend in the following semesters, but it’s still not a good idea to bite off more than you can chew. Know your limits and try not to test them. Space out your day to allow for at least one or two free periods, including lunch.

If you’re allowed to pick your schedule, don’t pick back-to-back classes that are across the campus from each other, especially if the previous professor tends to extend his time. Choose your classes and their succession wisely, and you won’t have to worry about getting burnt out or overwhelmed.

Don’t skip meals

We all know the stereotype of broke college students who can’t afford anything but instant ramen. While there is some truth in the stereotype, it doesn’t mean that you have to be like that. As much as possible, don’t skip mealtimes. You might have your reasons, such as not having enough money or time to eat, but don’t skip out on any meals if you’re able. And no, one or more cups of coffee doesn’t count as a meal.

Invest in good appliances and furniture for your dorm

Most college freshmen have to move into either on-campus dorms or an off-campus apartment, which they might share with one or more roommates. And that’s completely fine. What’s not, however, is not having the right appliances or furniture. This could include a fan (if your building doesn’t have AC), a microwave and microwave-safe plates and bowls, cleaning wipes and supplies, an electric kettle, a mini-fridge, and a laundry hamper, among others other things.

Maintain a regular sleeping schedule as much as possible

Pulling an all-nighter might be the only way you can get that report done and submitted on time, but staying up all night for a consecutive number of days isn’t healthy. Even if you have a deadline to beat, it’s unwise to keep working when you haven’t had any rest. You do your best work when both mind and body are well-rested. Do your best to maintain a proper sleep schedule, and don’t push yourself too hard.

It’s okay to take mental health breaks

If you need to take a break for your mental health or feel overwhelmed, it’s okay to stop and take a breather. You don’t have to feel guilty for feeling the way you do. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and no amount of classes or work is worth sacrificing your health over.

If it all becomes too much, it’s completely fine to talk to your professor about it and find a compromise. If you need to talk to someone about it, you can confide in your friends or campus guidance counselor. Just don’t feel sorry for something that you can’t help.

If there’s one takeaway to all this, it’s to savor your time in college because it only happens once. You can certainly follow the usual advice of trying new things, making new friends and doing your best in classes. But know that there is no one way to enjoy college. Everyone experiences it differently, so go at it at your own pace and savor every good moment that you can.

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