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There’s a lot to think about when you’re starting your freshman year of college. From a new academic environment to saving money to making new friends, you may not know where to start. Here’s a full guide of tips for your first year. 

 

Academics

 

Prioritize class

Maintain your attendance, and show up to class with your work ready to go. It’s your education and you are paying a lot of money to be there. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it, and get to know your professors. By taking pride in your school work, even during your freshman year, you are supporting your own growth and success!

 

Back-up everything on your computer

Google drive, baby! If you’re computer ever crashes, you can just log into your account on any other computer and access your school work through Google Drive. Plus, it keeps track of your progress on a document, so if you ever accidentally delete anything you didn’t mean to, you can always restore an old version. 

 

Learn to take notes in a way that works for you

No matter your major, you will need to take notes for your classes. That’s why it’s super important to make sure you are taking notes in a way that helps you learn and retain information. Here are some ways to shake up your note-taking routine!

 

Freshman Year Friends

 

Keep your mind open

No matter if you are at the dining hall or studying in the library, stay open to all the people you might meet. Most college students are on the same page when it comes to making new friends, so don’t hesitate to exchange snapcodes with someone you vibe with. Read this to learn  more about your social life in high school vs. college. 

 

Don’t worry if certain friendships fizzle 

You may make fast friends within the first few weeks of school. If these friendships last to senior year and beyond, that’s great! If not, don’t sweat it. Most incoming freshmen are all looking for connection, so everyone will be on their best behavior in the beginning of the school year. Eventually, you may decide that these quick friends aren’t for you, and that’s okay.  

 

Join a club or student organization

It can be a sports team, a club related to your hobby, or a group linked to your major. The best way to make friends is to put yourself out there! When you join a student organization, you are ensuring that you will have something in common with the students you meet up with. Super easy icebreaker!

 

Saving Money

 

Stay away from credit cards

Unless you are ready for the responsibility of paying your credit card bill in full every month, stay away from credit cards. Many companies prey on freshman college students because they know you probably have parents who will bail you out if you rack up a crazy amount of debt. Having a credit card can be good for establishing credit, but don’t jump into this responsibility until you’re ready. 

 

Use your student discount

One of the biggest perks of being a college student is the student discounts you can get everywhere! Always carry your student ID with you, so you can take advantage of these lower costs. If you aren’t sure if a student discount is offered, don’t be afraid to ask!

 

Experiment with budgeting

The more you practice budgeting, the better you will handle money in the future. Try to find a method that works for you whether it be keeping track of expenses in Excel or downloading a budgeting app. As you can imagine, tracking your money is a skill that will help you out in the real world. Here are some more tips for budgeting as a college student.

 

Health

 

Put your mental health first

There are counselors on-campus who will listen to you and help you with any problem you may have, school-related or not. You should treat your mental and emotional health with the utmost care. Create a self-care routine that works for you; here are some ideas to get you started.

 

Go to the health center

College is a germy place, and there’s nothing worse than having school work to do when you’re sick. The health center offers all the medical care you might need from flu shots to condoms. In the past, your parents may have been the ones to schedule doctor’s appointments for you. Now is a great chance to practice taking care of your health all on your own. 

 

Take advantage of exercise facilities

It’s included in your tuition, so go explore. Even if you aren’t interested in the typical gym setting, many schools will have pools, sports courts, exercise classes, and maybe even rock climbing! 

 

Dorm Life

 

Keep your space organized

When you come home to unwind after a long day of classes, you want your dorm to be a place of complete relaxation. Put in the extra effort to keep things organized, so you can sleep and unwind in an environment that is stress free. Make your dorm feel like home with these tips. 

 

Set ground rules with your roommate 

It may sound awkward, but there’s nothing wrong with setting boundaries. Discuss expectations about staying up, waking up, partying, having guests, cleaning, and borrowing each other’s things. These are basic areas that could cause potential conflict if not addressed. For more info, check out these questions that will surely lead to peaceful cohabitation!

Hopefully with these tips, you feel a little more prepared for your freshman year of college. Learn more about college expectations vs. reality with this article!