You’re about to start your first year of college, how exciting! Exciting except for one thing. You have no idea what to expect or what is expected of you. College is a big change from high school. You’re in a new place and around new people. In most cases you are around a lot of new people. You may have hundreds of other people in some of your classes. This is quite a significant change from high school classes which have around 35 students per class. With all these changes, college can seem like an intimidating place. That’s why I put together these 5 essential “college success factors” for your first day of college.
1) Spend lots of time outside your dorm
College is a place where you can meet many new people. However, you can’t meet a lot of people inside your dorm. The chances are there will be many students hanging around outside the dorms for the first few days of college. Get to know them! If you see other students hanging out, go introduce yourself. Maybe you and your roommate go around together meeting new people. Even just saying hi to some people is a good first step. If you see those people in your classes, you can chat with them some more then.
Having friends that you can study with can be extremely helpful in college, so get out there and chat with others!
2) Know where your classes are
A college campus can be an intimidating place. However, don’t let it scare you! There are plenty of ways to learn where everything is on campus. For starters, take a look at your class schedule. It should have all the building/room numbers where each one of your classes is. Then look on the school’s website for a map of the campus. Finally, locate each one of your classes on the map so you know where you’re going!
There are other places you should find on the campus map as well. Take a look to see where the cafeteria, library, mailroom, and student union are. If you have time, walk around campus and stop at each one of these places to make sure you know exactly where everything is at.
Remember, knowledge of where everything is on campus will come with time. Plus, depending on how large your campus is, you might not even need to go in 90% of the buildings on campus. So just relax, and before you know it, you will be giving others directions for how to get around campus!
3) Be prepared
Being prepared for college will make you much more comfortable and relaxed as you start the new semester. Therefore, make sure you have all the essentials taken care of.
Textbooks – Do you have all the books you need for your classes? If not, purchase them online at sites like Amazon for significant savings rather than spending loads of money at the campus bookstore.
Spiral Notebooks – Personally I like to have one spiral notebook for each class. It is easier to keep notes organized that way.
3-Ring Binders – Again, I find having a separate 3-ring binder for each class helps keep me organized. Your backpack can get bulky real quick if you have 5 binders in it though; so to avoid that, only pack the binders you need each day.
Then of course there are pens, pencils, paper, and whatever other supplies you like.
If you don’t have a meal plan, make sure you have all the pots, pans, pates, silverware, and Tupperware you need.
4) Sit at the front of your classes
I can’t stress this one enough. Some classes are large, and it can be hard to hear the professor or see what he or she is writing on the board. Make it a habit to get to class a 5-10 minutes early and grab a seat in the first couple rows. Even if your classes are small, you still want a good seat. The classroom may have multiple whiteboards, so pay attention to what one the teacher uses the most and make sure your seat gives you a clear view of the board. You’re paying hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars for each class, so make sure you get the most out of your classes.
5) Remember: You’re not alone!
There are likely hundreds or even thousands of others beginning their freshman year of college with you. You don’t have to take on all these challenges by yourself. The good part of living in a dorm is that you can make friends with your roommates (assuming you have good roommates!) and explore college together. Even if you live off campus, you can still talk to other students in your classes and make friends at school events. The most important thing to remember is that everyone else is trying to fit in and make friends just like you are.
Enjoy your time at college, because before you know it, the semester will be over!