10 tips that will help you prepare you for your first year of college. This might be the first post in a back to school series. As August is quickly approaching I can’t help but hear the chatter of all the incoming college freshman talk about dorms, roommates, what they are purchasing and packing with them to leave for college. To think that kids are going back to school in only a couple weeks, and summer felt like it just started.
Today I put together some tips that I have learned and used and some I wish I knew before going into my freshman year of college and the first year I spent away from home. I didn’t think I realized what college is really about until you get there and are spending the next nine months away from home. I seriously wish I knew some of these because they would have saved me a boatload of time and a little bit of freshman embarrassment.
- Organize Before You Leave: Nothing is worse than arriving on campus with no fall schedule, not knowing what you have in your car or where anything is, or what building you will be living in for the year. Have a game plan before arriving on campus and also have your car packing in the order you want to unload it. Check out my post from last year where I gave my tips for making move in day a breeze.
- Don’t Wait Till The Last Minute To-Do Your College Dorm Shopping: You don’t necessarily have to have all your shopping done before you depart for college, a lot of common things like cleaning products, shampoos and snacks I purchase once I get to campus. Don’t wait until the last minute to drop by Target and expect them to have any twin xl mattress pads or the cutest comforter sets left in stock. Plan ahead and know what you’re looking for and what you plan on bringing with you.
- Get a Bank Account with a Bank in Town: Nothing is worse than having enormous drafting fees or waiting for your parents to transfer money to your account online. With mobile banks, this isn’t such a huge problem but everyone once and awhile you will need cash and ATMs will charge a heavy fee. Don’t wait for your hard earn saving trying to withdraw $20 dollars for pizza from your single credit union account you opened in elementary school and having a $15 drafting fee.
- Make The Most of Orientation Week: Many freshmen will blow this off but this is your first opportunity to meet new friends and faces on campus including upperclassmen leading the orientation. This will help also by learning where all the building on campus are and where all your classes. This will seriously save you the first day of class. Plus this is the best week because universities will give out free gear and food! Not to mention my university gave away laptops, gift cards, and credit to our university’s bookstore to go towards books.
- Save Up a Little Money: If you planned to have a job in college or not it’s always a good idea to have a little money saved up in the case of an emergency or a rainy day in college. You never know when the girls down the hall are all going to a concert, ordering pizza or doing out to dinner for someone’s birthday. You also never know when your computer is going to die and you need to purchase a new one so you can write your six-page paper which is due at midnight. And yeah you can have your parents transfer money into your account but something are super last minute and if it’s the weekend that money won’t get transferred till the following Monday.
- Learn To Do Laundry Before You Leave For Campus: Nothing worse than trying to call your mom while in the laundry room the first week of college because you can’t figure out where your Tide Pods go. Learn to do laundry a few weeks before you leave it will save you a little stress. (Tip – Be there when your laundry is almost done so that you don’t worry about someone else taking your clothes out of the washer or dryer and just piling them up on the floor, this happened a lot my freshman year when I tried to do laundry on Sunday afternoon).
- Develop A Healthy and Normal Sleep Schedule: This is your first taste of freedom and while your parents aren’t going to be living down the hall or in the same house as you anymore telling you when to go to bed, doesn’t mean you should be up all hours of the night. Not to say that every once in awhile an all nighter or cram section is needed. Do yourself a favor in getting into a routine that will keep you happy & healthy and help you to get out of bed for your 8 am. This will also help prevent you from getting sick especially during finals week in the fall semester.
- Learn to Have Self-Control: This tip might only apply to me but once I left for college and wasn’t under parental control monitoring 24/7, I realized I could do whatever I wanted including staying up as late as I wanted, eating as many snacks and treats as I pleases and not studying till the last minute. As much as I wanted to prove my parents wrong, they were right. There was a reason why a serving of Oreos is only four cookies and it should be left at four.
- Purchase a Planner and Use it: Start by adding in your class times into your planner before you leave and during syllabus week, set yourself up for success, by writing down all of your classes tests, midterms and finals. This will help you see ahead to know when tests are approaching, and if you have several in one week you will be able to look ahead and start study in advance. This will save you from being the kid that kinds out one class before that you have a test in the next class.
- Learn to Study: I seriously can’t say this enough, and as many times as I read it going into college I never believed it. In high school courses aren’t as bad and you can easily fly through without even glancing at your textbook. College can be a wide awakening and it’s harder to learn how to study when you’re doing poorly in a course. I highly suggest taking the time to actually read the textbook, take notes in class, visit office hours and see on campus tutors. Many upperclassman or graduate students will tutor for free for volunteer hours and many have taken the class or course with the professor that you are assigned to.
Spreading Sprinkles & Sparkles,