Things You Should Know Before Going off to College  

Ginger Abbot

Dec 3, 2022

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Heading to college is an exciting time in your life! It’s a chance to make memories and explore your career path. So before you start your journey, these are a few things you should know as you go off to college. 

1. Other People Are in the Same Position

Starting a new school can feel intimidating. Sometimes you feel like you’re the only one going through challenges. This is simply not the case. In fact, about 38% of students feel anxious during their first semester.  That’s why it’s important to be open and friendly. Try to reach out to others who may also be feeling overwhelmed. You could end up gaining a great friend or at least making their day. 

2. Be Prepared to Live With a Roommate

Living with someone is not always easy, especially if you’re an only child. The most important thing is having open communication and establishing boundaries. You want to discuss sleep schedules and guest policies. Keep in mind compromise is key. If things get tense, talk with your resident advisor who can help mediate. Remember your roommate doesn’t have to have to be your best friend. 

3. Alcohol Has Calories Too

The freshman 15 isn’t just from eating too much. That is one aspect, due to the unlimited dining options and fewer parental restrictions. So, make sure you’re choosing healthy meals and carrying nutritious snacks to class, such as fruits or granola bars. 

The other part of the freshman 15 is from beer calories. Beer has about 150 calories to start. So, limit your partying and switch over to water. Staying hydrated is also essential for your health. Plus, consuming high amounts of alcohol causes you to make unsafe choices. 

4. Always Be Thinking What’s Next

Planning is a key skill when going off to college. You must keep up with your classwork, especially the readings. Try not to pull too many all-nighters and go to class. Lack of sleep can negatively affect your academic performance. You need seven or more hours of rest a night. To prevent the urge to skip, don’t take an 8 a.m. your first semester. To help you stay organized, create lists, set goals, and pack a planner. 

5. Talk With Your Professors Outside of Class

Getting to know your professors is important. With larger class sizes you may become a face in the crowd. So, actively seek them out after class. Introduce yourself and tell them your thoughts on the course. Take advantage of office hours to ask questions and get advice on your career path. 

Forming a relationship will benefit you down the line. They may be willing to write your job recommendations or provide network connections. These are crucial in helping you land your first job. 

6. Keep Your Finances Under Control

Managing your money is an important skill to know. So, why not start when you go off to college? To help you cut costs buy cheap textbooks, from sites like Amazon. You can also borrow a book from a friend who has already taken the course. Keep in mind you want to wait to order textbooks until after the first day. Some professors don’t rely on the book that much. 

In addition, search for scholarships through sites like Fastweb. Along with academic expenses, cut back on entertainment items. To help manage all your finances, set a budget. 

7. Find and Follow Your Interests 

Since you’re investing in your degree, find something you’re passionate about. Try not to feel pressure from your parents or the allure of a higher salary. If you aren’t excited about the subject you won’t enjoy it in the long run. To help you find your career path, determine your interest and strengths. You can also talk with your advisor or career center. 

Along with your career, find clubs you want to join. The fun part about college is getting involved in a variety of activities. Plus, it can be a low-stress way to try something new and make friends. 

8. Study Abroad if You Have a Chance 

Studying abroad is a fun experience. It allows learning about a new culture and maybe even finding career opportunities. In addition, it looks good on your resume and you may not have the time or money to do it after college. So, talk with your study abroad office to see what opportunities are available. Even if you have a tight schedule, you can still study abroad over the summer. 

9. Take Care of Your Mental Health

Often students’ mental health can be pushed aside with their busy schedules. Yet, it’s essential to give yourself that time. Do simple things, such as relaxing before bed. Try to do something off your phone, like reading. Another strategy is taking breaks in between assignments. Also, allow yourself alone time. That may mean skipping a party or eating by yourself at the cafeteria.  

10. It’s Okay to Switch Your Major 

You may feel pressure to know your career plan before going off to college, but it’s okay to be uncertain. College is a chance to explore and solidify your interests. Remember you won’t know if you like the career until you have more practical experience. If you decide to change your major, talk with your advisor. 

Things You Should Know Before Going off to College

You will get lots of advice before going off to college. People will tell you to study hard and get involved. So, follow this advice to have a successful freshman year. 

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