For those of you who do not know, I am in my second year of college. I came to Rowan as a transfer student from a county college up in North Jersey last year. This article is for those who are in the same position I was in last year, starting your first year at college.
It seems hard at first to grasp the thought of living on your own. Believe me, I know the feeling. You’re leaving the place that you grew up in. You’re leaving your family and friends behind. All so you can start your new life. In most cases, you might be going to a place you’ve never been before. You’re going to be surrounded with new people, and that may seem scary. For the first week, you may experience an array of emotions. You may find yourself planning a weekend to go home already, or you may find yourself constantly calling your mom or dad. Do not worry, that is totally okay. Here are some tips that I’ve learned during my time away from college.
1. It is okay to overpack
You’re new to the college scene. You are still learning what you will and will not use throughout the school year. The good thing about college is that you have a winter break. Whatever you find that you did not use during the fall semester you can bring home during winter break.
2. Get to know your roommate before moving in
If you’re anything like me, you’ll go to college not knowing your roommate. However, most schools provide you with the email of your roommate that way you can easily get in touch with him or her. When I found out who my roommate was I searched and found her on Facebook and that is how we started talking. It helps to get to know them before the year starts. However, some of you may be lucky enough to be rooming with a friend from home. In that case, kudos to you, you’ve already passed this step.
3. Get involved on your campus
Find an office that takes volunteers and help out with events. In my case, I was lucky enough to have a job prior to me arriving on campus. That made the getting involved on campus issue one hundred times easier. A lot of people find it satisfying to get involved in greek life as well. Rush a sorority or fraternity. Either way, this will help you get acquainted with college life. I got involved on campus through Rowan’s Student Activities Office (formerly known as Office of Student Activities, now known as the Student Center and Campus Activities Office).
4. ALWAYS go to class!
Believe me, I know the feeling of not wanting to go to class. It happens to the best of us. Listen to me when I say, don’t give in to the temptation that is skipping class. Most professors (I say most with a grain of salt) will have an attendance policy for classes. Some will even give you more incentive to not miss class. I had a professor who gave the incentive of if you missed less than three classes he would bump your grade up an entire letter grade. My advice to you is, try not to skip class often because you never know when you might need to miss class and that could put you over the edge.
5. Get a tutor or make use of your professor’s office hours
Most colleges offer a tutoring center. Those centers are offered for your advantage. So I urge you to use them to your advantage. Additionally, if you are having trouble in your class, utilize your professor’s office hours. You may not think this, but they are there to help, and they want you to succeed.
6. Use a calendar
I cannot stress this enough. Calendars are a godsend. If you do not own one, I strongly suggest you invest in one. It will be a major help when you have eight different assignments due in one week and you need to know what date each assignment is due on. A calendar will be a huge help in keeping you from forgetting what assignments are due when, or what meetings you have on what dates. I definitely suggest you go out and buy one right now.
7. Do not procrastinate, be proactive with your work
Procrastination is the number one cause of stress in college in my opinion. Do not leave your work to the last minute. If you do you might run into the issue of internet outages and not be able to submit your assignment. Rowan is known for having internet issues, so please get your work done first, then go play.
8. Wear flip-flops in the bathroom
If you are living in a building with a communal bathroom, this is a must. When you share a bathroom with 20+ other students, who let’s be honest, are not the cleanest people in the world, flip-flops are a must. You wouldn’t go barefoot in a public bathroom, so please don’t go barefoot in a communal style dorm building. Those bathrooms are not the cleanest, stay safe and wear flip-flops.
9. Take advantage of what your campus provides you
Your campus is your home for the next few months so take every advantage you are given. Get a rec center membership and go to the classes they offer. Working out is a great stress reliever. Take advantage of the tutoring center. You never know when you’ll need help with a hard course. Take advantage of the printers and computer labs that are conveniently located around campus. All of these things are there for your convenience.
10. Finally, stay in touch with your friends and family back home
As hard as it is for you to leave home, it’s just as hard for your parents to let you go. Call your parents often. Stay in touch with your friends that you left back in your hometown. It’s okay to make new friends at college, but don’t forget the friends you grew up with.