Off to College: What to Expect

Off to College: What to Expect
  • Opening Intro -

    Incoming college freshmen are instantly recognizable.

    They're the students who act like they have it all figured out, young adults getting their first taste of freedom apart from mom and dad's watchful eyes.

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Deep inside many first-year students are scared witless, fearful that they’ll be quickly figured out for who they really are: individuals who don’t quite know what to expect and worried that they won’t fit in. Those fears are normal and they’re also valid. Fortunately, fears are something that can be dealt with, if students look at everything from the proper perspective.

1. Clean slate — You may have been the high school valedictorian or the class clown, but what you and everyone else has in common on day one is that you’re given the opportunity to start school with a clean slate. It is the beginning of the academic contest and the score is 0-0.

2. Make friends — Promise yourself that you will make friends even if you are the shy, loner type. Guess what? You’ll meet people who are very similar to your personality. Give yourself and others a chance — manage your expectations, but take a risk by saying “hi” to someone and by showing yourself friendly.

3. Live right — Without parental oversight, it is easy to keep whatever hours that suit you or eat whatever you want. True, researchers have recently disproven the Freshman 15, representing the amount of weight first year students supposedly gain. That amount may be more like three pounds, but know this: you’ll be consuming more pound-increasing carbohydrates at college than you did at home. Enjoy the pizza, but in moderation.

4. Your roommates — Go figure: your roommate is really, really weird. Well, maybe not weird, but different. Unless your roomie is a sociopath, accept his or her quirks for what they are. You have some quirks too. College is about learning who you are and how you interact with others. You’ll adjust to your roommate’s odd habit of trimming her nails at 2 a.m. clip.Clip.CLIP! Besides, she already puts up with your snoring or boisterous laughing.

5. Homesickness happens — You may be glad to have some distance between you and your folks, but sooner or later you’ll miss them. Even an annoying younger sibling can be missed — who else can you control and get away with it? Miss Kitty and Fido still sleep at the foot of your bed, but you’re no longer in it. This is where you and your new friends can offer each other support by spending time with each other. Enjoy your solitary time too and stay in a positive mood. If things get really tough, plan a trip home. If you’re beset by a bad case of the blues seek counseling through your college’s health clinic. Some 70 percent of college students will feel homesick at some point according to Harding University, so you’re in good company.

6. Study discipline — In the first point, we mentioned that you now have a clean slate. That slate, however, can quickly become marred if you don’t develop a discipline of study. Faithfully attend your classes, take notes, prepare for quizzes and examinations, and introduce yourself to your professors. Know his or her office hours and stop in and say hello. Professors were students once — they know and understand your concerns.

7. Campus safety — You may not hear much about campus safety, but you should. In fact, it is the law. The Jeanne Clery Act requires colleges that participate in the federal student aid program to disclose information about campus and local crime to the college community. Beyond the act itself, you’ll want to keep your dorm room door locked, travel at night in well-lit areas and with a friend if possible, and keep a fully charged cell phone on your person at all times. Call 9-1-1 if a problem arises.

8. Enjoy yourself. Not every day you spend at college will knock your socks off. There will be times you’ll just want to scream at the impossible assignment you have to have finished by the next day. This too shall pass! Enjoy the limited years you’ll be spending at college, prep time for developing you as an individual and to prepare you for a profession. This is a special time in your life, one that won’t be repeated again even if you try. Make memories…good ones!

Freshman Orientation

You may be tempted to skip freshman orientation or at least part of it, but go anyway. You’ll meet other students, talk with academic advisers, put the finishing touches on your class schedule, learn about the university’s services and resources, and get a complete tour of the campus. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes…and enjoy!

College Financing reference:

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Categories: Education Tips