You moved into your dorm room, bought yourself a package of top ramen for every week of the semester, and you already toured campus to find your classes. Now all that’s left is to start school.
When you begin your freshman year of college, you have a few conflicting interests. You want to celebrate your newfound freedom, but you also want to jumpstart your academic career and make a good impression.
Never fear, freshman. We have a list of six tips to make sure you start college on the right foot and live with no regrets.
1. Work Hard, Play Hard
The impression you get from movies and TV shows is that college is all about the nightlife. But what the media doesn’t show you are the hours of classes, study sessions, and lecture reviews that each student has to endure before they can kick back and relax.
Make sure you go into your first year of college with the right priorities. If you want to have a lucrative career and meaningful relationships, start now. Take your classes seriously and set goals to keep you on track.
Then, when you’ve accomplished your goals, reward yourself with serious playtime on the weekends. You’ll enjoy your leisure time more if you structure your schedule to include both work and play.
2. Drink Responsibly
All of your hard work in class won’t matter in the long run if you make bad decisions while intoxicated. Know your own tolerance levels before you start partying, and enlist a trusted friend to have your back if you get out of control.
You should also review your school’s policy for drugs and alcohol. Many universities take administrative action toward underage drinkers. And remember: never drink and drive. Don’t get in the car with a driver who has been drinking either. According to the experts at the Rosengren Kohlmeyer Law Offices, consequences of a DUI can include jail time and fines. Keep yourself and others safe by staying off the roads if you’ve had any alcohol.
3. Branch Out
Once you select a major for the next four years of your life, you might feel tempted to restrict your group of friends to people with similar interests.
But college provides you with the perfect opportunity to expand your network beyond people that you would normally spend time with. Get to know people from different states—or even countries—that you have little in common with. Education isn’t limited to the classroom, and you’ll learn a lot from dealing with interpersonal differences.
4. Don’t Forget About Your Health
The words “freshman 15” or “freshman 50” didn’t materialize out of thin air. When you leave your parents’ kitchen behind, you’ll probably find out just how much you like vending machine food, and any grocery store item with “instant” in the title.
But when you go through significant life changes, you need to make sure your physical health can keep up. Make sure that your diet includes enough vitamins and minerals to keep your immune system healthy, otherwise your attention span and class attendance could suffer.
5. Talk with your Professors
Professors picked their field of study because they feel passionately about it—and also because they like working with students.
Schedule an appointment with each of your professors during the semester and ask for help with the coursework or advice for your future. Who knows? You could just find a mentor that can connect you to your future career.
6. Embrace the Possibility of Failure
With a brand new social scene and a rigorous academic environment, many first-time university students get overwhelmed and anxious. Understand that stress during your first year is completely normal—but don’t get so caught up in perfect grades that you forget to explore and have fun. College is all about discovering your strengths and weaknesses, so don’t get discouraged when things don’t work out immediately.
Your freshman year in college may include a variety of ups and downs, but it’s important to focus on the positives. These tips will help you to enjoy your first of college a little more and prepare yourself for the remainder of your studies.