Tips for Starting Your First College Semester Out Right

Tips for Starting Your First College Semester Out Right
  • Opening Intro -

    Many college students will be getting out on their own for the first time this fall.

    To succeed in school, there are just a few things you have to do every day.


With focus and dedication, you can build the right habits to stay on the most productive path to meet your goals.

Set a Schedule

What time do you naturally wake up, and what kind of energy do you have when you rise? Many people have a hard time waking up early, while others wake early but have little focus.

If you struggle, put the alarm across the room from your bed so you have to get up to turn it off. Once you are up, get busy. If you wake easily but lack focus, create a structure to move into.

For example, you can leave your laptop out, set a clean coffee cup beside the pot, or prepare your workout clothes in the bathroom of your apartment. Make the first few steps as easy as possible.

If your first class is early, you will need to be up in time to get ready. If your first class does not start until later on Tuesday and Thursday, do your best to get up at the same time each day.

This will build the habit of engaging your brain early, and will also help you fall asleep at the same time each day.

Make Room for Socializing

It can be easy to fall into nothing but work. However, this does not work long term. Look for groups of people that either share your interest, or that do something you want to learn. If you want to rock climb, visit the gym on campus and get a lesson on the wall.

Visit the campus gathering spaces and look for ways to engage with other students that have breaks when you do. Invite a classmate for a coffee and study break.

Making new friends in college is really the first chance you will ever get to choose your environment, so meet new people and connect.

Focus on Minimalism

Even if your budget as a student is not tight, your living space likely will not be very big. Study the amenities available at theUH apartments and bring what you know you will need. Once you get moved in, you can add to your collection of stuff. For example, you will probably want a desk and a chair, but you may not need a treadmill if your apartment offers a fitness room. If your budget does not allow for a lot of living room furniture, focus on what you have to have, such as a

  1. bed
  2. dresser
  3. desk
  4. chair

If funds are very tight, you can use your apartment for working and lounge in the community room.

Class Comes First

For the first semester, make it a goal to over prepare, whether that is the reading, the quizzes, or for tests. Not only will this be great for your grades, but it will do wonders for your confidence. In addition to over-preparing for your classes, do your best to eat as well as possible, to exercise regularly, and to get to bed at the same time each night. While it is true that your 18-year-old body will run on no sleep, garbage food and no exercise, you may put yourself at risk of illness. If you moved out of state to go to school, being sick on your own is no fun!

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Create a Mental Map

Get to campus and figure out where your classes are. Walk the route from building to building. Do your best to map out your schedule for each day of the week. Figure out when you have breaks and where you will go. Can you study in a crowded commons area, or will you need to go to the library? Find a cozy corner and try to get there during your break times if you need a bit more prep time.


College is a huge step, so go for it! Do your best to take care of yourself and make good choices. If you see old or new friends headed down unhealthy paths, let them know that you are concerned. If you need to step back from a friendship, do so. Keep your focus on your school goals.

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Categories: College Planning