College: it’s a time of newfound independence, where adventures begin, and where your life finally starts. Having said that, college can also be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of your life, especially when the college of your choice is in another state. Speaking from personal experience, moving from LA to Boulder, Colorado, these tips were crucial to my success:
1. Make things in your dorm room similar to your room at home: upon moving into your dorm room, you will find that it looks plain and simple, so liven up the place! Get colorful bed sheets and fun-patterned pillowcases to make your bed more inviting and put up posters and pictures from home on the walls, you will be surprised what a difference walls with colorful objects will make. Another thing to remember about your room is to keep it organized, now that you are in college, there is no mom or dad to clean up your room, and nobody likes a messy room, especially when you are trying to study for midterms, and chances are your roommate will not appreciate it either.
2. Bond with your roommate: odds are, when you movie into a dorm, unless you request a single, you will be living with a roommate for your entire freshman year. Bonding with your roommate will make life much easier for you and will make the overall freshman experience more enjoyable. Instead of refusing to spend time with your roommate because you think they are different from you, invite them to get lunch at the dining hall and ask them about high school. You may not know it, but they may have been involved in the same things you were in high school, and before you know it, a friendship is born. On the other side of the spectrum, if you and your roommate are unable to bond and do not share the same likes and dislikes, be sure to avoid drama and do not instigate any arguments, because the last thing anyone wants is to dread going back to their home. College is hard enough being away from home and studying extra hard, do not make your life more complicated by creating a bad relationship with your roommate.
3. Get involved: one of the greatest ways to find your place within a large university is to get involved with as many organizations and clubs as you can. If you are worried about how you are going to hear about any opportunities, don’t be: most colleges have a few days set out where clubs bring their own booths to a central place on campus where you can go to find out about things that interest you. Also, go into the club fairs with an open mind, just because you were not particularly interested in a certain area in high school, it does not mean that you could possibly take a particular interest in that area in college. Joining clubs and organizations in college allow you to foster friendships with upperclassmen, which will help you if any problems arise or even if you have simple questions about the university as well. Also, getting involved with clubs will allow you to span your interests to places you never would have thought of. Another thing to remember is if your school is sports intensive, go to the games, the energy at the games is extremely intense and the entire school is involved, so instead of sitting in your dorm room all week with nothing to do, get out there and get involved!
4. Remember to study: Even though college is this new, exhilarating experience, you need to remember that you are there for a reason: to study. Classes are much different from those in high school, the structure is different, and they are much harder. It is extremely important to manage your time efficiently. When midterms come around, make yourself a schedule of what needs to be done and what needs to be studied by which date. Getting a big calendar where there is enough room to write in your schedule is extremely helpful and will allow you to stay on the right track when tests are popping up left and right. Also make sure to write all of your due dates on your calendar as well, no one wants to remember that they have a 5 page paper due the next day as a result of not keeping up with dates. Being organized will help you stay on the steady track of being a good student, you will undeniably do better in school, and you will feel like a much better person for keeping your life in order.
5. Enjoy your social life: even though college is a prime place to study and to figure out your future career path, enjoying the social life is an inevitable part of the college experience. Even if you only go out once a week, make sure that you give yourself time to enjoy being with your friends and to try and make new friends as you explore the new college life. Having said that, you should always make sure that when going out, you take the proper safety measures to ensure that you will be safe throughout the night. When at a party always make sure that you hold on to your drink at all times (both non-alcoholic and alcoholic) and also make sure to keep your hand over the top of the drink as well, even if you are holding the drink in your hand but are not paying attention, there is a chance that someone will try to slip in some type of drug while you are talking to someone else. Always stick with you friends, even if you are going to the bathroom at a party, make sure you let your friends know where you are and even take one with you. But also remember that you are out to have fun, take a lot of pictures, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
All in all, college is one of the greatest experiences that you will be apart of, it teaches you to be responsible all on your own, leads you down the desired career path of your choice, and allows you to have more fun than you will ever have for the rest of your life.