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10 Useful College Tips for the Frightened Freshman

Updated on December 9, 2021
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Lanecia enjoys writing in an effort to inspire others. She has a master's degree in Library and Information Science from Kent State.

I have been there before. My stomach feeling as if it is about to hit the floor. Wishing I had done my hair a different way or wore a different outfit. Looking around and seeing no one I knew, and being jealous of the bonds other students had already started to make. That was my freshman experience over 8 years ago, and I can still remember the feeling to this day.

Starting college can be one of the most stressful experiences you will ever encounter.

Especially if you are coming out of high school with no clue what to expect. You may have went on a few college tours and got to see some nice dorms and supersized cafeterias, but did it really prepare you, or did you just experience what could be?

You may be worried about coursework, financial issues, finding friends, places to eat, and etc.

It is okay to be a little stressed before beginning college, after all this will be a huge life transformation for you and many of your peers.

Realize that you are not alone in feeling lost or afraid. Things will fall into place when you take the time to learn all about your chosen school and what is expected of you.

Until then, here are some ways you can ease into your freshman year:

1. Visit More Than Once

So you have been on several tours of the campus and feel pretty confident in your new chosen school.

Visiting more than once is always best so that you can find what you need before classes start without ending up lost or confused.

Not only should you visit campus more than once, you should also visit the website and any of its affiliates to get better acquainted with the culture of the atmosphere.

2. Get Involved

The best way to learn more about campus and meet new people is to get involved with activities, events, and organizations.

You don't have to apply to be president of the student government, better yet, go for it!

Just make sure that you are participating in some type of social group where you can engage with your peers and find support.

If you don't have time to participate on campus, try getting involved online. Your school may have multiple online social networks you can join where you can meet alumni and current students who can share advice and offer resources for your success.

3. Be Yourself

Many freshman who are just entering college will experience an entirely different atmosphere full of fashion statements and trends.

You may feel as if you are the only one still wearing your Mickey Mouse sweatshirt your grandma made; but wear it until the sleeves fall off.

It is okay to want to fit in and and feel accepted by your peers, but do not lose sight of why you are in college in the first place. You are there to obtain a degree in order to find a career after graduation.

You are not there to impress others or spend hundreds of dollars on a new wardrobe, when half of those clothes will mean nothing for your academic future.

It is okay to buy a new dress every once in a while after receiving good grades on your midterms. But, it is best to save any extra money for the things you need, such as a car, paying off student loans, a new apartment, and etc.

4. Be prepared

Many students come into college with their school supplies and dorm essentials ready to go, but being over-prepared will never hurt you.

Buy all of your books ahead of time to avoid long lines in the college bookstore. Print your syllabus ahead of time and read through it so you know what to expect from all classes.

Plan out your grocery lists, class schedules, bills, and any other activities for the week ahead so that you will not forget anything.

Be sure to email professors to be sure there are no additional requirements for class before the first day of school.

If you can, visit their office and introduce yourself as one of their new students in class.

Believe it or not, your professors want to get to know their students and their needs so that they can help you succeed.

5. Ask For Help

Whether it is your guidance counselor, parents, friends, or professors; there is always someone available to help you ease into your freshman year.

Don't be shy when it comes to asking for help, since these are the people who are suppose to be your support system.

If you are really anxious and having a hard time coping with the feelings of beginning college, call up someone you can trust to give you words of advice or offer support.

There are also college counselors who are also available to talk with you about any questions or concerns about the new school year or if you just need someone to talk to.

Join an online forum or social network for new college freshman like you who can also become your support system.

6. Get Organized

To avoid even more stress during the start of your freshman year, it is best to be organized.

When you have everything in place and in order, you will know where everything is located. Scrambling to find your highlighters 5 minutes before an exam is the best way to throw your mind into stress.

When you get stressed, you cannot give your best effort on what you need to accomplish.

Visit your local dollar store for planners and containers to keep everything in order and in place to reduce clutter and remain prepared.

7. Be Safe

The most important thought to remember is to be safe. If you have any night classes, be sure to walk in areas that are brightly lit.

Never walk in dark alleyways, hallways or parking lots by yourself. If you drive, keep all of your valuables out of the car and take them with you.

Check to see if your school offers an escort service where staff can walk you wherever you need to go to remain safe. Also, walk in groups or with friends whenever you can.

Never keep a lot of cash on you at anytime; use your bank card, which is much safer and can be cancelled at any time.

Buy a sturdy combination lock to store valuables and bulky outerwear throughout the day.

Visit your school's information desk and safety department to obtain crime reports and get more information on ways to stay safe on campus.

8. Get a Backpack

If you enjoy having a healthy spine, one of the best investments you can make is to buy a quality backpack where you can store and carry all of your heavy books and necessities.

It is best to shop for backpacks as soon as you can so you can avoid long lines and supply shortages at the college bookstore.

If you are not sure what type of backpack is suitable for you, visit your local sports store or retailer to talk to associate about the best quality backpack that suits you.

Some stores offer discounts for students going back to school, so you can save more money off the original prices.

9. Live Like a Minimalist

If you are going to be living on campus in an apartment or dorm it is best to take only what you will need. Try asking your family or friends if they can loan you space in their vehicle, to avoid the high cost of truck rental fees.

If possible, try to find smaller appliances and carry small luggage so you don't run out of space.

If you must take a lot with you on campus, try to see if you can find deals through truck rental websites.

Sometimes they have deals and coupons for students around the fall months.

If you can find what you need at thrift stores, you'll find that most appliances and necessities at half the cost of new items.

10. Avoid the "freshman 15"

Lastly, with all of the stress and anxiousness of beginning college, you will need find ways to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Exercise and healthy eating are excellent ways to avoid stress and becoming overwhelmed.

You don't need a fancy gym membership or $1,000.00 yoga pass to stay fit, try taking a walk or run around campus. Your school may also have a fitness center close by where the cost may be included in tuition.

If you have some extra time on your hands, join a sport team where you can also stay fit and meet new friends.

If sweating is not your thing, keep in mind that there are a million other ways to escape the stress of college life.

Also, be sure to eat healthy to compliment your fitness routine.

The cost of eating healthy is much cheaper than buying burgers and pizza everyday.

Pack light snacks throughout the day to keep you going. Include mostly fruits and vegetables to your meals to maintain energy and brain power.

If you must consume caffeine or sugar, try not to overdo it to avoid crashes during your busy day.

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