The College 411, (almost) everything you need from Beginning to End!
Let me start off by saying, what you read does not pertain to how old you are, what your major is (if you even have that figured out yet) or what you're going to do with the rest of your life. What I am going to do is help you with some tips on your journey of figuring all that out.
For those of you fresh out of High School, Congratulations! You are about to start a brand new chapter in your life. Are you scared? Good. You should be. When I was 18 I graduated from High School with no idea what I wanted to do, all I wanted was to make sure I got into a college so my parents knew that their little girl was going somewhere, preferably out of the house.
For those of you who may be going back to school, have never been to college, or just going for other reasons. Welcome back and/or Good Luck!
I am 25 years old with two college degrees. I have been scared and confused with no idea what I was even doing in school, to having my degree change on me about 10x (whose counting). If you are joining the college life, don't be scared if you have no idea what you want to do, that's what your first year of college is anyways. To figure all that out! Through it all though, I met some interesting and amazing people along my way.
First let me say, make sure you GO to orientation, regardless of who you are it is the best time to get as much information as you want from the college your attending! I don't care if you go alone, with a friend, a parent, a significant other, just make sure you go!! So that being said...
1. Off campus housing, Sororities and Dorms are a must! If you are fresh out of high school, don't live at home. One of the biggest mistakes a lot of students make are commuting. Now there are some who do it because of personal reasons (or whatever), but college is not all about going to school, studying and graduating. I lied it is, but it is also much more then that, it is about meeting people and making new friends. This is not, and I repeat is NOT high school, so take this as a fresh start to meet new people and do things you never thought you would do before! I personally lived on off-campus housing, it's more private with your own bathroom and your own space unlike a dorm where, for me, would be awkward. A lot of universities now are doing off-campus housing (apartments) because students prefer that life style rather than a dorm life. That however is completely up to you and your preference.
2. Join an organization! When I first started my College career I thought this was stupid. Why would I waste my time hanging out with people I don't know, who look nerdy and don't party. Joining an organization (or 2 or 3 or 4 whatever you prefer) was the best decision I had ever made in college. Not only will you meet new people but you are going to skills that can be used for the rest of your life.
3. Electronics. Crazy right? If you want to slide through college I would highly suggest investing in a laptop, iPad (or any tablet) if you want to get your notes. The colleges that I went to, some of my teachers were nice enough to post their power points online, however you don't always get lucky. A pen and paper is always nice to have, but note taking for me took way to long and you never caught everything in time. Every semester I bought 1 notebook and used it very rarely unless I needed it for a quiz or to draw pictures. Headphones are also something you want to make sure you have, walking around on campus from class to class can get boring if you don't have a walking buddy; or use them when you're studying! (classical music is always a good choice, it helps your brain function better and you can retain the information easier as well) Oh, and don't leave any of it unattended.
4. Student Working! If you don't have to work, then don't. However, if you want some extra cash laying around for the weekends, go for it! It's always good to have a job on the side that works with your school schedule, there is a lot of stuff that goes on around and on campus that you can never be to prepared for! Obviously, all schools are different so make sure you check with your school's "student life" office, check your website and watch for billboards in different halls to keep up with whats going on.
5. School Books! If you don't have to buy your books at school, ALWAYS buy them elsewhere. I usually waited until the first day of school to buy mine, unless you like to be prepared on Day 1. Which is usually a waste because all you do is go over your syllabus ask questions and then see you on day 2. Day 2, future reference, you might want to come prepared. However, some teachers get to excited and start class on Day 1, who knows anymore; but anyways buying books on campus are going to easily drain your bank account. If you can get your books for $300 or less you got lucky! I always buy my books on Amazon.com and have never had any problems!
6. Significant Others! Do NOT, I repeat do NOT get to clingy. Do NOT walk around campus with your PDA and please DO give your man (or woman) some time away from you. Remember, everything happens for a reason!! College is a time to go meet new people, study hard for a life that YOU want to live, putting to much time or effort into a relationship is going to ruin your own goals and that is never ok. If you can balance a relationship, your school work (and work if you have a job) and your girls (or guys) then by all means date! If you can't handle it at all, pick a priority (dating should never be #1).
7. Prioritize and Organize! As listed in tip number 6, make sure you make a list of prioritizes. This usually goes "1. School 2. Work 3. Friends 4. Boyfriend". You have clearly worked hard to get here, don't blow it! Organize your life, teachers will throw something at you when you least expect it, or you'll have the famous 10 page paper due in 2 days! Make sure you are always prepared for anything!
8. Sleep! Just kidding, you won't get much of that.
9. Parties? The famous college question, "Where are the best parties?" If you are a parent that answer would be something along the lines of at home in your bed with your textbooks open! I in no way shape or form condone underage drinking, however it's college, you're at least 18 years of age and you will always feel that no one can tell you what to do. So that information is for you to figure out. All I can tell you is that if you do decide to go out to any sort of college party be safe, and don't leave your drink unattended. I also wouldn't recommend walking around the streets drunk unless you want an underage consumption on your record. No party is worth a good career, so keep that in the back of your head at all times before you go out drinking. You worked to get accepted into that college, don't blow it on a game of beer pong and hot frat guys (it won't last).
10. Bullying! Just don't do it. You are going to realize how amazing it is that everyone knows someone, and that person that you made fun of in class may have some good connections for you in the future. Also, college is a fresh start, you need to understand that everyone has a story and if you think you are better than someone chances are, you are already 10 steps behind them for thinking that. Respect everyone you meet, and never take a good opportunity for granted.
11. This is IMPORTANT! Go out and have fun! Meet new people, keep your options open and Dream BIG! There will always be people you don't get along with, there will also always be people you meet that have an impact on your life, change the way you see or think about something. Regardless of your age, your major, your background and so on, always keep an open mind. Join some organizations, go to a sporting event, volunteer! Do it all!!
Always be positive about a situation and use your critical thinking, so when you cross that stage and graduate after 4 years of hard work, make sure you can look back and tell yourself "It was all worth it, everything I came across, every decision that I had made, was all 100% worth it".