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How to Survive Your First Week at College

Updated on August 13, 2022

So now you're on your own. Mom and dad left you to fend for yourself, and the only thing you know is where the closest McDonald's is located. How are you ever going to survive?

Don't worry! Below are a few things all college freshman should know in order to survive their first week living on their own:

  • Make sure that you attend ALL orientations. During the week before classes start, your school will usually hold orientation meetings around campus to help acquaint students to campus life. These meetings and events are carefully developed to inform you about everything your school has to offer. If you attend all of your school's orientations then there is a good chance you will learn everything in this guide (provided your school's orientations aren't horrible).
  • Know where your campus resources are located. This includes the security office, the bookstore, the health clinic, the psychology clinic, the library, the gym, the cafeteria or student union hall, your dorm hall, the room of your Resident Advisor (RA), and any other features your school offers. You will most likely need one or all of these services some day, so make sure you know exactly what your school offers and where to find it.
  • Plan your schedule accordingly. When I say "plan accordingly," I mean don't schedule classes so early in the morning that you won't wake up for them, or schedule all your classes back-to-back so you don't have any breaks during the day. You know how early you like to wake up, so make sure your class times reflect that. Also, everyone needs a break during the day, and the few minutes most schools give between classes might not be enough, so give yourself extra breaks if you can.
  • Get your schedule as early as possible. At some schools all freshman students are required to get their schedule at the same time, but try to see if you can get yours early anyway. By doing this you will know what changes you want to make before everyone else, meaning you might be first in line with the academic advisors. Knowing your schedule early also means you can be the first in line to buy your textbooks.
  • Get your books as early as possible. Once you have your schedule and you are content with it, you can head on over to the campus bookstore to get your books. Do this as early as possible so you can buy the used books, as many times bookstores will run out of these first, leaving you with the newer, more expensive books. If you choose to purchase your textbooks from an online store or somewhere else, it's still a good idea to go over to your campus bookstore with your schedule so you can find out exactly what books you will be needing.
  • Meet new people, especially other freshman. By meeting new people, you might learn things that the faculty failed to cover. You will also have good study partners for when your classes start to get challenging. Also, if you happen to meet some locals, be sure to ask them about all the off-campus hotspots.
  • DON'T PROCRASTINATE! This one is huge with college freshman. If you want to succeed in college, you have to make sure you don't wait until the last minute to do your work. Many times unforeseen circumstances occur, which could prevent you from finishing that chemistry project or economics paper. If you complete your work before the due date, you can take a lot of stress off your shoulders as well.

There are many ways you can prepare for a life on your own, however the tips listed here will help you through those first few difficult months. Your best resource is your school, so if you have any questions regarding anything, make sure you ask somebody!


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