Top 10 Tips to Make Freshman Year A Piece of Cake
By Steve Mehler
You’re unpacked; you’ve met your roommate; you have your schedule, and you’ve been through freshman orientation. You think you’re good to go. Well, you’ve made it through your first month. Now, let’s talk about the rest of your year. You’re in for a roller coaster ride – just embrace it. By May, the roller coaster will turn into one of those nice little boat rides. To help you along, here are 10 hacks, that may at least may the roller coaster less extreme.
- Go to Class
I know. This is a boring hack, and everybody else says it. The argument is that you will miss important stuff if you don’t go. Well, that is somewhat true, even though you can get a fellow student’s notes. In fact, there are instances of two students alternating days of attendance and making it through a large class. Here’s the more important things.
- No matter how boring a class may be, attendance might be taken. Some professors do have attendance policies, and you need to find that out up front. Attendance may be a part of a final semester grade.
- If the class is relatively small, your absences will be noticed. Professors are human, and some of them take your excessive absence personally. Being present, asking questions, and participating in discussions does impress. And sometimes that good feeling a prof has about you gives you the benefit of the doubt when essays and papers are graded.
- The Freshman 15 is a Fact
You will spend more time in passive activity in college. The requirements for reading, research, and writing assignments are stiff. Add to that the fact that mom is no longer cooking relatively well-rounded meals for you. The soda and snack machines are convenient all night long, and there are doughnuts and other “fat” foods at every breakfast in the cafeteria.
Okay. Go to the grocery store and get some healthy, low-fat stuff for snacks. Get a microwave. Make popcorn. Get nuts, raisins, granola bars. And start getting exercise, even in small ways. Walk, ride a bike, take the stairs, hit the campus gym.
- Dorm Life
There will be people awake 24 hours a day in your dorm. There will always be others playing video games, hanging out and chilling in each other’s rooms, Things can get noisy when you are trying to sleep or study. Here are some other adjustments:
- Clothes don’t wash themselves, and dorm machines are not like home. Wash in cold and dry on low until you have a better idea of how they do.
- Buy a good set of ear plugs for studying and sleeping.
- If you and your roommate pull all-nighters on different nights, consider a sleep mask. And each of you get small lamps to use, rather than the overhead lights.
- You are living in a small space. This means clutter is intensely magnified. Get storage organizers and a good-sized trashcan. Agree with your roommate on a time each week to clean – you’ll both feel better and you won’t be irritated with each other.
- Get Some Alone Time
Find a quiet place somewhere – a place you can go to get away from the noise and from your roommate occasionally. Of course, the library is a possibility, but there may be a coffee shop or quiet student lounge somewhere else on campus. This is not necessarily just for quiet study – sometimes you just need to be alone.
- Join Clubs and Feel Free to Quit
Join as many clubs as you think you might be interested in and participate in activities. And quit those clubs if they turn out not to be enjoyable. You should experiment but do not feel any obligation to stick with something you don’t like – it’s not worth your time. By the end of your first semester, you should be settled into those few clubs/activities you like.
- Procrastination – It’s Kind of a College Thing
You get all sorts of advice about how to stay organized, and most of it is pretty good – get a calendar, set up timelines for long-range assignments, organize your class notes every night, ad nauseam. Some of this advice you will follow, and you may find tools and apps to help. But the inevitable will happen. You will have procrastinated and find yourself in trouble. Usually, it’s a major paper. It’s a good idea to plan in advance for this – you will need to use an essay writing service, and you will want a reputable one. So, at the beginning of the semester, research and read reviews of essay writing services, so you have one “in your pocket” in case such an emergency happens. The Boy Scout Motto does apply here.
- Get to Know Your Professors
Professors have office hours. Use them. If you are having an issue with an assignment; if you want approval for a paper topic; if you just want to earn a few “brownie points” and show your interest in the course, make an appointment with each of your professors at least once. You want them to know you, to recognize your face and to associate the face with the name, especially if the class is a large one. Getting good advice and leaving an impression that the course is important to you is a good thing.
- Hook into Resources
There are lots of resources on campus – there may be a fitness center; there are academic labs and tutoring centers; the health clinic, counselors, the career services office, etc. Even if you do not ever use one of these, you need to know what exists if you should have the need.
- Don’t Cling to Your High School Friends
You can stay in touch in so many ways – email, texts, phone calls, and Skype, etc. it’s good to stay in touch, but do not keep this from reaching out to the great diversity that is now in your new environment. You have the chance to open up your “world view,” and this is great preparation for the world of work you will one day enter.
- Eat Your Fruits and Veggies
Mom is right. Your health is connected to your diet. Make it a point to eat a couple of servings of fruits and veggies every day. You know there are some that you like. Eat a salad for lunch; microwave a frozen package of steamed vegetables that you like. If you are on a meal plan, put a couple of pieces of fruit in your book bag – you have already paid for them.
You really can turn that roller coaster into a boat ride. It may take some time, but use these 10 hacks and it will happen faster.
Steven Mehler is an experienced writer, blogger, SEO specialist and social psychologist that works as an editor at a local newspaper and a freelance writer. Steven also runs his own content agency and is writing a book. He has a long-term experience in writing articles based on blogging, marketing, SEO and social psychology.