The moment every high school senior awaits has finally arrived. You walk up the stairs with moving boxes in tow, excited to make your dorm room your own and engage with new people and experiences. However, while this is certainly an exciting time, not everything will go according to plan. College will not always be the heavenly oasis that it’s made out to be. Sure, it will be amazing. But there will be late nights of studying for the midterm you definitely should have started studying for two weeks ago, moments when you just want to be curled up in your mother’s arms, and times when you would give anything to be having coffee with your high school friends. However, there are ways to make this transition smoother and the adjustment to campus life a bit easier.
Here are some tips:
Get Along With Your Roommates
Having a good or bad roommate can truly make or break your college experience. Whether you like or dislike your roommate, there are ways to make the experience easier for both of you. Set up rules on chores, having friends over, sleeping schedules, etc. Creating these guidelines in the beginning can help reduce tension and problems later on. Remember, even if you do have the perfect roommate, there will be ups and downs. Learn to work through the problems and move on. Talking through issues is key to maintaining any healthy relationship, so having a roommate is a good learning experience. You will be living with someone in close quarters, so it’s natural to butt heads from time to time as you both become adjusted.
Between keeping an active social life, finishing papers, and studying, it may be hard for you to squeeze in the time to work out. On top of that, all the stress of college can cause your eating habits and sleeping schedule to go askew. However, there are ways to keep off that "Freshman 15" and maintain a healthy lifestyle. One way is to establish a workout schedule that you’ll actually stick to. Get some friends who will help motivate you and workout with you. This way, you will be held accountable and will make staying fit a priority. Additionally, learn portion sizes and vary your meals. This will help you to eat the right amount and get in all the nutrients you need. Again, having someone keep you accountable can help you resist the urge to have junk for every meal. Keeping healthy snacks on hand can also help you eat right, as well as fight off cravings when your stress levels rise.
Get To Know Your Professors
Getting to know your professors can drastically improve your college experience and how you adjust to college life. The workload in college will undoubtedly be more arduous than it was in high school, and while it will be challenging, professors can help you through it. If you form that relationship from the start, it may be easier to go to your professor for help when you’re in an academic rut. They can also contribute guidance for the future as they get to know more about you. Career paths are not something everyone has figured out when they enter college, but the right professors can help tremendously with this. Also, these relationships come in handy when college is coming to an end and references and recommendation letters are needed.
Most students don’t only go to college to get an education but also to form new friendships, experience different cultures, and find their true identity. A lot of this takes place outside of the classroom, so it’s important to get involved. While you don’t want to over-burden yourself, reaching out and experiencing news ideas and activities is definitely something to try. Many colleges offer endless ways to get involved, so there’s something for everyone. Joining a club, playing on a school team or in an intramural league, participating in community services, and so many other opportunities are available if students seek them out. Not only does joining these activities help you to become more connected to your school, it’s a great way to meet friends, gain experience, and learn your own strengths and passions. Side note: it will also look great on your résumé.
The Balancing Act
Time is something that college students never seem to have enough of. While many students go in wanting to take part in a plethora of activities, there will not be time for all of them. You need to make a list of priorities and remember why you went to college in the first place: to earn a degree. This means that you must make the proper time to study and get your work done before engaging in other activities. While it is beneficial to be involved in a variety of endeavors, many students cram their schedules so full that there is barely enough time to sleep. However, having a proper sleep schedule is critical to maintaining a healthy and well-balanced college lifestyle.
Don’t Be Scared To Get Help
College can be stressful and scary, but one important fact that you should remember is that you are not alone. Many colleges have resource centers for students who are falling behind with their work. While it may be hard to ask for help, especially if this is something you never had to do in high school, there's no shame in seeking support. Many college resource centers are run by upperclassmen who have been through the same courses and who can be extremely helpful in guiding you towards success. Many colleges also provide health centers with doctors and counselors. If you start to feel unwell, physically or mentally, don’t hesitate to get help. That is why those centers are there, especially for students who are still adjusting to the rigors of college life.
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