Ah, the great unknown — college. Before heading into higher education, you'll probably have tons of questions. What's even more surprising is all the things you find out that you had never even thought about before. There's so many unexpected twists and turns, but in the end it's one of the best times of your life. There's a few things I wish somebody had told me before heading to college, so I'm giving you a heads-up before you take the dive.
- Your adviser is your new best friend. If you miss just one class or credit requirement, you won't be able to graduate. Get to know your adviser ASAP so that they can help you pick the quickest and easiest pathway to a degree.
- Wait to buy your textbooks until after the first class. Some professors will let you know that certain books are only supplementary, meaning not required. You can also split book costs and share with classmates, or get them used on sites like Amazon.
- Your roommates are your support group. College can be hard and stressful, so you want to form a positive relationship with your roommates from the very start. Make sure you all understand each other and become friendly with one another so that unnecessary drama doesn't flare up.
- Try to keep healthy habits. Obviously there's going to be late-night study sessions when copious amounts of pizza are necessary, but it's important to make time for healthy eating and exercising in your busy schedule.
- Skipping class may not seem like a big deal, but it can really affect your grades. Many college classes don't have lots of assignments; there's usually tests, essays, and a participation grade. Not only will you lose easy participation points, but missing lecture information will totally mess up test grades.
- Don't sign up for Friday classes. You'll never want to go and by the end of the week you'll feel less motivated to absorb information. Try to schedule your classes for Monday through Thursday and use Friday as a study day or workday if you can.
- Go to your professor's office hours. Not only does it show that you care, but it will make a world of a difference in your resulting class grade. It's a big deal to professors when you show up to office hours because most people do not.
- Get involved with campus activities and clubs. It's not dorky! It's how you create friends and a network that will become useful to you when you eventually start a career. You'll create some of your favorite memories on campus.
- Start budgeting your money right away. Figure out your weekly costs and stay strictly within your budget. When you're living on student loans or money from your parents, it's hard to keep track of a large sum of money unless you figure out how long it will last you.