Actual good first-time college student advice:
- Wear jeans/pants that “breathe” and bring a sweater, even if it’s scorching hot out, until you know which building blasts the AC to 60 degrees F and which feels like a sauna
- Backpacks with thick straps are your friend! Messenger bags are cool and all but if you’re commuting with a lot of stuff, symmetrically styled backpacks are better for your back
- You are your own person and you can walk out whenever you need to or want to, so long as you’re not disrupting the class. Meaning you can go to the bathroom without permission, take a breather if you’re anxious, answer an important phone call, etc.
- If you don’t like the class on the first day, if you can- DROP THAT CLASS AND TAKE ANOTHER ONE! It’ll only get worse from there!
- If you can, take a class outside your major; it’s a good break from your expected studies.
- You are in charge of your schedule. Your adviser and guidance counselor is there to ‘advise and guide’ but if you don’t like certain classes and you can substitute for others, that’s your choice.
- Consequently, if you are changing anything drastic in your plan, talk with your adviser and instructors.
- Pay attention to your credit hours and grades. Never leave this to the last week of school, you will be sorry and stressed beyond belief!
- Unless it’s a lab book or otherwise specified, go to the class for a week or so before buying an expensive textbook. Some classes, while having it on their required list, do not actually use the textbook a whole lot and you might find some of it scanned online. Rent if you can or buy used online (schools actually don’t give discounts). Use your best judgement on what you think you need.
- Tell the people who go up to you selling or advertising things you are not interested in that you are in a rush to class and don’t have time to listen to them. It’s less rude and they’ll leave you alone.
- The smaller the class, the better it is to have some sort of acquaintanceship with a couple classmates. They might save your ass if you are absent one day or need to study. And talking with them makes the time go by faster without it being so insufferable.
- You don’t need to join a club or sport, but internships are cool and useful!
- If you can afford it, take a day off once or twice each semester if you’re too exhausted. Just be aware of what you missed and if it was worth missing!
- Your health is the most important, this goes for mental health too!! Note: College-age/upper teens is when mental disorders like depression and anxiety are most commonly diagnosed. Most schools have therapy services, especially during exam time. Look into it if you need to!
- Communicate with your professor if you are having trouble with something. Anything.
- Eat and stay hydrated. Bring a water bottle and snack to class.
- All-nighters will happen but never go over 36 hours without sleep.
- It’s going to be hard and there will be times you might think about giving up. This WILL happen. You just have to make sure what you’re doing isn’t making you absolutely miserable and/or there is something rewarding and positive to look forward to at the end!
I did none of this and it bit me in the ass every time so this is EXCELLENT ADVICE.
Don’t let a mental health day turn into a mental health week because you will be so screwed.
Pay attention to the syllabus and do not lose it. A lot of professors put all of the assignment due dates in there and ONLY in there.
If your school has blackboard or moodle etc. CHECK IT. a lot of professors will only post certain info there and not talk about it in class
THANK YOU. I’m so glad i have resources like this queued up in my ‘college’ tag bc honestly i was so stressed before
Advice from someone who really fucked up their freshman year:
READINGS ARE NOT OPTIONAL.
I REPEAT. READINGS. ARE. NOT. OPTIONAL.
Put them in your schedule, read BEFORE class. And summarise it. For bonus points, come up with some questions about the text and go introduce yourself to your professor either after class or during office hours, and ask them about it. This will make them much more likely to remember you in a positive light (and possibly bump your grade up if you hit a hard patch.)
Your library will have a copy of your textbook. If you cannot afford to rent it, you can go to the library and borrow it from the front desk for a few hours whenever you need it. It is there for you, okay?
SO DO YOUR READINGS.
Update: i’m in college and yes i would like to stress- DO YOUR READINGS- BACKPACK WITH THICK STRAPS
Also:- Make a list of all the assignments/exams you have in the semester ordered by dates due.- Be more open and say hi to people. Give a smile.- Spend time with yourself, have a cup of coffee and watch people walk by