1. Get organized. Get a planner and write down important dates (exams, presentations, etc.) ahead of time! Even if you’ve never written down a single assignment in high school, you’ll learn that things can get pretty hectic in college. Between classes, clubs and student orgs, jobs and internships, it can be easy for things to slip through the cracks. Plus, the bookstore has free planners for students—so there’s no excuse not to try it out! Read through the syllabus for each of your classes on the first day, and ask questions if you have them! And even if class attendance isn’t recorded, you should still go. Every class has something important to teach you, and you never know what you’re going to miss if you skip. Also, be sure to buy the required textbooks the first week, but shop around first! The bookstore isn’t always the cheapest option.
2. Make an effort to get to know your professors. Introduce yourself at the beginning of the class period, go to office hours, and participate in class! It’s easy to become just another face in the crowd in large lectures, but building rapport with your professors can be the difference between a B+ and an A- in a class.
3. Get enough sleep. There’s nothing wrong with staying up a little later to hang out with new buds the first week, but try and get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep as often as possible. You don’t want to be groggy on your first days in a new class, or worse—accidentally sleep late and miss class! After all, the weekend is coming up fast, and there will be plenty of time then for binge-watching Netflix with your roomie without 8am calculus looming over your head.
4. Take some time for you! Relax on the quad, find a quiet space on campus to get some alone time (check out the Nap Nook!), hang out with hall mates or a new friend from class, head downtown with your roommate, explore the side of campus opposite your dorm… the opportunities are endless! Don’t get so caught up in worrying about classes that you forget to take time to unwind.
5. Step out of your comfort zone. Sit with someone you’ve never met in E-Hall, make plans to play frisbee on Festival Lawn with a hallmate you haven’t gotten to know yet, or sign up for that General Education class that wasn’t your first choice. Great things can happen when you try something new!
Bonus: Know that it’s normal to feel homesick—you will probably feel a little overwhelmed at times, and miss your family. That’s okay! Even if they don’t show it, your fellow first years are probably feeling the same way. So call your mom, FaceTime your little sister, or text your high school BFF. Just be sure to stay busy and make memories with new friends!