quick tips for starting college

I wrote this last year, based on my freshman year experience but I do still think a lot of this rings true. So, after a friend requested I re-post them I was more than happy to oblige!

Here are a few things you should and shouldn't do if you're entering college this year (and congrats, too!)

  1. Overpack. By god, if you haven't used it in the past 3 months, don't bring it. Chances are you'll be too busy to even think about it, let alone actually use it. Also, if you plan on coming home to visit, you can always compile a list of things you think you'll really need and bring them back with you. You're going to be living in a tiny box with another person, and if you bring a whole truckload of personal items that you don't use, they're probably going to be pissed.
  2. Expect to make best friends with your partner in Intro to Education. The typical freshman will become friends with everyone and anyone possible. That's great if that's what you're into, but think of it... what are the odds of that person liking what you like and being into the same stuff? Slim to none. Don't be bummed if they're a hardcore athlete and you like to spend your weekends hanging around playing Mario Kart. You will find friends eventually (and sometimes in the weirdest ways), I promise.
  3. Do NOT slack off. Yes, that means YOU. Don't take optional lecture attendance for granted. Go to class, take notes, and ask questions if you need to. You're paying for your grade and if you don't work for it, you're probably going to end up failing. Been there, done that, and I can honestly say it's not worth it.
  4. Be [too] lazy. Chances are, if you go to a state university, your campus is going to be gorgeous. Only bad thing about that is not many people take the time to appreciate it. Leave some time in your schedule to take the long route to class, go out exploring with a few friends or your roommate, walk as far as you can go in one direction and find your way back. Lots of money is put into aesthetics on campus (that you pay for anyway). If you're not appreciating it, then who will?
  5. Get too stressed out. This is the rule I struggle the most to follow myself. Study hard, but not for long periods of time. Try not to do recreational things when you know you should be working on schoolwork (trust me, you won't enjoy yourself because you'll be thinking about the work waiting for you when you get home). That being said, do things you enjoy when you know you have time for it.
  1. Try out different clubs and societies on campus. I went to five different introductory club meetings the fall of my freshman year. After that, none of them seemed to be the "right" club, so I didn't go back. First meetings are great for 'trying on' a club. You go, mingle for a short time, usually there's food (great perks for a hungry college kid!) and sometimes there's a short speech from the president before you leave. No big deal, but it could turn out to be something you really enjoy.
  2. Make an effort. If a professor sees you working to get extra credit, they're more likely to bump your 89.5% at the end of the semester to a 90%, which could mean the difference in a 3.5 or a 4.0 GPA (it adds up!). Likewise, if the financial aide office sees you trying your hardest to fund your education, they're probably going to help you scout unclaimed money more than the next guy who only comes in to drop off forms. 
  3. Have some alone time. College can be stressful. If you're constantly around people (especially your roommate), go out for ice cream on your own or drive/bike around and listen to some good "jams."
  4. Be nice/show respect to other people. Just... this one should be self explanatory. What goes around comes around. 
  5. HAVE FUN! These next 4 years are your last chance to do things without real responsibility (because in all actuality getting fired from McDonald's is a lot less harsh than being laid off in the corporate world). Break all the rules or none at all, it's up to you.

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