Going to college is a big transition. After all, you’re leaving behind the confines of your high school (and the security of being the oldest class in school), and you might be heading far from home, without any familiar faces in sight. Going to college might be nerve wracking, exciting or anywhere in between—and it’s okay to be nervous or just plain enthusiastic about heading to a new school.
Here are some tips to help ease your transition into college:
Carve Out Your Own Niche at School
Join clubs and activities—whether it be the student newspaper, a drama club or an intramural soccer team—to meet other students outside of class who share similar interests to you. It’s awesome to continue activities you’ve done in high school and remain passionate about, or you can test out something completely new, like a sport you’ve never played or Greek life.
Be Comfortable Spending Time by Yourself
One thing no one tells you before you go to college is that college students spend a lot of time by themselves. After all, you likely will only have class a few hours each day, and your friends probably won’t have exactly the same schedules as you. It’s perfectly acceptable to eat a meal or take a study break in the quad by yourself—alone time isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Remember to Eat Right and Exercise
While living away from home means you can eat whatever you want, make sure to eat fruits and vegetables and work time in your schedule to exercise. Taking care of yourself physically is just as important as schoolwork and socializing, so make sure that you’re leaving time in your schedule for yourself.
Learn How to Clean up After Yourself
When you’re living with a roommate, it’s important to stay at least a bit organized. You don’t have to mop the floors twice a week, but you do have to clean up after yourself a bit. Make your bed and pick up your dirty clothes off the floor, at the very least—and remember to do laundry often enough that you don’t have to dig through your hamper for a semi-clean shirt.
Your Freshman Year Roommate Doesn’t Need to be Your Best Friend
It puts a lot of pressure on a stranger (as your freshman roommate likely is) if you expect to be super close. Yes, it’s nice to have a good relationship with the person you’re sharing a small bedroom with, but you and your roommate don’t need to be BFFs. Find some common ground with your roommate, whether it’s playing video games or rooting for the same sports team, but don’t be afraid to develop interests separately from each other.
Keep an Open Mind
College is a brand new experience, filled with all sorts of opportunities—many of them unexpected—that you may have never had before. Don’t close yourself off to any opportunities that might allow you to grow as a person. As long as you stay open-minded, everything else will follow.