May is slowly approaching where you will be walking across the stage for your graduation, hearing your name and the school you are attending. I was just in your shoes last year, and I have learned a lot from my first year of college as I will be ending my second semester in less than two months. Here are a couple things that I believe that you should know about before you come onto to campus.
1. Everything that you did in high school, you won't be able to do in college.
A prime example is having 8 a.m. classes. In high school, we all can get up early to arrive on time to that class, but once you in college, your sleep pattern will be so off that if you have an 8 a.m. class, you will either be half sleep, sleep through the class or not show up at all.
This will probably be the best thing, if not one of the best, things you will like about college. You do have to set an alarm, because saying that it's only going to be a quick ten-minute nap can turn into a three-hour nap.
3. Know or have an idea on what you want to study.
It's perfectly normal for students to come in undecided, and they can take some gen-eds to figure out what they want to study. But, also keep in mind that the number of classes that you might have to take as a possible major. Your academic adviser will be a big help of helping you figure out what you want to major in, but keep in mind of how much time you have left.
4. It's OK to change your mind.
This can lead to a change of majors, classes, roommate or even schools. Sometimes it takes time to see if this is the right fit for you. If you change your major, it's better to do it early in your college career than while you are in your junior or senior year, because it may be too late to try to switch and also complete the necessary classes for you to graduate on time. For changing classes, your adviser or professors will let you know the drop days so that you can drop a class without a W on your transcripts, meaning that if you get a W, you will eventually have to take that class again. For a change of roommate, depending on the school they may let you switch out or have you move into a single dorm. Lastly, for a change of school, it's perfectly normal if you feel like once you get on campus that the school isn't for you. Just before you make that last decision, talk to your adviser and parents about how you feel and they can try to help you out.
5. Know what you can and can't bring to campus.
Every campus is different when it comes to bringing items, whether the items are food, electronics, household items, lounging furniture, etc. Colleges/universities should have a packing list that you can look at if you ever get stuck on if you can bring an item to school or not.
6. Joining Greek life is up to you.
When you get to campus, you will be informed about the percentage of the student body that is involved with Greek life. Your friends might even convince you to join just because they are joining, but in the end, you make the final decision. Greek life is not only a time commitment but it's also a financial commitment. Do some research and go to some of their informational meetings to see if a sorority or fraternity is right for you. If none of them are a good fit then you don't have to join any. Don't let anyone force you to join something that you have no interest in.
7. Time management is a must.
College is the time where you could have a tight or loose schedule — with working a part-time job and joining clubs or organizations — where you have to learn to balance your commitment and school work. There are many ways to balance this from simply writing in your planner when assignments are due to keeping sticky notes on your desk to simply just have some type of agenda. Don't always believe that you will remember everything off the top of your head, because you may just forget one small thing that could be due the next day or something that you have to email in the next few hours.
8. The beauty of office hours.
On the first day of each class, your professors will most likely tell you that they have office hours scheduled on certain days; remember to keep up with them. If you are ever struggling with a class, need help studying for a test, are preparing for midterms/finals or just need to ask a simple question on a homework assignment, the best person to ask is your professor. There are some professors who do care about your grade and want to help you, but you, as the student, need to make that first step and make contact with them.
9. Use your resources.
Colleges/universities do have tutoring sessions, a writing center, a career center and more to help you with your future or assignments. Take advantage of this. If you can't understand the class that you are in and you can't meet your professor for office hours, I recommend that you go to tutoring sessions. They have tutors who are happy to help you understand whatever problem you have. The writing center is very helpful for when you are writing a paper or you got back a draft and you need help revising it. A career center is where you talk to your career adviser to talk about possible jobs/internships.
For the incoming class of 2021, I hope you finish off your senior year of high school strong. I hope this will be a nice tool for you to go to if you ever need advice on college.
Lead Image Credit: Faustin Tuyambaze via Unsplash