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Coming to College, Pt 1: What to Expect

by Sarah Wilkinson, Class of ’17

You’re moving out of your parent’s house and into your new life as a college student. It’s an exciting time, and I know we are excited to have you. Of course, it’s not as easy as just moving in and having unlimited fun all the time (though it would be nice if it was). There are some things you should know and do in order to have a successful first year.

  1. Go to class. After orientation weekend, it will be tempting to sleep in on Monday and possibly Tuesday so you can recover. Don’t be tempted. You’re at college to go to class, so make sure you go! Every class you miss is hundreds of dollars of your tuition down the drain. Plus, you don’t want to get behind, and you can’t make connections with your peers and professors if you don’t show up.
  2. Get involved. Join a club or two, get involved in SGA, become a student leader, get an on-campus job. This is a great way to connect with your peers and also with your school. The more you put into your experience, the more you will get out. Plus involvement looks great on your resume.
  3. Make friends in your major. Befriend people who you’ll be working with closely over the next four years, and if you can, befriend those in the program who are older than you. They can serve as mentors of sorts, or just offer advice and guidance when you’re lost.
  4. Stay in touch. Don’t forget to stay in touch with friends from back home and don’t forget to call your mother! She’s worried about you and it might seem like she’s hovering, but really, she just wants the best for you. So give her (and other family members) a call at least once a week.
  5. Have fun. Don’t get so caught up in your studies that you forget to have a social life. And on the same hand, don’t get so caught up in having a social life that you forget to study. You’re in college to get an education after all! Have new experiences and enjoy your time both in and out of class.
  6. Be careful. Use the buddy system when going anywhere after dark. Don’t do anything that will damage your health or your self-esteem. Take care of yourself always as your number one priority. There are a ton of resources on campus like Counseling and Health Services to make sure you’re taken care of. To combat college stress, take yoga classes at the fitness center or let off some steam on the treadmill.
  7. Learn time management. Learning how to prioritize all your homework and tasks may be hard at first, but it will pay off in the end. If you learn how to use your time well, you’ll have more of it to spend doing things you want to do. Career Collaborative can help in this department if you need some help.
  8. Learn how to budget. Odds are you’re like most college students and need to stick to a budget in order to pay for college, and even if you’re not, it’s a valuable skill to learn. Figure out how much you have to spend each week and don’t step outside your limits. Knowing how to do this will serve you well in the future.
  9. Don’t bring your whole house. You’re likely moving into a room shared with one or more other people, and that means space will be at a premium. Don’t bring every item in your closet (trust me, I learned that the hard way), and don’t pack every knick-knack you’ve collected in your life. Bring the essentials and if you need anything else, buy it after you move in or have it shipped to you.
  10. Take your roommate agreement seriously. Your RA will come around and have you and your roommate(s) create some ground rules that will help keep the peace as the year progresses. Really consider all the things that might get on your nerves and add them to the list of rules. Then, if someone breaks a rule, you can site the roommate agreement and conflicts can be resolved swiftly so you can get back to enjoying your first year at college!

If you follow these tips and use the resources available to you at Champlain College, you will have an awesome first year at Champlain. We can’t wait to meet you all!

Sources: Life Hack, US News