As a recent college grad, I’ve experienced enough over the last four years to pass on my wisdom to incoming freshman. Here are some of the most important things you should know before packing up the car and starting your new journey. Written by Juliet Rocco
Congrats! You got into college and now you’re moving out of your room at home and transitioning into a world of independence. Before you finish all of your dorm room shopping at Target, get in touch with your roommate and find out who’s getting the mini fridge, bringing the TV, paying for the cable etc. Taking care of these minor details ahead of time will pay off.
Get involved: Go to as many club meetings, parties and social gatherings as you can that first semester because that’s when everyone else is trying to find their group of friends too. There is pretty much always going to be free food (pizza) at the first club meeting of the year so plan accordingly!
Also, the “lunch table cliques” that existed in high school really don’t happen anymore. With over 70 people living on your floor, you’re not going to have a problem finding at least one person to grab food with. Someone is always willing to order a pizza no matter what time it is.
Living with other people: I’m not sure if this applies to all schools, but generally, you and your roommate(s) will have a contract that everyone has to abide by. You decide when it’s time for the lights to go out, what happens when your roommate wants to have someone stay the night, how to approach a disagreement, etc. If all else fails, you can go to your RA for help. That’s why they get paid the big bucks.
If you’re nervous that you and your roommate are not a match made in heaven or the honeymoon period doesn’t last more than a few weeks, you can always talk to your RA and request to move in with someone else.
Classes are going to be more challenging: Unless you took classes for college credit back in high school, expect these classes to be more rigorous. On average, I had assigned readings of over 100 pages a week in some of my classes, with an additional reflection paper due, and quizzes/exams each week. Some professors even recommended to spend an extra 5 hours outside of class re-reading the material and working through problems (and they mean it).
In high school, I rarely studied for exams. In college, I had to teach myself how to study because 10-page study guides became the norm. There was one class where the professor told us to read the assigned chapters 3 TIMES in order to fully understand the material before the exam. I suffered the consequences the first exam by ignoring his advice.
Getting homesick is normal: Being at school until Thanksgiving break was the longest I had ever been away from home. It was difficult for my friends and I because we were all going to different schools, making new friends and adjusting to our new lives.
You’re going to realize that you and your friends are on different paths, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep in touch through Skype dates and hang out like old times during your breaks.
Takeaway: Your new journey into college is going to be an eye-opening experience. If you learn how to take advantage of the opportunities early on, get close with a good group of friends, and socialize, you’ll be fine. College isn’t about fitting in, it’s really about meeting people who share common interests and values as you do.