Now that my first semester of college is over, here is a (very brief) list of things I learned. I hope this helps those who are quickly approaching their first semester and humors those who know these learned lessons all too well.
1. Breaks between classes don’t work for everyone.
I was told as a high school senior that it was a good idea to schedule breaks between classes to work on assignments/homework, and I took this advice to heart. I scheduled random hour long breaks between classes, and I usually did nothing productive during these times. It may work for some people but not me. You live and you learn.
2. Never schedule a 7 am class (even if you are a morning person).
Yes, these do exist. While I loved this class perhaps the most out of all my classes, it was not a great idea. There is this thing called daylight savings and it makes the early walk to class super dark and super creepy. Especially as a rather non-intimidating girl, that walk was often a speed walk with multiple glances behind me.
3. Keep your umbrella in your backpack at all times.
You never know when you’ll forget to check the weather app on a sunny morning/rainy afternoon day. Even if you did remember your rain boots and coat, your friend from class who just happens to have a cold may not, and you can let them borrow it (“we’re all in this together!”)
And on that same note…
4. Go ahead and buy good rain gear.
Listen now and listen closely— do. not. buy. a. cheap. umbrella. I made this mistake because I wanted to save a couple of dollars, and it broke the first mildly windy day I used it. While you’re at it, get a pair of good rain boots and a coat.
5. Visit your professor outside of class at least once.
I called one of my professors my “bestie” because we bonded over a mutual admiration of Keurig coffee makers one day when I stopped by her office to ask a question about a homework assignment. After that, I felt more comfortable asking questions in class because I felt like my professor knew I really wanted to learn.
6. Treat yourself.
Everyone I know who started their first semester (no matter what school) had some sort of treat they get during their school week. For me, that was Tuesday/Thursday “bagel day” with my roommate. If I was feeling generous, I would go for Starbucks (bless you, PSL) before heading to my on-campus job. It’s the little things that perk up your day.
7. Keep a steady sleeping schedule.
This will depend on your own schedule for school and work, but you need to make sure you’re getting plenty of rest. I can’t say “GO TO BED AT 10 SHARP EVERY NIGHT” because that isn’t realistic. Just make sure you do what works for you.
8. Call home when you’re stressed, but only from your dorm room or car.
You’re most likely going to get stressed in college (and if you don’t, share your secret with me please), but calling home is one of the best things I found to help me relieve some of it. My only warning is to just do this in private, not on the bench in front of the library for the whole world to see. Not that I speak from experience or anything… ha.
9. Text your best friend a few times a week.
Even if it’s just to say hey or to catch up on their life, send a text every now and then to let them know you still love them. You’re going to make all kinds of new friends in college, but don’t forget about the ones from home.
10. Don’t choose your school because you “want to get away from home.”
I do not speak from experience on this one. In fact, I chose my school in part because of its proximity to home. Too many people move several hours from home and find themselves coming back every weekend. Keep this in mind, especially those of you with cars that are hard on gas because you don’t want to spend a fortune coming home all the time. Or maybe you just need to come home and play with your puppy most weekends like me.