It’s so important for freshmen to make good first impressions and avoid disastrous mistakes. Here are 10 tips to start your first semester right.
1. Manage your time. Accept that you can’t do everything and be everywhere during the first few weeks of school. Prioritize what’s important to you and what is likely to affect the rest of your freshman year. Strike a good balance between studying and socializing and keep revisiting the issue.
2. Ask good questions. You’ll meet new people every hour of every day for your first week. Try to learn more about the people you’re introduced to before you start talking about yourself. Demonstrate your interest in what they’re saying, doing and where they’re from.
3. Get organized. Create some structure in your life. Put your keys in the same place every night and find a convenient place for your papers, books and computer so you don’t have to search for what you need.
4. Explore on and off campus. Make sure you know how to get back to your dorm from anywhere on campus. Test your sense of direction and be certain you know how long it takes to get to different buildings so you are not late for classes, labs or meetings.
5. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Watch what you eat, especially that first week when free junk food abounds. Get enough sleep, and exercise at least four times a week, even if it’s just a walk around campus.
6. Check out quiet places to study. Find indoor and outdoor study spaces where you won’t be distracted. It’s a fun challenge.
7. Find friends with common interests. Identifying with a few students early on really helps ease the adjustment. You can get involved with a club, religious group, dorm buddies, high school friends or class.
8. Set up a budget. Students will earn the respect of parents and friends if they can live within a reasonable budget.
9. Bring a solid DVD collection. Some nights it will be nice to just hang in and get to know your roommates and other new friends.
10. Don’t pledge Greek life. Pledging in the first few days of school can be socially traumatic. You are much better off waiting until spring if your college offers that option. Go out, have fun, but trust your instincts and don’t go crazy.
Walk around, talk to strangers, get a feel for college life and don’t rush into commitments of any kind.