Tips for the first semester of college

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If you’re reading this, chances are you have yet to head off to college. Whether it be in 2 weeks or 2 years, it’s good to know that going to college is awesome, but tough. It’s tough to leave behind your home, family, friends and everything that is familiar to you. While adjusting is easier for some people than others, social media has definitely played a role in the adjustment to college life. Many people feel like they should be having the time of their life from the minute they get on campus, and often try to portray that on social media, even if that’s not exactly the truth.

The truth is that EVERYONE has a hard time at first, no matter how much fun it looks like their having, or how many friends it seems like they have made. I had such a hard time adjusting, and I’m the first to admit it. I thought I hated school at first, but then I realized that I was making friends and having a good time. Suddenly, I didn’t hate it anymore, and I regret every second I was miserable because that’s time I could’ve been enjoying myself at my favorite place in the world.

Getting used to college life is difficult at first, so here are some tips to make it easier!

Be open to any and all friends

College is an excellent opportunity to make some new and awesome friends. There are so many new people to meet, so go out and meet them! Everyone is in the same boat when they get to school, and usually everyone is open to making friends with whoever they meet. Even if you don’t become best friends with the first people you meet, it’s great to have people to say hi too around a campus.

Walk around/off-campus

Walking around is a great way to get to know the place you’re living and studying at for the next 4 years. Explore all the buildings and facilities, so you’ll have some knowledge when a class is in an obscure building or that they actually have racquets for the raquetball courts. Checking out your local surroundings is helpful too. The coffee shop downtown could be a great place to study during finals when the library is packed.

Take every opportunity

If someone invites you to eat lunch with them in the dining hall, do it. If someone asks you to play on an intramural team even though you aren’t athletic, show up. If someone invites you to go to a speaker on campus, go. Something as simple as a walk around campus can help you learn something new.

Keep yourself busy

The first couple of months are the hardest, and sitting around in your room is not going to make you feel any better. Someone told me to keep myself busy in the beginning and I totally wrote it off. To this day, this is my main piece of advice. If you are busy, you totally forget about being sad or missing home! Hang with friends, make plans, study at the library, grab a coffee, go to the dining hall, hit the gym. These are all things you can do to keep yourself busy that will take your mind off of things.

Surround yourself with other people

A bit different than being open to new friends, although still encouraging social interaction. You can’t be sad when you are talking to new people and learning new things about them, as well as sharing information about yourself! This could be your next door neighbor, your RA, a professor at office hours, or even people in the lounge in your dorm.

Be yourself

There’s no need to change who you are to please other people. You’ll meet the people who like you for who you are. It might take a bit of time, but those people are out there. If you are always unapologetically yourself, you’ll find your people.

Have a great time, don’t forget about school work

Going out with your friends on a Thursday night is perfectly fine. Just make sure you don’t have a test on Friday morning or homework you haven’t done for an 8am class. Believe it or not SOME (not all) jobs do ask for your GPA after college and grad schools want to see your transcripts. I’m all for going out, partying and having a fun time, although getting recognized for your academic achievements also feels great!

While a lot of these tips have common themes, such as being social and keeping yourself busy, they all will make a huge difference. You can make it through the hardest part of college with ease, as long as you put yourself out there even a little bit. Good luck and go kill it!

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