As your high school career winds to a close, college freshmen in-the-making should brace themselves for the whirlwind of college application season, college campus tours, and move-in day. However, before you indulge in a dorm-essentials shopping spree, you’ll need to draft a game plan and emotionally prepare for the days of caffeine-fueled all-nighters and roommate contention.
Besides these sleepless nights, first-year students can also expect dilemmas such as roommate living woes (i.e., taking turns deep-cleaning appliances), run-of-the-mill academic stress, looming fears of flying the nest, and shouldering new responsibilities.
Of these dilemmas, dealing with academic fears and taking on new responsibilities can be very intimidating to the average high school graduate. After setting aside a sizable amount of money to put towards college tuition, kids want to get off to a good start and excel in their coursework.
Once thrown into the deep end, first-year students will soon realize they’re squirming under their university’s microscope as they complete weed-out classes and compete for internship opportunities. As for taking on new responsibilities, kids realize mom and dad won’t be there to decide their career path, their place of residence, what classes to take, or how to manage money.
If you’re feeling the pressure, relax, there are ways you can successfully navigate this new territory. That said, here are a few tips on managing life as a freshman handed down by seniors who’ve already been there and done that.
Don’t drain your mental battery during college application season
As a recent high school graduate and soon-to-be college freshman, you may feel tempted to put your pedal to the metal and power through college application season without taking time to recognize the visible signs of anxiety you’re experiencing. To mitigate these stressors, start by taking the element of uncertainty out of the process and assess your likelihood of gaining entry to your top-choice schools.
To eliminate the uncertainty involved in the college application process, it would be a good idea to assess your chances of gaining admission. For example, if your top choice university is Northeastern University, you’ll need to research the Northeastern acceptance rate before finalizing and submitting your application. For the schools you want to attend, a little bit of organization might keep the application stress at bay. To stay cool, calm, and collected, you can also limit the amount of time spent on applications each day, keep a calendar of deadlines, and maintain a running checklist.
Focus on academics
When you arrive at school during the hustle and bustle of move-in day, you’ll need to give yourself a friendly reminder of why you’re there. By setting your sights on your goals, you can avoid costly distractions.
Remember, you should be focusing on orientation, selecting your classes, exploring the campus, and mentally preparing for life as a college student. Remember, the key to success is attending all of your classes and staying organized.
Build a social life
While schooling is your primary focus, it shouldn’t be the only focus. You are living life and have a right to a social life. You can build a sturdy social network by participating in sports and clubs, offering to help other students with homework, and extending the hand of friendship.
Dealing with financial issues
For perhaps the first time in your life, you’ll have to plop down in the driver’s seat and take control of your finances. To simplify the process of claiming this newfound financial freedom, you should maintain your bank account, budget your money, learn to take advantage of discounts, and be willing to find a part-time job if necessary.
Maintain your health
It’s easy to lose sight of important things like your health when learning to manage a new lifestyle. Still, you push your physical fitness to the back burner. To avoid the pesky Freshman 15, you need to stay focused on developing a healthy diet plan and putting together a good exercise regimen compatible with your school schedule. You also need to do what’s necessary to reduce stress.
Being a successful college student is a balancing act and requires first-year students to juggle their physical, mental, and financial health. To avoid becoming another statistic by dropping out mid-semester, pace yourself, and establish your goals early on in your college career.