5 Tips to Starting Your College Year Off Right

Heading off to college, whether you are a freshmen or a senior can be a stressful time. Packing up your belongings, saying goodbye to family and friends and then unpacking everything are emotional tasks. Knowing this, it is important that you do everything in your power to make certain that when classes start you are prepared no matter what challenge may come your way. Below are five tips to help you be prepared for college.

Be Proactive With Your Health

Before heading off to college, make certain you see your doctor, dentist, eye doctor, etc. for a routine exam. You will want to catch any cavity or other issues before you leave for college. Otherwise, you might have to make an unscheduled trip home (which always cost the most) or have to see a doctor that is unfamiliar with your and vice versa while out at college. Making certain you are in top condition before leaving is a smart thing to do.

Of course, things do happen and you might find yourself needing to head to the doctor or dentist while at college. It is important that you have the name and contact information of your primary doctors. This will simplify the process when the new doctor asks a question about your medical history and you have no clue as to what the answer is. With the contact information of your doctor, your new doctor can easily call them up and get the information they need.

Save on Used Books

Many professors will make the class syllabus available before the semester begins. In these cases, it is best to go ahead and buy the book now. I highly recommend buying the books used. You can save a ton of money buying books this way. For any class you are taking that is not your major, consider renting the book as well. This will save you even more money.

The catch to this is to make sure the seller accepts returns. I’ve had instances where the professor decided to change editions at the last minute. If I didn’t buy a book that allowed for returns, I would have been out that money.

Once I received the books, I would page through them. I didn’t start studying, I just flipped through the book to get a better idea of the course materials. In some cases, I would read the first chapter and take notes. I would do this because in my experience, most professors want to get through the introductions as quickly as possible so they have plenty of time for the material. This means the homework during first week of classes is to read multiple chapters for each class. The more I can get done ahead of time, the less stressed I will be.

Know Where the Professors Office Is

Unlike in high school where your teachers help you out along the way, college professors like to let you figure things out. This doesn’t mean they will not help you, it simply means they will not hold your hand. If you need help, you must seek out help.
I like to visit each professor’s office the first week of class. I do this simply for the fact that I will know where their office is located. Where I went to college, some professors offices were in odd places. I didn’t want to be hunting down where the office was later in the semester when I had 500 things on my plate. The more stress I could take out of the equation now, the better.

Learn Basic Cooking

ramenWhen I was in college, I was no Chef Ramsey. I’m still not. But I did learn how to make some basic, low cost meals that helped me to survive college financially. My number one staple was spaghetti. I would find the jar of sauce on sale and stock up along with the spaghetti. Instead of buying meat to add to spice up the dish, I simply bought the “meat sauce” version that was on sale. Of course, peanut butter and jelly was another staple of mine.

As a freshman, things were a little tougher, since we didn’t have an oven in the dorm. I did have a microwave however. Soup and Ramen noodles were my go to food. Of course peanut butter and jelly had a home as well. By learning some basic cooking skills you can eat well for not a lot of money.

Befriend Classmates

You are going to miss a class here and there. It’s important though that you know what you missed and anything important regarding upcoming due dates the professor discussed. While you can visit the professor’s office for some of this information, they are not going to supply you with the notes for class, etc. In this case, it is important to befriend one or two people in each class.

Having a friend in class will help you in the days you missed and vice versa. They also might be a good start at founding a study group as well. The idea isn’t to become best friends with this person (though if you do, that’s another bonus), the idea is to just have someone to rely on. You will want to pick more than one person just in case that person ends up dropping the class or is unreliable.

Final Thoughts

The more proactive I was in college, the better my grades were and the less stress I experienced. There is a lot of things going on while in college. The more things you can take control of and get off of your to-do list the better. Many times, though the things I presented don’t show up on your to-do list. Tackling them ahead of time will free up your time. Instead of trying to figure out dinner for two hours you can have dinner planned allowing you to prepare it and eat within 45 minutes, allowing you more time to study. Try to find other ways to do this as well so that you can concentrate on getting the most out of college.

3 Responses to 5 Tips to Starting Your College Year Off Right

  1. Buying used books is fine for as long as the books are not obsolete!

  2. Finding a friend is really important especially if you’re someone that easily forgets (about) class reminders and deadlines!

  3. Step out of your comfort zone! Thats a big one. In high school I was totally different then in college. I never participated in anything in high school, I sort of put it on cruise control, did my time and got out. But, in college I wanted a different experience. I joined a fraternity, many clubs on campus, started events and promoted others. I was an all around campus social enthusiast and this made the entire college experience great.

Leave a Reply