Starting college may feel like going back to school feels every year. It’s in August or September, the month you’ve started classes for most of your life. You’re heading into four months of classes during weekdays – much like every other semester of school you’ve experienced. You’ve spent the last few weeks collecting odds and ends of school supplies and other college essentials, which feels a lot like the annual school supply round-up you’ve done for many years.
1. Get closure when saying goodbyes.
Whether you’re moving away for school or you’re staying home while your friends go off to distant colleges, take care with goodbyes. Don’t spend the first few weeks of school distracted by what you should have said. Take stock of each relationship in advance of your final meeting and approach the situation with humility and confidence that your relationship will not suffer from a poor or incomplete farewell.
2. Use a planner.
Class schedule. Work schedule. Homework. Campus events. Activities with friends. Your commitments in college will build up very quickly, and time management can be nearly impossible without writing things down. You know yourself well enough to choose between an app and a paper planner. This small initiative will help you feel like your life is more together.
3. Find campus resources.
Where will you go when you need to change your class schedule? Where will you find health services or the college counseling center? Where can you go to improve papers or find research assistance? Where do you make tuition payments? Answer these questions before you need to use these services. When you’re prepared for where to go, you’ll have one less thing to worry about during stressful situations.
4. Explore student life opportunities.
College campuses feature student organizations for virtually every interest. In addition to clubs and societies, your campus probably offers weekly events such as concerts, film screenings or carnivals. You should also take advantage of opportunities to learn about the city or town early on. Engaging with your campus community will give you a stronger feeling of involvement and importance to the college overall.
5. Be open to new friendships.
Where you live, in your classes, at campus events, around public areas – there are people to meet everywhere. Instead of hiding in the shadows all the time, put yourself out there enough to meet at least one or two people every day. You’ll be grateful in a few months to have friendly faces nearby during exam season, course registration and other stressful events in life.
6. Contact the financial aid office.
Make yourself known to the folks in financial aid. Visit the office every few weeks to see if they have any unclaimed scholarships you can apply for. The better they know you and the more often you visit, the more likely that you will be able to find more grants and scholarships through your school. You’ll be able to rest your mind, and you’ll be actively working to help your future self with student loans and debt.
Chances are, your college life won’t be perfect right away. But you can be proactive in preparing yourself for challenges that may arise in order to ease your transition and get comfortable quickly.