The first year on campus is usually a roller coaster ride; an experience that can be unnerving and exhilarating at the same time. All of a sudden you have crash-landed onto an alien territory where you find hundreds of unknown faces and unfamiliar surroundings.
As you step out of your comfort zone, you have to be ready to face myriad challenges, starting from adapting to difficult courses and competing with top students from different schools to getting used to a new life on campus that is filled with opportunities. So, how do you transition from high school to this new college life?
Here is a list of dos and don’ts that can help you navigate your first year smoothly:
- Do organize: Just like in high school, you must follow a schedule in college. You will continue to have assignments to finish and deadlines to meet. There will be regular exams for which you have to prepare in advance. So, find yourself a notebook if you like to keep everything on pen and paper, or use an app to maintain a routine.
- Do interact with professors: Teachers can appear intimidating but they are almost always ready to help. So, do not hesitate to meet them during office hours for discussing coursework or taking advice. When you communicate with them outside the class for academic advice, you can build a priceless relationship with them that will benefit you even in the future.
- Do interact with peers: College life gives you the amazing opportunity to meet and interact with new people. Try and join the clubs and student organizations that interest you and where you can contribute too. You may just end up finding friends for life during your first year on campus!
- Do keep yourself fit: In spending hours cramming books, don’t ignore your health. Stay physically active as much as you can by playing sports on campus or exercising when you get some time off. This helps to relax your mind and releases happy hormones that can reduce stress and boost your productivity.
- Do get used/second-hand textbooks: College courses are costly and you can save money if you opt for used textbooks. You will find these easily online or in bookshops near the college, or even in the college bookstore.
- Do use resources available on campus: Many types of student resources are found on college campuses. These can be libraries, health services, career counselors, study groups, and even tutors. Getting help from these sources can help you improve your academic and campus experience
- Do ask questions: If you have a query, don’t hesitate to get it clarified. Asking questions is important for growth and progress.
- Don’t procrastinate: If you have to submit an assignment, don’t waste time thinking about it. Keeping it until the last minute can cost you heavily. College life is hard and you are expected to learn the art of multitasking. Look at your calendar and schedule your tasks accordingly.
- Don’t rush things: College life is a time to gain experiences, good and bad. It’s not like running a sprint. It’s more like a marathon where you have to focus on long-term success for which it’s important to take small but steady strides along the way. You shouldn’t expect to be successful overnight; take it slow and be patient.
- Don’t limit yourself: While it’s wise to have a comfort zone, it’s also wise to step out of it once in a while. Spend time at the campus clubs or gym, attend parties, and have fun within limits. Don’t stop yourself from doing things that you may enjoy doing; else, campus life can become boring and monotonous.
- Don’t forget that others are also struggling: You must remember that everyone on campus has his own fears and challenges. Whether it’s personal issues, anxiety over exams, depression, or failure to cope with the coursework, each student is stressed in some way or the other. Don’t hesitate to ask for help or talk to your peers when you feel anxious or upset.
College life doesn’t have to be a struggle if you know how to take advantage of the opportunities it offers. Instead of losing sleep over what can go wrong here, look at what you can do on campus. Your first year in college is a time to make new friends and explore new opportunities. View it as an adventure in which you may have to negotiate a few road bumps and obstacles on the way.