4 Tips for First-Year College Students

Going to college is a huge milestone in any young person’s life. It’s the stage of breaking away from life’s usual routines and venturing into the wider world, with the chance to flourish academically, personally, and socially.

Moving away from familiar surroundings isn’t easy in the first few weeks and it’s natural to feel completely overwhelmed by the new experience. However, it’s also a once-in-a-lifetime event that will leave you with precious memories to treasure forever.

If you’re about to head off to university in the coming months, here are some useful tips to help you survive the first year.

Make your dorm room homely

You’ve arrived at university and have been handed the keys to your dorm room. It’s bound to feel strange and unfamiliar in the first few days, but you need to turn it into a safe space where you can unwind after a hectic day.

Every dorm room is a blank canvas initially, so be sure to add a personal touch to help you settle in. Everyone will have the occasional moment of homesickness, so why not create a photo wall, displaying snaps of special moments with family and friends?

You can also make the room feel more welcoming and cozier with soft furnishings such as a dorm room bean bag chair. It’ll be great for study sessions or simply lounging around after a busy day of lectures.

Learn how to budget

While at university, you’ll be expected to live independently, and this includes being responsible for your finances. Failing to set a budget from the get-go may leave you short of cash by the end of the semester, so keep track of your outflow to prevent overspending. While it’s always good to buy items that give you a burst of happiness, always set cash aside for everyday necessities, as well as any emergencies that may crop up.

Push yourself out of your comfort zone

Your university experience is simply what you make of it, so don’t be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone from time to time. You never know what opportunities may arise or who you may meet along the way. Pluck up the courage to join a club or society, become a member of the Student’s Union, or ask other students to discuss lectures or assignments to give you greater understanding of the topic and generate new ideas.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

In the very early stages of university life, it’s natural to feel like a little fish in a big pond on campus. However, you never have to suffer alone. There will always be help available should you need it. You may be struggling with personal issues or with your studies and don’t know who to turn to. Rest assured; universities have employed staff who are available each day to help students overcome their issues. Their job priority is taking care of each student’s well-being to ensure they have the best possible experience.

Jack Palmer

Jack Palmer holds a PhD in Education from the University of Oxford and has been influencing the field of educational research and policy for 10 years. He joined our editorial team in 2019, enriching readers with insights on educational trends and teaching methodologies. Jack’s prior experience includes a professorship at a prestigious university and a policy advisor role in education reform. He is a passionate advocate for lifelong learning and enjoys playing the piano in his free time.

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