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How to Survive Your 1st Semester of College

Posted: July 7, 2022
college student holding books and coffee

As a young adult stepping into the real world, college is a big first step for many. This is usually the point in life where students move out for the first time, some a lot farther than others. This step can be scary. The idea of continuing to juggle school, social life, and work is usually the same, except this time it’s completely on your own. However, it is not as hard as one may think. Here are a few things that college students who survived their first semesters wish someone would have told them before the first day of school.  

Do Not Pack Your Entire Room 

Suitcases packed for school

When packing for college, everything at that moment seems like a necessity. However, almost none of it is a necessity for college living. If a student is living on campus, dorms are already small as is and most freshmen have roommates. Adding more stuff than is needed will make the room seem smaller than it already feels.  

The same goes for clothes. Not every dorm will have a full closet if there even is one. Know the weather for the surrounding area of campus, and pack for it. Plus, students will get more clothes after getting to school from the student store, events, or even just shopping with friends. A couple of favorite hoodies, a jacket or two, smaller amounts of each item are best, or however many they think will be needed to get them between laundry loads.

Read more on what to have on your college checklist here.

Get To Know Your Roommate Ahead of Time 

Freshman Roommates

Not only are freshmen moving away from home for the first time, but they are also likely moving in with a stranger. This is an intimidating factor on its own. If the school’s Residential program gives students information on how to contact their future roomie before move-in day, seize the opportunity. This now allows students to have a friend on their first day, plan out dorm situations in advance, and get a sense of how life will be for the next year.

This can also be a complete lifesaver. By reaching out to roommates ahead of time, students can see what the other person is like. If they are loud and outgoing versus quiet and introverted can be important. Students are going to want to escape to their room from time to time, so make sure it is a safe space to do so.   

Buy a Planner 

A planner good for college

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but just know planners are the life jackets of college students. With different classes each day at various times, it can get hard to memorize assignments and test dates. It will also be super beneficial when making plans along with joining a team or club.

Keeping track of everything will help students stay focused and on top of their grades. With less time spent worrying about what needs to be done, students can have more time to get out there and enjoy the college experience. 

Be a Social Butterfly 

Volleyball Team, Being Social

College is going to get rough, especially if a student is far away from everyone they know. The only way to not let it get the best of them is to surround themselves with good friends. However, most friends do not fall out of the sky, so there will have to be some social interactions. DO NOT BE AFRAID. College is full of plenty of chances to get out there and meet new people.

Students often have a lot more in common with others than they originally believe. Ways to meet new friends include reaching out to study groups of similar interests, going to school-sponsored events or sports games, joining clubs, and just simply saying hi to someone passing by. You never know who you may meet. 

  

You Need Both Sleep Time and Me Time 

Watching Netflix, Me Time

Yes, being social is key to enjoying college, but so is personal time. Sleep does not count as personal time either. Both are vital for success in college. Taking alone time aside from bedtime allows students to refresh after a long, stressful day and even get some homework done if they have not already. Whether it’s at the gym, playing music, or just sitting and watching Netflix, make sure to always leave time to sit and enjoy the time. 

Enough time to sleep each night is just as important! Sleep is essential to keep one’s body healthy and energized to make it through the long days of college. A good night’s sleep can make or break the day, so make sure that stays a priority. 

Parent of a new college student? Here are tips for parenting college students through freshman year.

The first semester is usually the hardest for many students. As long as you hold yourself accountable and surround yourself with ways to succeed, it will all be okay. Collegeboxes can also help make that transition easier with our Ship to School program. This allows us to do the dirty work of getting your belongings to campus and allows you to spend more time with family before the big adjustment. Good luck and enjoy the first semester!