Freshman year of college comes with a lot of firsts. It may be your first time away from home, your first taste of independence, the first time you’ve ever shared a room with a stranger, or all three. All these new experiences happening simultaneously can be a lot to handle. From roommate woes to money problems, here are five tips to help you survive your freshman year of college.
1. Budget Your Money
Most college students are notoriously poor. And yet, there are so many things we want to do that costs money. We want to go out with friends, buy new clothes, and we have no intention on giving up our daily Frappuccinos. Budgeting your money will allow you to keep track of your spending and thus, keep the credit card debt away.
Choose the amount per week on non-essential items that works for you and stick with it. Each week, go to the ATM and cash out your spending money. Cash is a fixed amount, you can’t go over budget like you can with a card. This way, none of the money that you need for essentials is being touched for non-essential situations.
2. Get To Know Your Adviser
In college, you’re on your own. There are no parents breathing down your neck to make sure your assignments are done. But you should still have someone to make sure you’re on the right track to graduate, and that’s supposed to be your adviser.
Right off the bat, you should meet with your advisor and lay out what you want to achieve while you’re in college (even if you’re not sure what it is you want to achieve yet). Your adviser should then help you plan out steps you need to take to achieve those goals. Along the way, they should be reaching out to you to make sure you’re doing alright and helping in any way that they can. Having someone with relevant knowledge in your field supporting you like that can significantly help you get through college and the years following.
If at any time you feel like you’re not getting enough support or attention from your advisor, find another one. The process is simple. Find a professor that you trust, and ask them to step in. It only takes a couple papers and then the change will be official.
3. Roommate Communication is Key
Being stuffed in close quarters with anybody will create friction within that relationship, let alone if it’s a stranger. Although at times it will be difficult to be friendly, your roommie isn’t someone you want to beef with all semester. Constantly arguing with someone you have to see every day will put unnecessary stress on you and your college experience.
To prevent roommate arguements, you have to be up front about any hang-ups you have or accommodations you need. Share your class and work schedules, decide if you want to share food, get a general idea for what time you’d like eachother’s guests to be out of your dorm on week days. With everything out in the open, there will be a lot less to argue about.
4. Take Advantage of Free Things On Campus
This one is simple, but a lot of people fail to keep up with it. The activities fee that you pay every semester pays for most free events on campus, so why not take advantage of it? As I previously stated, as a unit, we college students are poor. The money you save on lunch when there’s free hot dogs on the quad can go towards your partying fund, or your netflix budget.
5. Befriend Your Classmates
You’ve heard this before, I’m sure. But it’s important. Even an introvert such as myself can see the necessity of making friends in class. Lets just be real, you probably won’t make it to every class session this semester, which means you will miss notes. If you befriend someone in each class, that will give you a constant supply of notes for all your classes for the semester.
At the least, you should use this tip for early morning classes that you could accidentally sleep through. Be sure to befriend someone who looks happy and chipper in that 8 a.m. class. A morning person probably won’t miss many class sessions.
Hopefully these tips help you to make the most out of your college experience. These years are difficult, but they’re also fleeting, so make as many good memories as possible. Go forth, prosper, and drink plenty of Frappuccinos.