Sunday, August 9, 2015

9 Things You Should Do Your First Year of College

Since I spent many of my waking hours at college this year, now have many college friends, and by
the end of the summer will have taken 12 college courses I figure I am at least semi-qualified to tell you about college. So here are 9 things you should do in college (preferably starting your freshman year)...

1. Get on the professor's good side before you need something
Your professors will have lots of students. If you can stand out in a good way that is very important because when you need something they will be a lot more interested in talking to you and trying to help you. You don't want to need a favor and your professor see you as 'the kid that walks in late every day'. Be respectful and kind. They work hard and deserve the respect. Many are very willing to help you pass the class or help you get that internship but if you never respect them you will have a tough time.

2. Take the opportunity to talk to people you don't know
There are several hundred to several thousand people on campus. You will not know everyone by week three. I guarantee you that. Even after year three chances are there will still be people in your own class that you don't know. Still, take the time to talk to people you don't know.You could become best friends. Okay, while not extremely likely that will happen with everyone you sit down and talk to you may be surprised to hear the things you have in common. At the very least you will probably have an interesting conversation so take the time to talk to the person you are sitting by at lunch or in class.

3. Go to events
Yes, you are not paying thousands of dollars to go to events. True. But if you are going to be paying thousands of dollars and only get a few years there, make the most of it. Go to football games with friends - even if you hate football. You may not remember the game but you may remember the time you were jumping around cheering for the team and your friend made you fall on the guy in front of you. Go to the band concerts and cheer on your friends. You may not remember the pieces they played but chances are that friend will remember you were there for her. Go to events - if you are lucky you may end up with a new friend or at least some free food. Both are pretty good.

4. Live on campus
If you can, live on campus. There is something special about living 100 feet from your friends or (if you are lucky) living with your friends. Some crazy adventures happen and if you don't live on campus you will miss a lot of them. I know because I have missed out on some crazy adventures with my friends by living at home. But that's okay because this year at home has made me realize how much I want to live there and next year I will appreciate those times all the more.

5. Join something
When I ask fellow college students what they recommend freshman do I always hear the phrase 'join something'. Join band. Join choir. Join track. Join swing dancing club. Join something. Joining something gives you the chance to get to know people outside people in your major and your hall mates. When I joined a group I honestly feel like I joined a family. So get connected right away by joining a group and be part of something incredible.

6. Buy your books online or from other students
Whatever you do, don't buy all your books for the campus bookstore. That is a rookie mistake. Check out all the best textbook sites and see what other prices you can get. Also, another great place to look is down the hall. A lot of students are looking to sell their books back and 90% won't ask nearly as much for them as the campus bookstore. And even if they want to keep their books many will actually just let you borrow them for the semester.

7. Meet with advisers and have a plan
If you know what major you want to pursue and if you have any other plans (like internships you want to do or adding on a minor) then it is a very good idea to meet with your advisers. They know what classes you should be taking and in what order.

8. Talk with juniors and seniors in your major
They know what professors to take and which ones you want to avoid like the plague. They also will know which classes you will need to study for the most and which ones are okay to slack on a bit. Like previously mentioned, you also may be able to borrow or buy some textbooks from them too! (Side note: another great tool to find out which professors are good is - true, some students have the poorest reasons for rating professors as bad or good but overall it can give you a fair idea of what a professor is like)

9. Enjoy the journey
Above all though, do not let these moments go by you. Don't spend your whole four years wasting time and be preoccupied with other things. Go out on late night adventures with your roommates. Meet new people. Take interesting classes. Enjoy your college experience while you can. You will never forget it.

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