Hey there college freshman, now I know what you’re thinking, college seems like it’s going to be SUPER hard and SUPER stressful. Well let me tell you something… you’re right. I won’t sugar coat it, why? Because if I do than I won’t be telling you the truth and you’ll go to school and come back to this post and really tell me off and I wouldn’t want that. what I want is to give you some advice, why because I’m just that nice person. Just kidding, well I am nice but the reason I want to give you advice is because I was scared shitless going into college. I had NO idea what to expect. I never asked anyone questions, never googled it, never watched a youtube video about it, I just went to campus registered for classes and woke up two hours before I had my first alarm for the first day of classes and just went right into the class.
I wasn’t fortunate enough to dorm in college. Well let me rephrase that, I go to a community college, so most of my advice to you in my own opinion will be more for those that commute because that’s basically what I do. My school does not have dorms so I couldn’t even dorm if I wanted to. When I go to university I’d like to dorm because the dorm experience literally is probably the best thing about college. I have one friend who does it and even though she lives like 8 minutes of a walk away from the campus, she still has had the greatest overall college experience while living on campus.
Although I didn’t get to dorm yet, I will be sharing some advice that has been passed down to me from others who have lived on campus or still do. I am here to give you all the details about college to my best ability, but keep in mind.. just because I’m telling you all the details doesn’t mean the college you attend is the same way, the people are the same, or these things I share with you even apply to you. But better safe than sorry, right?
Okay so let’s just start off with:
How to prepare before the semester starts
A month or two before the semester starts is a good time to start preparing yourself. You’ll have to go school supply shopping, and if you’re living on campus you’ll also need to buy your essentials like bed sheets and all that fun decorating stuff. If you’d like to see a list of things you’ll need or might want to purchase when living on campus as well as commuting from home and to campus (no matter the distance) you’ll find that list on this post that is part of my new college 101 series.
So what I like to do a month before school starts is go to my tablet, my phone and my laptop and just go through everything. I go through the documents, I go through the photos, just literally everything. I email the documents and photos to myself and also back it up on my hard drive my father bought me when I received my new apple MacBook, (you may never know when it crashes). The reason I do this is because I need to clear up space. I don’t need the photos on my laptop to be on here especially duplicates and especially if I’ve got it already all over social media or on my phone, what is the point? Emailing them to yourself gives you access to it, just in case you don’t have it on your phone. ( I have an email that is just for my documents and photos , personal stuff )
Downloading the drop box and ever album apps onto your phone, tablet or laptop also will help you store some of your things better and be organized about it. Even google docs, google drive, there are so many other apps that you can use to store your old and new files even. Just keep in mind that its a new semester, your first semester, doing this before any kind of semester starts in the future will actually keep you on track and organized.
I also like to email my professors three weeks before the semester starts. What do I email them? Well usually I like to ask if I’m able to use my laptop or tablet inside the classroom to take notes since I am quicker with typing. I also ask the professor if the textbook is accessible over the internet because then I can use either my tablet or laptop to access it during class instead of buying the hard copy book and bringing it into class. Sometimes in advance I’ll know certain dates that I’ll be absent– but I’ll get into that in another section so keep on reading!.
What do I do the day before classes start?
Take a shower first of all, comb out your hair, relax. Do you want it to be straight or curly? Do you want it to be natural waves? If so go with sleeping with two braids, it works best for me. Drink a nice glass of water or some tea if you’re like me, get your book bag ready and make sure everything is laid out where it needs to be or at least in the same area so when you wake up you aren’t looking for everything and going crazy.
If you need a printed paper with your schedule on it do it at this time. If you can get the map of the school from online, get that too to help you with getting to classes.
Brush your teeth!!
Then go into bed at least an hour and a half before you really decide to go to bed because honestly, you’ll be on your phone the first hour and then you’ll probably play a game or stalk someone instagram page so just give yourself some time to do that, get some texts out the way. Put your phone on airplane mode than plug it in, you’ll need all your battery boo. Don’t forget to put your alarms on if you didn’t already, and just go to sleep.
You get excited sometimes (like how I did) because you’re excited for new adventures, but believe me you need all the sleep you can get in college, start taking advantage of the time you get to actually do it.
What should I expect to happen on my first day?
As seen in movies, its typical to see preppy people welcoming you as a freshman on campus. They might give you some papers like the map of the campus so you kinda aren’t lost, or they’ll give you your schedule just in case you do not have it already. Sometimes they’ll even try and give you information about societies or sororities even though you can’t join until you’re a sophomore maybe even junior but they still give you the information so you have a while to think about your options and play your academics roll correctly and in a smart manner. I am actually really not sure if that happens, I just picture that a lot when it comes down to universities because well I don’t ever see it happening in my school and I attend a community college. I know that during the first and second week they have events to sign up for clubs and such but thats the welcoming portion for my school. GO OWLS!!! yeah I don’t know it just sounded patriotic… school spirit? no ok.
Soooo, it’s kind of weird how college classrooms work, in my previous college courses the first and second day is crucial because it determines where you’ll be sitting for the rest of the year and it also gives your first impression to everyone. So lets say your first class is at 9Am and you’re actually there at 8:15 Am. You’ve found your way to the class easier than you expected and you go in and no one is there yet. You sit down in the front row, the middle seat to be exact. You think it’s perfect because the professor is right here and you won’t be distracted by anything in front of you. you take out your laptop set it on the table, you get prepared for class. Your professor walks in, they greet you, you greet back. You make sure its the class you’re supposed to be in, then they start having a short conversation with you just because you were early.
Now say the second meeting for the class you go and sit in the SAME spot you sat before but you got there 20 minutes later than you did the first time. You didn’t feel like waiting so long for everyone to show up and class to start. Your professor starts teaching now and he gets your name right after taking just one to two minutes of thinking, but it was the easiest one for them to get compared to the others. You don’t ask many questions or answer their questions during class, they just recognize that you come into class early and sit in the same spot. Lets say its now two weeks into the semester and you’ve sat at the same spot the entire two weeks, professor is still learning all 40 students names but he’s getting the hang of it. You wake up a little later than usual due to baby sitting last night, you then get into some traffic because a stop light wasn’t working properly on the way to campus. You get to class 10-15 minutes late and your spot? Its opened for you. Professor doesnt stop to greet you but at the end of the class he asks to speak with you, he asks if everything was ok and you explained it to them and they were understanding due to your honesty and just life happens.
My point here is not that the you’re on the good side of your professor but, your classmates. It just weirdly works out where we choose a seat that we like, we get comfortable sitting there for two weeks and then it becomes our permanent seat instead of changing it around. If you are already in college and haven’t noticed this, pay attention through out the semester you’ll see it too.
To also let you know briefly what will be happening in the classes the first day, usually professors introduce themselves in my school. They also try and get us the students to get to know one another even if its just the name and our age or major. But other professors just get straight into the work. Depending the work load for the semester.
For those that are living on campus, here are some tips that I’ve received from other bloggers and friends.
- Laundry gets annoying to do every week or two weeks and the lines are long so be sure to have a lot of underwear’s/boxers, bra, and socks. You are able to reuse clothing like shirts and leggings and stuff multiple times in a week, but the same underwear or bra for three days or even two consecutive days kind of…. idk about you but I think thats pretty gross?
- Solve any issues with your roommate/suite-mate before going to the RA.
- Clean your microwave and fridge at least once a week.
- wear flip-flops in the shower.
- budget your money weekly or even monthly.
- if you have a laptop, get a external hard drive to back up all your files.
- always meet with an advisor begging and ending of the semester to plan out your class, plan out how you’ll be able to graduate on time or even early.
Okay so now, college is all fun and exciting but remember you won’t have someone there to hold your hand and or knock on your door or even send you a text reminder that you have things due. So here’s some good advice I’ve got from other you tubers, friends, classmates and other bloggers that I thought were best to share.
- Manage your time!!
Literally this is SUPER crucial in college. As I said above, mom or dad won’t be home you may live on campus as well so they won’t be on your a** for you to do your homework like they were in middle school and high school. Your professors won’t remind you on due dates too often either. You’ll have to keep track on your own. But don’t just manage your time with homework and classes, studying and all that. You’ll have to manage your time with your friends, your workouts, your family and all. Im so serious.
Go to Walmart or Staples and purchase a planner. The planners that sort out each hour of the day kind of annoy me.. I rather have a planner that has the monthly dates on one page with like the squared boxes and then have the dates on separate pages from the monthly part. It’ll have some lines so you can write important information rather than having to really schedule by hour on what is needed to be done, for that you can use your iPhone calendar app, its not appointments its just to keep you on track with what is needed to be done and when you’ll be free for social times.
it may sound sad that you’ll have to write it in your planner when you’ll be able to go out to that party or for coffee with your mom or your best friends who don’t go to the same school as you or who do go to the same school as you. but hey, you’ve entered a new world and you’re going to really need to manage your time because you don’t want to end up going to class one day and not study for that pop quiz and just say “oh I’ll get it next time” no, you’ve got to have it every single time. you’ve got to be prepared, it is college not high school. This is your future career, this is going to your future, start acting like its a do or die plus its money that you’re wasting if you flunk that class or the entire semester and you may possibly get kicked out for poor academics, you don’t want that do you? just being honest. not trying to scare ya.
2. Be Prepared.
This one is simple. Have the materials that you need, have your homework done and completed correctly. If you don’t understand the homework assignment ask your professor during class or even after class. if you don’t understand it chances are another student in your class doesn’t so please don’t be afraid to raise your hand and ask questions. If you still don’t understand the homework or assignment that was asked to do, ask another peer before they leave the class. Go to your library and find out if you have a tutoring place as well because you can go to them and ask them your questions too. They’ll even sit with you and just help you as you go if you have the time to. Those tutors are actually free, it comes with your tuition so use it to your advantage.
3. Be on time. Pay attention. Take notes.
I know this is three in one but it really just goes together. Being on time to class helps you to not miss any important information like maybe a pop quiz coming up, or a recap of the information that you didn’t understand from last class. Its always good to be early or at least ask a friend for the information said. Don’t ask during the class wait until the class is over so you don’t miss what is being said even more and causing your classmate to miss that part too.
That also goes with paying attention. From the moment that you step into the classroom, your ears should be opened and listening to what your professor is saying. Just because you’re getting the missed information that you may have not heard or weren’t present for from another classmate doesnt mean that one classmate wrote down EVERY important thing. We all take notes differently, we all learn differently so its best to really get your own information down on paper and then ask your class mates but not just one, maybe a handful if you can.
Taking notes is literally the most stressful thing but can be easy as well. Your notes are YOURS, yes your classmates may ask you to let them see it to copy down missed information from being absent or being late or mishearing things… but its really your own notes. When you’re going to study for a test is when you take these notes out so its best that you understand what you’re writing down and not just reading it wise but understanding what the material is and how it all works. Maybe recording your professors voice (with permission) for their lectures can help you take a second set of notes when you are back in your dorm or your house for better note taking. Re writing your notes is always an option ( I write sloppy and unorganized during class time), trying to abbreviate as well makes things a lot easier.
DO NOT COPY the entire thing that the professor has on the slide, make it your own, briefly summarize it, abbreviate. Trust me. And whatever the professor is saying is important to write down as well.
If the professor repeats something it is important and most likely will be on your future tests, so pay attention to that.
4. Network. Socialize.
College isn’t all about academics and fun, you need to get out there. Get close to as many of your classmates that are juniors, seniors, socialize with your peers. Get involved. Join clubs, join a sorority if and when you can because you’ll meet amazing people within it and learn about yourself a lot more. Being engaged with these kind of environments also will look good on your transcripts for transfers or for other future degrees you’d like to pursue. It will even look good on job applications.
In life we all know how hard it is to find a job especially when you’re fresh out of college with your degree. I know you are starting your first semester and I’m already talking about you being fresh out of college and onto a career. Reason being is because you’ve GOT to network, you’ve got to socialize and meet anyone and everyone because you don’t know who will become what in the near future and when you’ll need their help with getting you where you need to go. Or maybe needing help for your friends or your family in the future and that person you had Spanish class with or accounting class with, they might come to your rescue.
Now that we’ve gone through that, I’ve been asked a couple of questions and I’d like to address them here now before ending the post :)!
- Do I need to buy my textbook? Where can I buy them?
Okay so since I’m being honest here, my freshman year I bought all my books through Chegg.com or book byte. I bought maybe one or two from school bookstore because I didn’t know what I was doing, honestly. After that I didn’t have to really buy my books because the professor didn’t use it much so sometimes you won’t need it but if you’re that student who needs the book to teach themselves things better than the professor just speaking and their notes then definitely get it. But you don’t want to buy your textbooks from the school directly (unless you HAVE TO) because they are extremely expensive.
I wait for the professor to mention the textbook on the first day of the class. They’ll say certain things like “you can get an older version if its cheaper.” or “you can find the book online version here” or they’ll give you a link themselves that will be cheaper, thats what they did during my third semester. Some professors understand and care about the students spending money, you wouldn’t believe it now would you? ha.
I like to rent out my books but sometimes I don’t trust in it. What I learned my last semester is that I can literally ask a classmate (even if we aren’t friends) like someone next to me or behind me that recognizes me being in that class, I’ll ask to either borrow their book and give it to them the next class time or we can exchange numbers and I’ll give it to them when its convenient. I’ll take the book and either scan the chapters I know we’ll be covering (it’ll say on the syllabus) or I’ll just scan the reviews of the chapters cause every textbook has that after the chapter or before the chapter even. I’ll than take pictures of every single page on my phone and put it on my dropbox app. I have a folder specifically for my textbooks because I can carry it with me instead of a HUGE book or papers scattered all over.
A lot of my professors actually loved the idea that I did that. They understood my financial reasons and lazy reasons. Another thing you could do is see if your professor can put a book in the library, I learned this through youtube actually. Your professor can request the school to put the textbook in the library, in my school we can’t check it out but we can definitely go to the library during down time and check out the book for two hours. Sometimes I’ll go before a test and study for 30-45 minutes with the actual book in my hand, its helpful.
2. What classes do you prefer? Am or Pm.
Okay so I think that this question actually depends on you. My freshman year I was able to wake up at 7am to do 8am classes and be there until 2pm but thats because I was still in high school waking up mode. As the semesters went on, working + going to school at 7am just wasn’t cutting it. I’d start getting late to classes due to parking spots and all that traffic and I just realized I couldn’t do it anymore.
If you do morning classes I’d do something at like 10Am maybe even 9:30 Am. I prefer afternoon classes because in the mornings I can even do some studying before a test or homework that I forgot to do. Sometimes you can’t really choose your classes because like me I do late registration but you’ll deal with it some how I guess lol.
3. How do I make friends on campus if I’m shy?
My freshman year I was in your place boo, I couldn’t make friends. Luckily my brother and I had every class together and he’s 5 years older than me so it was a lot easier to make friends, thanks J.
But now, I’m able to make friends even from the first day its actually pretty simple. When you go to class and you sit in your seat on the first day, look at all your classmates walking in and say “hey there” or good morning, afternoon depending on the time it is. DON’T stay quiet and DO that every single time you go to classes.
Avoid being on your phone before classes, at least like glued to your phone. Hold conversations, talk about the professor “I heard he’s actually pretty cool and easy going. I saw on ratemyprofessor that he’s not too bad.” , of course when the prof isn’t there honey lol.
You can also make friends with the people sitting next to you. If you get a break from class take that time to introduce yourself to the person next to you even if you’ve introduce yourself to the class on the professors first assignment of class. Why? because they might have forgotten already honestly theres like 32 people or more in your class. Introduce yourself, maybe ask to see their notes because you missed something (even if you didn’t its nice to see how other people write their notes it could be different).
When you see that on the syllabus you’ve got a test coming up or a small quiz coming up within the next week or so, ask some to all of you classmates if they’d like to get together and study. Pass a sheet around with the time and date and where you’ll be like the library or cafeteria and just get everyones email or phone number and their name of who wants to go and you can send out texts for reminders.
Making friends in class is crucial because when you have no idea what you’re doing or have a project to do with someone else you’ll need a friend that trust you and that you trust them to get it done. You can also join clubs that your school has to make friends and get involved with school, thats something I’m actually going to be doing this semester!! 🙂
4. How long before an exam should I study?
In my opinion you should actually study a little bit every day. My past semesters I’ve had two to three hours of waiting for my next class so what I’d do is go to the cafeteria and try to stick to the same spot (if no one sits there) and I’d get food or something to drink. I’ll sit down let all my papers around the table since its big enough and start studying. I’d take 30 minutes to look over the notes I took right after the class, then I’ll stop to either eat or scroll through Instagram. I’d put a timer on so I can literally get back to studying. Then I’d go through the vocabulary words and try to memorize their definitions. I’ll google them, sometimes I’ll even type up my vocabulary onto word or the notes section that apple provides with us, so its easy access for me when I have nothing to do but study or before a test its all there and I can just study vocabulary words (since every college student or most, forget to study all vocabulary.)
So basically, you should legit study every day even if its for 30-45 minutes between classes or after school when you get home.
If your professor doesnt do a review, make sure you’re getting your questions and things you’re confused about during the class sessions answered if not go to your professor during their office hours and ask all of your questions there. ESPECIALLY before the exam. Hit the books really hard two weeks to a week before the exam, don’t be that student that actually doesnt study because things may seem easy during class but when that exam comes you might end up seeing a whole other world.
5. Do you think someone should get involved on campus like clubs and such?
Yes!! As I mentioned before, it’s easier to make friends in clubs. You’ll do events, fundraisers, and more in that club (most likely) and being involved means you’ll probably get your pictures taken at times and meet some really great people. College is the time and place to meet people for your future. Just because someone is studying something now doesnt mean in the future thats what they’ll be doing for SURE, things change. But even if they are doing that one subject like Law, or DOCTOR don’t you think you might need them along the way of your future?
You may have kids some day and you’ll walk in the office and see that student you saw in the library so many times studying HARD. So you really need to network and by doing that you get involved. Get involved with your academics by going to the tutors even if you don’t really need them, they’ll sit with you while you do your work and be there when you get stuck. They can even check your homework before the professor does. I use tutors for my essays even if I don’t think I need them, it helps with my grade overall. Don’t know about you but a A is better than a B+ for me. But yes, lol get involved. Its the best thing you can do!
6. Is it worth it to get to know all your professors?
Definitely. There are certain professors that you’ll have that may just seem like they are crabby and rude. They just might be there for the paychecks and that is all, but you can be that student that greets them on a professional level, they might be the ones to give you the greatest recommendation that you’ll need in the future.
Getting to know your professors is great for recommendations overall. It’s also good to make connections with them because they’ll help you out if you need a day or two out from class due to family things or personal time to yourself. Another good thing about getting to know your professors is this, if your professor is still crabby and does a horrible job at teaching but as a masters or Phd you can go to your dean and be the one to complain to this teacher for treating you or the other students wrong. No university or college wants a professor who has the degree higher than ever and either not teaching or just plain being a horrible person (racist, sexist, and other words that I can’t think of right now).
7. How long would you say it would take to get used to the whole working and going to school routine?
I’ve been working literally the entire time that I’ve been in school. Its easy if your job goes with your school schedule. What I do with my availability during school is give myself an hour or even two hours after the last class if over to give myself time to eat, maybe change, relax, get my homework done if I can or see professors if I need to as well. Always give yourself at least ONE day off of work and school if possible. I know that my job as a retail worker, I’d have to work weekends so that means during the week I’d have to give myself one day off somewhere.
This day off can be used to actually sleep in, get your work done, get laundry done, clean the house or apartment or dorm room where ever you are. Maybe spend time with your nephew or niece, spend time with your boo, etc… These things are crucial in life and during college you’ll see that you really have to priorities and manage your time, so be sure to manage your time for family, friends and YOURSELF.
So honestly, I can’t answer this question for you. Its based on you, for me I’d say it settled in after a month of school and work. But don’t over work yourself within work and school, thats why I say, give yourself a day off sometimes.
So that is it readers!!! It took me a while to write this, including an all nighter but it was actually really fun to write and do. I wanted it to be perfect so I really hope I’ve helped a numerous amount of you guys. I hope I’ve given some good advice as well as a head start on what to think about classes and your first semester. Just remember to be true to who you are and please don’t worry about your friends in high school because they might not be around as you go on with the semester. You won’t care after a while too because you’ll be focused on yourself.
It may be all over the place with my advice and I apologize if it is, I’ll do a part two to this one as well if you have any questions email me or comment below. my email is Brianjeliquewrites@icloud.com and in the header be sure to start it off with “CLOA” standing for Chaotic life of Anjelique, so I know its directly about my blog or blog post.
Thank you again for all of those who read my blog posts every day or every time I post them. Thank you to those who subscribe to my emails as well. Just over all thank you to my supporters. I you have friends that need to see this be sure to share it with them.