Moving to the next stage in life–from being a high school student to going to college–can be daunting for your kids, even if they don’t tell you. There are a million emotions swirling around and things bouncing around in their heads. It can be equally exciting and scary as they venture out on there own.
Sometimes, parental advice is shunned during this time, so here’s a list to share with your kids while they are making the transition as college freshman.
One of the surest ways to hate college is to stay isolated. Just going back and forth to classes isn’t going to cut it here. Stop by the activity tables you see out on special days or check dorm or community bulletin boards for groups and activities that interest you. And then? Join them! It’s one of the easiest ways to expand your social circle.
However, while you should get involved…
Give yourself a week or two to get into your routine, especially if this is your first time living away from home. Overcommitting before you completely understand your schedule and full study load can create unneeded stress later on.
If you’re in a dorm or have roommates, do everything you can to be flexible and ensure that you get along with them … at least for now. Your new home should be a place to relax, not a place you dread going to every day. If you don’t get along with your roommates, remind yourself that it’s only temporary until you can change the situation and find another place to live.
If you live in a dorm or in a place with people you don’t know well, you need to be aware of keeping yourself and your stuff–like your laptop, smart phone, etc.–safe. Don’t be afraid to install a lock on your bedroom door or get a lockbox big enough to put your stuff in when you’re not around. Unfortunately, that’s the day and age when live in. (Sad face.)
If you’ve moved to a campus, it may be your first instinct to go home on the weekends or when something goes wrong. However, try not to go back home for a few weeks. This will allow you to settle into your routine and force you to find cool things to do in your new area.
OK, here’s the deal: your parents are going to worry about you. They will want to call you every waking moment to check on you, but probably won’t. Give them a little break and call them to check in from time to time. And, you might just feel a little better yourself.
This isn’t high school, so most of those scary cliques are gone. This means you should find some upperclass students that have your same interests and become friends with them. Not only will they be able to give you some great advice and be a support system, but they will also have the “in” on all the major hangouts.
When your professors give you office hours, use them! Part of your professor’s job is to ensure that you are successful. If that means you need extra input from them, then so be it. Also, review the syllabi closely for your classes. It will have all the information you need, including test dates, assignments and instructor information.
You’re finally free! (We get it!) However, jumping right into a hard partying schedule will set you up for failure. (Trust us. We’ve been there.) Instead, go light on the social schedule for a few weeks until you’re set with your schedule and more familiar with campus and your surroundings.
Use an app or desktop calendar to schedule our your assignments, meetings and other responsibilities. Then, set up reminders for those things in order to keep yourself accountable.
One of the biggest mistakes new college students make is overspending. It comes from the joy of finally being free and managing your own money. However, it’s easy to spend too much money. So, be sure to keep a close watch on your bank account by reviewing your online account and statement every week. Also, don’t jump into signing up for one of those credit card offers they market to college students on campus. It will get you in trouble!
A great way to save the budget is to cut back on eating out. However, on college campuses, there is always a place to get free food. Check out the bulletin boards for information on meetings with food being served. Also, look into local restaurants that will often have free happy hour noshing times. Take advantage of them!
If you want to avoid the crowds and waiting around, do laundry in the off hours–late at night or very early in the morning. You will most likely have the place to yourself and might even be able to get a little studying done in the quiet.
If you go late at night, you might want to find a laundry buddy so you can both stay safe.
Everyone needs a place to go when they need some quiet. Check out out-of-the-way spots on campus or local parks around the town that you can make “your place” when you need to get away.
Once you’ve settled into college, chances are you will understand more what you need. Don’t be afraid to start a “wish list” for your parents or anyone else who wants to help you out. Check out Amazon’s wishlist feature, where people can order and send it to you straight from Amazon.
What are your best college freshman tips?