Student Life

Adjusting to College Life

Mary Bellm, Student Contributor

August 27, 2018

Adjusting to College Life
Adjusting to your new college life can seem a little overwhelming at times – and that’s okay. Following these tips can help you adjust quickly.
It can be difficult to start a new part of your life. Trust me, I’ve been through a few now! A new “part” could refer to something as monumental as your first year of high school, starting a new job, joining a new sport, or even going to college. It could also be as simple as taking the first step toward one of those new milestones. Since I have recent experience with starting college, I’d like to share how I’ve adjusted to college! I can tell you one thing, for sure - it’s easier than I was telling myself it was going to be. Let me break this down into three different sections: my experiences with move -in day, classes, and general advice.

1. Move-In Day:

We had fun the night before finishing packing what I was going to take with me - cue a lot of tape and notecards with my name and room number. You have to label everything you take with you, from your laundry basket full of stuff to the boxes or bags you put your clothes in. Although I had most of what I wanted to take in a specific spot, packing it all was what was most time consuming.
When everything was upstairs (I live on the fourth floor!) I had to evaluate my room before I could move all my stuff in and I had no clue where to start! Luckily, my roommate has an older sister, who walked both of us through how we should fill out the evaluation, classifying things as “works” and “finishing scratched,” a completely different way than I was going to do it. Meeting my roommate, her family, and nearly everyone in my hall was very confusing on the first day. Even now, I can’t tell you their names, but I can recognize everyone’s faces, which is a plus for me. If you can remember names well, start with a few, and branch out from there. Takeaways:
1. Pack everything nonessential a few days before you actually should pack it - then you’ll be ahead of the game.
2. Bring family and friends to help you move in, if you aren’t far from home. You can never have enough hands to carry everything you brought!
3. Bring a door prop (or door stop) to keep your door open as you are moving in your stuff, and new dormmates can stop in and say hi!

2. Classes:

It’s always awkward, even in college, to walk into a class and pick a seat, which you more or less are stuck with. I’ve been fortunate, and picked pretty good seats in the second rows of all my classes. Be sure to bring a pen and paper, even on the first day, because some professors, like my calculus professor, will start on the first day after they hand out the syllabus. At the end of the week, I’m still catching up on everything my professors assigned Monday and Tuesday without my knowledge, when I was trying to put everything into a planner. While we’re on the topic of planners, get one. It will be a life saver once you have six or seven classes all handing out when essays and readings are due, and you end up having three tests and an article due on the same Wednesday. If you have an orientation day (or a few), try to find your classes before all the upperclassmen get there, or at least find the building. Then you won’t be wandering around with a lost look on your face and a map in hand, along with a crumpled schedule. If you can’t find a class, there’s sure to be another student or staff member who will gladly come to your rescue. If your professors are anything like mine, they do not want your phone going off in class. Set an automatic “Do Not Disturb” rule, or put your phone on silent before you get to class. Takeaways: 1. Always bring a pen, paper, and planner to class
2. Find your classes
3. Silence your phone

3. General Advice:

For me, this has been an eye-opening experience, which I’m sure will happen to you, if it hasn’t happened already. Between classes, a roommate, and walking a ton of stairs, it's been a busy time for me, and that's not including the crazy schedule I had for my first few days of orientation. There are several overall takeaways that would have helped me adjust to life at college. Takeaways: 1. If you are rooming with a roommate, or three, make sure to get their phone numbers on the first day! You may get locked out of the bathroom once - or five times - during your first week, and you might need to call them to come unlock it.
2. Once you get your class schedule, try to get your textbooks from places other than the bookstore - discount bookstores (online or in person) often have them and some even rent them. You can save even more money if you make sure you need the book before you take the class by emailing your professors, and then immediately turning around and finding the books so the prices don’t go up. I found a few, but waited on others, and when I turned around, they had gone up as much as $30.
3. You will have free time, but also an ever-growing list of things you need to do (like laundry) or attend a mandatory hall meeting. Manage your time wisely and make sure to plan to get your assignments done, but don’t take too many breaks.
4. Dining hall food can be hit or miss. Miss: cold, rubbery chicken. What should you do when that happens? Hit: the salad bar that’s always open. Also, try to have a few snacks on hand in your backpack in case you get hungry on the go.
5. Scope out a study space other than your room - you never know when you need silence or to get away from your desk. I’ve found one in my library that I love, since it’s next to a big window, is on the second floor where it’s just quiet enough for me to study with ambient noise or music, and has an outlet for my computer.
Adjusting to your new college life can seem a little overwhelming at times – and that’s okay. Following these tips can help you adjust quickly. Don’t worry! You’ll be used to it in no time.

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