College is the time to try new things, meet new people, and have new experiences. The things is, it can all fall apart if you don’t have a clear idea of what you are getting into. Be sure to make the best of it with these tips for new college students.

1. Go to class

Oh, it will be so tempting to sleep in. After all, you’re a college student! You can do what you want, right? Well, you sure can if you want to scramble to make up for it later on. It is much easier to hold a GPA than to attempt to bring it up!

2. Know what you can handle course-wise

It is much better to finish a semester ‘late’ (who doesn’t these days?) than to have a nervous breakdown because of over-scheduling yourself. In the bigger picture, a few months or even a year does not make that much of a difference, unless you want to brag about how you finished school on time.

3. Get involved

You might be attending school in a different state, or even in your own state. Either way you can afford to expand your interests and meet new people. College is an easy way to make contacts and new friends!

4. Make friends in your program who are ahead of you

This way you might be able to borrow their old tests, notes and/or lab reports. This is not cheating, but using your resources and contacts wisely. Many sororities and fraternities have these resources available, some even in database form! You can trade off with this friend or do something nice like bake him/her cookies for their help.

5. On that note, consider joining a sorority or fraternity

I was/am a nontraditional student (about five to seven years older than most students at my university), so this was not quite in my realm, but I was often jealous of the many opportunities afforded to these students. Yes, you have to go to social events. Yes, you might get categorized as a snob or fill-in-the-inappropriate-name-blank, but you really can benefit from the social network and resources (such as old tests).

6. Buy your books online or from a friend

Holy cow, the universities make a boatload off of textbooks! Using one book for a semester (even with selling it back) can cost $100 plus! Many companies like Amazon sell textbooks cheaper than at universities and offer gift cards at a decent rate to sell them back. I had a great experience with the buyback program…much better than selling a book back for next to nothing at the school store!

7. Keep in contact with your family

Yes, you should make contacts and friends at college. This does not mean you should ignore your family who likely supports you, or encouraged you to get to where you are today. Give them a call, Skype them, send them a card, or do something during the semester to let them know you are thinking about them.

8. Keep in contact with old friends

One of my biggest regrets in life was intentionally falling out of touch with high school friends. I had joined a group of people who convinced me that the only important thing was their group and if friends or family did not understand, they should be cut off (read: I got into a pyramid-like scheme). I missed out on so much, and now the stream of Facebook updates from my high school friends makes me sad.

Sometimes something similar happens if you meet the man or woman ‘of your life’ who you can’t stand being away from. Break away and connect with the friends who have been there for you forever. You can undo some of the damage if you lose touch, but it will never really be the same.

9. Learn from mistakes

If you do something stupid (like join a pyramid-like scheme), learn from your mistakes. College is a time not only for learning about Chemistry and the correct way to cite a source, but for learning about life. Learning how to come back from mistakes is a big part of the college experience.

10. Be silly

You have a little bit of margin during this time to get away with crazy things and not look too foolish (hey, it’s college!) Use this time to go on adventures and do silly things that likely will be looked down upon later in life. This is also a great way to bond with your new friends.

11. Be careful

Yes, have new experiences. Yes, be silly. Do not do things that you know might endanger your life, health or self-image.

12. Learn how to balance and prioritize

Time management skills are completely necessary to explore all that college life has to offer. There will always be activities, social events, school events, trips, homework, and tests for which to study. Part of life is managing the time that we have, so my advice would be to learn this early on in your college career.

Check out the article: Why To Do Lists Don’t Work and How to Change That

13. Learn about yourself

Figure out what you want out of life. You don’t need to know right away, but be thinking about this as you experience new things, meet new people, and explore the world of knowledge.

Some useful tips to buy cheap textbook: Get Your College Textbooks Cheap This Semester

Featured photo credit: Student sitting reading a book and taking notes in lecture hall via Shutterstock

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