9 Ways to Survive Your First Year of College

Written by Formstack on September 18, 2012

Posted in Education

This post is a part of Formstack’s Back to School Campaign. From August 20-September 21, we’ll be sharing all things relating to higher ed, from how to survive your first semester of college to what cloud computing tools you should use as an educator. When it comes to all things campus, we’ve got you covered. Check out our campaign page for more information and enter to win a free semester of text books!

So here you are, graduated from high school and ready to move on to the next step of your life: college. There’s so much to think about. What are the people going to be like? How are the sporting events? Do students really just wear sweat pants every day? How is the food? Hopefully better than cafeteria food…right? College can be scary- so we at Formstack are offering up nine ways to survive your first year of college.

1. Time Management. This cannot be stressed enough. You will have to use time management skills for the rest of your life – whether that’s at your future job, while raising a family, or volunteering in your free time. Time management is one of the most important skills you can master. When you start college, you will suddenly find yourself with lots of free time. How you choose to spend your time can be the determinant for your future success as a college student. It’s important to have fun and have the “college experience,” but it’s just as important to make sure you’re allowing yourself time to get chapters read and papers written. (I know. Reading chapters? Blech.)

2. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Leaving home and going to college is a huge life change. It can be exciting and scary going into the unknown like that. Try new things, put yourself out there, and expand your interests! That’s when the best memories are made.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone attending college was a freshman at some point, and you most certainly won’t be the only freshman. You might not know what classes you need to take, how to register for classes, how to sign up for housing, or how to get to the 3rd floor of …what was that building called again? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your advisors, your teachers, and your R.A.s are all available and ready to answer any questions you might have. So no need to feel like a freshman noob- it happens to us all.

4. Start figuring it all out. One of the most important lessons you will learn in college is who you are. Did you know that, on average, college students change their majors at least three times over the course of their college career? If you’re not sure what major you want to pursue- YOU ARE NOT ALONE! It is important to take the time to get to know yourself and discover what interests you. Take a couple of classes that spark your interest and take the time to figure out what you want to pursue for the next four years of your life.

5. Explore opportunities. Ever thought about taking a 3-week course in Europe? Or studying abroad a semester in Brazil? What about working with real-life clients as part of a student run public relations firm? Volunteering at a hospital? Whatever interests you – explore the opportunities that your campus has to offer.

6. Get Involved! At almost every college campus in America, there are a number of student organizations that you can join. Not only is this a great way to meet people and spice up your resume, it’s an awesome way to discover your passions!

7. Use your resources. College campuses are filled with resources. Whether it’s the library, writing and math labs, databases, professors, or advisers- you have a number of resources at your fingertips. Use them. These resources are provided specifically for students to better their college learning experience! Don’t miss out on the abundance of resources available to you.

8. Learn how to organize and prioritize. Organization skills are just as important as time management. Dealing with several different subjects at one time along with all the fun student organizations you joined while simultaneously balancing new friends-it can be a bit overwhelming. By learning how to organize and prioritize your long to-do list; college can be a lot less stressful. It may seem like the most important thing at the time is to go shopping for a new dress or new Nikes- but it might be a better idea to wait until that paper is done.

9. HAVE FUN! Yes, you need to study, but you also need to have fun! These are four of the greatest years of your life! So get your paper done, stay up late, go to Steak n’ Shake at 3 a.m., and have a blast! The years will fly by.