5 Things Every Freshman Should Be Doing the First Week of College
Moving to a new town can be electrifying, especially if it's your first time being on your own. Having the freedom to do whatever you want, when you want is liberating and now you get to experience that in an exciting new place.
So you moved and you're free... until school starts. So what the heck do you do? Well before you try to bust out the shot glasses and attempt a dorm party, maybe try these few things instead. I promise you, the parties will come later, but maybe you should "establish" yourself first. And by establish- I mean find all your school year essentials. And by essentials, I'm not talking about pencils and pens. I'm talking about the important stuff. The coffee shop you're going to live in, the clubs you're going to survive with, and an actual idea of what college is going to be like for the year.
Forget Everything You Think You Know About College
If you think that college is going to be filled with partying, hooking up, and drunk nights walking around downtown with your best friends singing at the top of your lungs... yeah you're in for a letdown. Don't get me wrong, there will be some awesome nights where you make memories to last a lifetime. I know I have my fair share of them. But for the most part, college is about trying to survive and work the system with your best friends supporting you every bit of the way.
I met my best friend while attending the University of California, Santa Cruz and, now, 2 years after I graduated we're still best friends even though we now live 3 hours away and go to different colleges. When we do get a chance to get together, we love to talk about our favorite memories while in undergrad. Some of them were about the crazy drinking nights we had in downtown Santa Cruz, but most were about the crazy allnighters we had to pull in our classes or about the horrible classes we endured together.
I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that there are going to be crazy nights out and crazy nights in. Everyone's college experience is a little different so don't go into it with these pre-imposed ideas of what your college experience should be like. Stay true to yourself, make friends that have the same goals as you, and do whatever makes you happy.
Find Your Essential Home Away From Homes
Since school hasn't started yet, this is the perfect time for you to explore your new town. When I first moved to Santa Cruz I went out every day and explored. I mostly did the touristy stuff because I had never been there before and it was a good starting off point. I checked yelp a lot to find cute cafes and eateries and made a mental note. This is especially important to find eateries and cafes in town and on campus so that when you grow to hate your roommate (fingers crossed it doesn't happen) or need a change of scenery during midterms and finals you have a go-to place. I had 3 cafes and 2 eateries that I frequented because they were open late. Even now, in Fresno, I have 2 cafes and 2 eateries on my short list. I recommend finding places that have nice decor, late hours, free wifi, available food late at night, and preferably free parking. Free parking was near impossible in Santa Cruz, but a girl can dream.
Find Your Next Club/Activity at the Club & Resource Fair
Clubs in high school, when compared to college clubs, are like pee-wee football compared to the NFL. Clubs in college are huge, literally and figuratively, everyone belongs to something. And I'm not talking about National Honor Society and Key Club, I'm talking about surfing clubs, sailing clubs, hiking clubs, traveling clubs, academic journal clubs, pre-health clubs, mixed-race students clubs, scuba clubs, religious clubs, and SO MANY FREAKIN MORE! Usually, during the first week of or before classes start, there will be a huge fair and every club will have a booth that you can visit. Make a day out of it and get a couple contenders.
However, don't sign up for too many because they're all pretty time consuming and as a member, you're going to be required to do a lot more than just show up to meetings.
Don't Be Lame and Talk to Your Roommates and Hallmates
College is a time to find people and make deep meaningful connections. You guys have heard the expression "you're my person"? Well, I didn't understand what that meant until I went to college and met my person. Never before did I have a friend who would be there if I was sick and needed medication and food at midnight, someone to call when I was in mid-panic mode about school, or the person who helps you figure out your life at 2 am; those are the friendships you need in college. Don't stick to your high school or community college friends, open up and put yourself out there. There will be so many interesting people to meet.
It also makes your year way easier if you get along with your roommates and hallmates. Those will be the people that you will see everyday and everywhere. These are the people you're going to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and see if your general classes. College is big, but it's not that big. Don't be the person that has the roommate constantly locking you out and leaving you homeless. Start off on the right foot.
Get a Planner and Glue it to Your Body
College is a balancing act between socializing and studying. No matter the cost, find a planner or app that you love to use (if you don't love it you're not going to use it). Start by looking up your schools' academic calendar for the 2018-2019 school year. Here you can find when the first day is, all the holidays, when finals are, and major breaks. Write this sh*t down! Then start filling in all of your personal dates that you need to remember. If you're anything like me, when things get hectic I'll forget it unless it's written down somewhere. Even for this blog, I have an editorial calendar because I forget what topics I'm publishing when and all the little details. Once you get it situated with those dates, put it aside until the first day of class, then once you have all your syllabi, enter all of the important dates into the calendar. This will save you, I swear! To this day I still do this the week before school and I always have my planner on me.
If you're excited to start your new life or are homesick, I hope these activities help you "establish" yourself and make you excited for your future life in college. Collge is all about the experience so don't sell yourself short!
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