College move in is just around the corner and for some of you, you've already packed up and left the nest. You are entering uncharted waters and it's a really intimidating process. You have to learn an entirely new place all while deciding how you want your daily routine to be and going to classes. As you begin to get used to this new place you now call home there are a few things I encourage you to do.
Before going too far into the post, I want to mention that this post is a collaboration with my friend Renee over at her blog Gimme Glamour. She's a rising sophomore at Elon and is also sharing her top things freshmen should do their first semester. Go read her post over here, and check out her Instagram here. We both learned a lot out freshmen year, and are so thrilled to share our advice with you today. If you know of anybody who could use these tips, you can share this post on Facebook of Twitter! Also make sure to comment below what you're favorite tip was.
Expand Your Circle -- When you first move in, you pretty much will know nobody. Maybe a few folks from high school or a neighbor but really, you're in a sea of strangers at college. I first moved into a suite where I had one roommate and two other suite mates. We all hung out together and it seemed like we we're each others friends and that was it. Nobody really got to know the other people living in the dorm. I branched out to meet other hall mates once things began to turn south with my roommate. I am so happy I did! I met incredible people and made some pretty great friends throughout the process. Make sure you get to know your hall mates, because it could blossom into a great friendship. Once I moved in October, I lived in a hall style dorm where every single girl that lived on the floor knew each other. I'm talking 40 girls, all getting along and getting to know one another. It was so refreshing. Don't stop at your dorm either. Talk to people in your classes and get to know the person in your orientation group. You never know what may come out of these interactions.
Always Be Prepared -- When I say this, I mean always set yourself up for success. College might not be harder than high school but it is way different that high school and it takes a little bit of time to get adjusted. In preparation for the day, make sure you have your papers printed before leaving the dorm, have water with you, keep headphones with you, always have your agenda, carry your computer and phone chargers with you. Just make sure that you are prepared for whatever your professor might throw your way.
Join an Extracurricular -- Once getting to college, I was a little hesitant to join an extracurricular. In high school I was a part of every club or society I could because I wanted to stack my applications with the best possible positions and organizations. I was on student government, NHS, Beta club, varsity sports -- you name it, I probably did it at a point in time. In college you can join a club out of pure enjoyment, not because you feel the need to join for an ulterior motive. This doesn't necessarily mean going out and joining Greek Life either, this means joining something that you have passion for. You can join club racquetball, chess club, hiking club, YoungLife, club skiing, the Nursing fraternity, the list goes on and on. Renee and I are both members of Greek Life; her in AOPi and myself in ADPi, but I definitely plan on extanding my circle this year. Maybe be a tour guide or a member of an academic club. Through these activities, you will meet tons of people who will at least have one thing in common with you.
Get to Know Your College Town -- You're town might not have a lot to offer, or at least you thought it didn't. Get to know your college town a little bit your first semester. As much as you already know about the campus, getting a good idea of what your town is a nice little adventure and gives you that feeling of a normal routine. I said my freshman year that living on campus is utopia. You eat, sleep, and breathe in a little bubble of life. There are not many cars, and your only interact with students and staff only. Get to know the place like a local. Harrisonburg is small and mainly farm country but I know of a great pumpkin patch, apple orchard, wildflower field, best spot to get ice cream, best local pizza, and I even have a "church" that I prefer more than others. Getting to know this college town of yours, will help you feel much more at home. It will benefit you when you move off campus as an upperclassmen. Take the time to go and explore downtown. Find out which places to avoid as well as which places are recommended.
Maintain a Budget -- I saved up some money before heading off to college, not nearly as much as a should but upwards of $1000 and I still ran out of money before March. When you start off your college experience, make sure to establish a budget. Make a late night pizza fun, a t-shirt fund, a "hey let's waste an afternoon at Target" fund. Make sure to save money for Uber rides, grocery store runs, and money for rides home. If you ever need to make money in college, I ended up selling some clothes as a last minute resort, but there are some great jobs on college campuses, and if you have a car you can give sober rides. The best thing to ask yourself if if you really need something. I shopped for clothes twice this past year and regretted it both times -- one because the money factor, and two because I already had a teeny closet. I had no space for anything! Just thing frugal and be sparing with money. It will be so beneficial in the long run.
Make sure to check out Renee's post linked at the top of this post!