Making the leap from high school to college is a giant step that’s incredibly hard to prepare for. Academically, you’re reading for a new landscape of learning and advanced curriculum; socially, you’re ready to expand your circle and meet new faces; and mentally, you’re ready to get out of the bubble known as your hometown. Despite all of the excitement, there’s still a bit of apprehension you’re feeling-and that’s completely normal!
The reality is that college is a huge life step. Learning independence, self-sufficiency, and being okay with stepping outside your comfort zone takes a certain level of maturity that you’re ready for. If the many what-ifs about your future have been keeping you up at night, let us ease your mind. These 15 things every college student should know will best prepare you for collegiate-level confidence.
- Budgeting will be your best friend
No one tells you this, but being a student is basically a full-time job. Most of the time you spend outside of class is spent studying and preparing for the next class-which means little to no time working a part-time job. Budget your money well so you’re never stretched too thin.
- You won’t like everyone, and that’s okay
Making friends is one of the most exciting parts about college, but you’ll quickly find that you don’t hit it off with every single person you meet. And that’s fine! College is about self-discovery, figuring out what you like and what you don’t like, and people are no exception.
- Your major is changeable
Just because you go into freshman year as a decided business major doesn’t mean you’re beholden to it for all four years. If you find yourself suddenly feeling more passionate about political science, chase that dream. Switching majors is completely normal.
- A car may not be a must-have essential
Buying and owning a car is no easy process. From figuring out where to buy a car to regular maintenance costs, you might find that a car on campus is more of a financial burden than a beneficial gain.
- Highlighters and index cards are the best study tools
Simple as they may seem, index cards and highlighters truly change the study game.
- Your advisor is your beacon of information
We can’t stress this enough-if you’re ever feeling confused about anything academic, reach out to your advisor to chat. They’re well equipped with the knowledge to help you with just about anything, and if they don’t have an immediate answer for you, they’ll find someone that does.
- Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience
If you have the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in a foreign country, pounce on it. Being able to immerse yourself within a new culture will just make you a better-rounded, open-minded individual.
- Review sessions aren’t for nerds
Take advantage of review sessions held by professors or teaching assistants. Your grades will reflect your out-of-class efforts.
- Living with roommates isn’t for everyone
Living in your own room at home will feel like a long lost memory after growing used to sharing your space. Some people love having roommates and some hate it. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, know that your feelings are normal.
- You’ll need to care for your mental health
Collegiate-level academia and your associated responsibilities are intense. It’s important to make time to care for your mental health by taking breaks, going for a walk, or spending weekends away from campus. Anything to refresh your headspace!
- Student discounts will score you deep discounts
Living frugally in college is easier than you think. Be sure to scour all of your favorite shopping spots for student discounts. You never know how much you could score on a simple thrift shop purchase.
- You’ll need to know how to do laundry
Mom and Dad won’t be there to collect all of your dirty things and make them new again, so you’ll have to learn the ways of the Laundromat.
- Goal-setting will keep you on track
In college, there won’t be people hounding you to get your homework done and pushing you to stay motivated throughout the school year. You’ll have to be your own cheerleader if you want to make those 4.0 dreams a reality.
- Grades aren’t everything
It may feel like the end of the world at that moment, but a C+ on that sociology test really won’t matter all that much in a year’s time. Stay focused on your overall degree rather than nitpicking single test grades-it’s best for your sanity, trust us!
- Being homesick is okay
Being away from family may mean losing immediate access to your support system, and there’s nothing easy about that. Anytime you’re feeling nostalgic for your hometown and family, consider a weekend visit. Get out there and explore that whole new world, you’re prepared and ready to go, now you just have to do it.