5 Things Every Student Needs to Know Before Starting College

Updated: Feb 03, 2021 15:23
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The prospect of heading off to college is an exciting one for many students, as it will be their first experience living away from home. While it is certainly going to be an adventure, chances are you might also so miss some of your home comforts. The transition from high school to college or university won’t be all fun and games. In fact, there will be lots of highs and lows for you to contend with.

For this reason, it is important to acknowledge some of the realities before you set off on this new chapter of your life. Having an accurate picture of college life will also allow you to manage your expectations accordingly and not be too shocked if things don’t go as planned. Rest assured, your college experience will be fun, and it is something that most people look back on fondly.  To help you on your way, here are a few tips every college student should know:

How to Police Your Own Food Intake

The ‘Freshman 15’ is the phrase used to describe the 15 or so pounds the average freshman student gains in their first semester of university.  Between the easy access to fast food and the variety of sweets available at the college cafeteria, it won’t be long till those pounds start piling on. Without mom on your back about eating well, it is also easy for students to start missing meals and overeating to compensate later. You’ll need to start exercising self-control whenme you walk past the food hall or vending machine. In addition to becoming your own food police, learning to cook for yourself and a little regular exercise will also help keep the weight off and make you generally happier as well.

Skipping Class Makes No Financial Sense

College costs vary widely depending on where you choose to go to school.  With that being said, at a typical private college attending average class will cost around $200. While you can expect to receive a good education for that price, skipping classes make no financial sense, no matter how fun the alternative may be. Missing lectures simply means you’re throwing money down the drain. Regardless of whether it’s a loan you’ve taken out, part of a financial aid package or your parents’ cash, it’s still money that could be better spent elsewhere. Be sure to treat each class as though you are paying for it using your own money.

Work Hard, Play Later

On a related note, it’s important to bear in mind that you’re at university to get a qualification. The mainstream media may portray college as a place full of social opportunities and frat house parties, but  juggling the academic requirements of college with a social life and various other activities is easier said than done. To make matters worse, there won’t really be anyone there to criticize the balance you strike between your studies and personal pursuits, so it’s up to you to get things right. Although you might get evaluations in certain classes, most of these won’t happen before the midterms, and by then it could be too late to rectify a failing grade.

Maintain Home Ties

Naturally, many students are eager to leave home and fully immerse themselves in the excitement of the college experience. Once you arrive on campus, you’re likely to get caught up in an array of activities, from studying to socializing and sport. Don’t forget about your  family and friends back at home. Whether it’s an empty seat at the dining table or Friday movie night with your best friend, people will miss you. Be sure to check in with them on a regular basis. You’ll be home for the holidays soon enough, and maintaining those home ties will be a comfort when times get tough at college.

Make the Most of Every Moment

Talk to anyone who has been through the college system and they’ll tell you that time will fly by. Before you know it, you’ll be taking to the podium in your cap and gown. There will be ups and downs, but the postsecondary experience is a unique period in a person’s life. It will be the first time in your life that you will have the freedom to organize your time as you see fit. Furthermore, this is a transitionary period between childhood and adulthood, where you’ll need to start considering responsibilities like the cost of maintaining a home. Be sure to enjoy every moment while it lasts.

Your college years will certainly be formative, so seize all the opportunities that come your way. Enjoy the experience, but also be sensible about the financial implications of your decisions. Remember that the habits you pick up during your college years are likely to form a big part of the foundation of your life. Try to establish healthy patterns, form strong friendships and set yourself up for a bright future.

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