Career

A Comprehensive Freshman Survival Guide

Fret Not, High School Grads: Here's The Freshman Survival Guide

Bhoomika GhaghadaCareer,,,,,
  1. During your first week, carry a box of cookies in your bag: You may not get time between lectures that are close together and they’re a ice-breaker.
  2. Don’t buy your textbooks until after the second class: Your professor will indicate whether you need them and they’re quite expensive. Use online sources instead.
  3. Befriend a senior: They are indispensable tools for getting through. They’ll let you in on how different professors work, tell you which courses not to take and can show you the ins and outs of the campus.
  4. Use your free electives to grow: Don’t take a course because it’s an easy A. Pick photography, dance, theatre – something you haven’t explored before and you’ll surprise yourself.
  5. Get to know your advisor. They’ll guide you through the sticky bits of registration.
  6. Always wake up early on registration day. Always, or you may not get the courses you need.
  7. It’s okay to feel a bit lost during the transition from school to college. It might take you a while to find your feet [academically and socially]. Keep calm and seek advice from the right people [You can write in to us – we’re always here].
  8. Resist the temptation and comfort of sticking with your own clique/culture. Interacting with people from different parts of the world will expand your mind in ways you can’t imagine.
  9. Keep a log of what you’ve learned, re-learned and re-evaluated every semester about everything in your life: world views, love, politics, interests. You’ll see how much you evolve through this time [Tweet it if you like]. One of the key things college teaches you is to acknowledge when you are wrong.
  10. Visit your professors during their office hours. Make use of the time you have with them because it can add a lot of value, both to your academic and personal life.
  11. Don’t take 8am classes if you can help it – You’ll think you can handle it because you’ve risen early all your life, but college life is different [unless you’re a morning person]. Don’t take 5-9pm classes if you can help it too.
  12. Sign up for a sports team or interest club, but make sure it’s active. It’s a great way to socialise and get involved.
  13. Be careful if you’re drinking at house parties. You don’t want your first few experiences to ruin everyone’s night and your affinity for parties.
  14. Make sure you stay in at least 3 nights a week, either catching up on work or investing in a passion project. Make time for things other than socialising and studying.
  15. Learn to cook if you’re living on your own: Take-out is expensive almost everywhere and will probably intensify bad eating habits.
  16. For the first day of classes every semester, note down the numbers of your lecture halls in chronological order. It’s easy to get lost on big campuses and there’s nothing some instructors hate more than tardiness.
  17. Get into the habit of making checklists. You’re going to need to tidy up the way you tackle work.
  18. If you’re a coffee-drinker, limit Starbucks indulgences to once a week. Carry a travel mug from home for the other 4 days, or you’ll soon find it difficult to function.
  19. Don’t rely on your credit cards to buy things. Cash is much easier to handle and makes it easier to keep track of your expenses.
  20. Download ‘Wally’ now and at the end of each day, get into the habit of jotting down your daily expenses.
  21. Keep a spending cap on your weekend outings. That way you’ll stay sober and financially secure.
  22. Don’t hesitate to ask for a number if you meet someone you think you really click with.
  23. Pay attention in English and Writing classes to citation lessons. It will be the bane of your existence if you choose to tune it out for 4 years. [Pssht – use this website: http://www.citationmachine.net]
  24. Get familiar with Sparknotes: http://www.sparknotes.com. You’re welcome.
  25. Pay attention to deadlines. If you can tell you’re not going to be able to meet one, talk to your professor for an extension [They’re nice like that, but don’t make a habit of it].
  26. Learn how to use Google Drive if you don’t know how to already [you can simultaneously edit and work on the same excel/word/powerpoint files with your group mates from different laptops]. It will save your life during group projects.

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