If you think high school is hard, you’ll be in for a real treat on your first year in college. That’s because now, you can’t lean on your parents for help with basic tasks like cooking, paying bills, and cleaning your dorm room.
But it’s also a great opportunity for you to learn independence and self-sufficiency. It’s part of growing up and becoming an adult, terrifying everyone when they first step foot on campus. So, here are 12 tips that will help you feel like a grown-up during your freshman year at college:
It can take some time to adjust to being in college
You might feel overwhelmed at first due to the new people you meet, classes that are more rigorous than you expected, and pressure to find a job or internship before graduation day. But remember: this is all part of college life, and it’s temporary. Someday, you’ll look back at your freshman year as the time that you learned to handle big changes with ease.
You’re expected to take care of yourself
Take classes that will push you academically, sign up for clubs and organizations, figure out which meal plan works best for you in the dining hall, and ask for help if you need it. But you managed to push through your ABM courses in senior high school, so you’re going to manage this time around too.
College can be a confusing place
Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean college will be any less confusing. It’s more important than ever that you learn how to manage your time and balance a social life with coursework. And remember that sometimes, having a “learning experience” isn’t the worst thing in the world.
You don’t have to know everything right away
It’s okay if you don’t know where the campus gym is, how to make a budget, or how to cook for yourself. If you don’t know all the answers, that’s fine. Ask questions and learn as you go because everyone had to start somewhere, too.
Take advantage of all the opportunities available
Don’t be afraid to get involved and try new things. If you want to join a club or organization, go for it. If there’s an event that interests you on campus, don’t hesitate. And if you need help with something at school, don’t be afraid to ask for it. It’s easier than you think.
You might take on debt to afford college
Many people at this age are trying to figure out how they’re going to pay for tuition and housing without their parents’ help. If you can, talk to your parents about paying for college and consider working a job to cover the rest of your expenses.
Know how to handle money
You might think you’re not old enough to deal with this kind of thing, but the truth is that now you need to know how to budget and spend your money wisely. If you don’t, it will be hard for you to pay for basic expenses, which makes it harder to buy books, get a meal plan, and go out with friends.
The hard work doesn’t end when you graduate high school
It might have felt like high school was the hardest thing you’ll ever do in your life, but college is a lot more challenging. Now you have to maintain a high GPA while taking on a new workload and maybe even juggling a part-time job. It’s going to be tough, but remember that it will be worth it when you get that diploma in hand.
Get involved with campus life
There are so many opportunities to get involved at college and make a name for yourself. Join clubs, volunteer in your community, or do something that you’re passionate about on campus. If something interests you, don’t hesitate to put yourself out there and become involved!
Don’t be afraid to try new things
It might sound cliched, but college is where you’re going to learn a lot about yourself and what interests you. That’s not going to happen if you don’t take advantage of the opportunities and experiences that college offers. It might be scary, but it will all pay off in the end when you find out what makes your heart sing.
You’ll miss your family, but it’s okay
It will be lonely at first without your parents. You can take them out to dinner when they come to visit you on campus or communicate with them through Skype or send pictures of everything that interests you. It might not seem like it now, but having this time apart will make the relationship even stronger when you move back home.
You might not be able to work as much as you like
If you’re paying for college yourself, it can be awkward asking professors and other students if you could get the notes from their classes because it was a busy week and you had other things going on. Don’t feel bad about it, especially if you still have to get groceries or pay your bills because it’s not just about studying.
You’ve graduated from high school and are excited that the hard part is over. College can be a big change for many people, but don’t worry. It’s going to be a great time in your life where you get to grow up fast and do so many things for the first time!