As I am sure most people have heard, college is considered to be "the best years of your life." You are probably living on your own for the first time - maybe ever! You are discovering who you really are, with no judgments or preconceived notions of who you should be or who you were from the people back home. For most freshmen, they want to make sure that they are doing everything they can to help ease themselves into the next chapter of their life. After looking back on my freshman year, here are all the things that I wish I did and all the things that I am glad I did.
1. Go to Orientation
If you have the opportunity, I would highly recommend going to your college's orientation event! This is one of your first opportunities to see just what you have in store for the next four years. Going into my freshman year, I was anxious about what all my school had to offer me. Typically, an orientation offers glimpses into student life, organizations, housing, financial aid, etc. If you may be unsure of what the next chapter will be about or are just excited to even get a glimpse, your school's orientation is a great first step.
2. Join Social Media Groups
In a lot of cases, you may not know anyone at college. In some cases, you may just want a chance to start fresh and meet new people that are in a similar position. Either way, in today's age full of varying technology, there are so many new ways to connect with your future classmates! Facebook groups, Instagram hashtags, and/or Twitter threads could all be the next step towards finding some new friends for life! A simple search for your college's name and graduation year should be all that you need. Or even just a search for general freshman college groups to talk to from people all around the country in the same shoes as you!
3. Connect with Roommates or Suitemates
Most colleges nowadays either let you choose your roommate or prepare you with a questionnaire so they can pick the best roommate suited to your needs and preferences. If this is the case and you know of your roommates/suitemates, reach out and talk to them! These are the people that you will be spending a lot of time with especially in those first few weeks when you do not know many people. Just a simple conversation about what they may be most excited about for the year or the type of shampoo they use can make anyone feel much better knowing that you have a friend waiting for you at your new home.
4. Dorm Room Shopping
For the months before my move-in date, I was constantly on Amazon and Pinterest trying to create the perfect dorm room. Back home, I have had almost the same set of furniture and bedding for years! So when I knew exactly where I was going for school, I knew that this was my chance to shop until I dropped (or better said - my wallet.) For some, this may be your first time away from home for a long period of time so it is nice to start your year with the perfect room for you!
5. Research Majors and Minors
While not necessary, it can be beneficial to know some areas of interest before starting your first year. There are so many job opportunities and areas of study to choose from that you could find something that you never expected to light that spark inside of you! I went into school just a journalism major, but after doing some initial research, I am studying theatre and creative writing as well. My whole future has changed just because I decided to do some research and expand my horizons!
6. Get Updated on Vaccines and Medications
Many places nowadays require up-to-date vaccinations and their proof of record to go with it. For example, in the state of North Carolina (where I am from), I was required to have vaccinations for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, and Hepatitis B. Many schools take these health precautions very seriously so I would recommend gathering all of your vaccination papers or calling your doctor to get up-to-date on them if that is within your realm of possibility.
7. Make Sure Your Car is Up-To-Date
For many schools, freshmen are not allowed a vehicle on campus unless there is an extenuating circumstance, like work or caring for a sick relative. But many schools are starting to lift that ban! If this is the case and you have a car, I would highly recommend getting a routine check to ensure that your car is ready to go. Having to fix your car can be grueling, time-consuming, and expensive - especially for a new college student. So avoid that by getting it checked and making sure it is locked and loaded for all the new adventures you will be taking!
8. Spend Time with Your Family and Friends
While college is a wonderful time to make new friends and create a home away from home, it can be hard to leave a lot of your family and friends behind. So treasure the time you have with them! Try new things or tell them how much they mean to you or even just be in each other's company. If they truly love you, they will be excited for the new journey of possibilities you are about to embark on at school. Who says you cannot have the best of both worlds?
Those were some of my personal tips for what to try and get done before you start your freshman year at college! Obviously, there are plenty of more things you could do - explore your hometown, update your wardrobe, or even get a job. But these are the things that I truly believe will help heighten your success for the new chapter in your life. Good luck and congrats!