Whether you were a straight-A student or a bit of a slacker in high school, heading to college means starting with a clean slate. It also means venturing into uncharted territory, both socially and academically. Those first weeks of freshman year leave many students feeling stressed, but a little planning goes a long way in helping you get the hang of college living. From getting to know your roommate to becoming an expert in organization, these college tips are key to preparing for the school year so you can ace your classes while enjoying college life to the fullest.
Talk to Your Roommate Before Getting to Campus
Whether you like it or not, your roommate is soon to become one of the people you spend the most time with. For an easy transition into dorm living, don't move in without first giving your new roomie a call. Discuss what you are bringing so you don't end up with two mini fridges, and find out if there are any items you should avoid bringing for medical reasons, such as allergies.
While you're breaking the ice, schedule a place and time to meet and get to know each other when you first get to campus. Grabbing a cup of coffee provides a great opportunity to connect and get off on the right foot. You can also take this time to set ground rules for your dorm room. Another option for roommate bonding is to go shopping for rugs, mirrors and other room decor together. This also helps ensure that your room has coordinating colors and patterns.
Choose a Laptop and Backpack to Fit Your Lifestyle
Even if your college doesn't require that you buy a laptop, having one lets you study in your room, at the coffee shop or in the library while keeping assignments and essays at your fingertips. Choose a durable laptop that isn't likely to die in the middle of your final essay. If you need to carry your laptop to class every day, choose a lightweight model to simplify your cross-campus trek. Don't forget to install a good anti-virus program to keep your computer work-ready whenever you need it.
On the topic of carrying your laptop to class, don't forget to purchase a sturdy laptop backpack for college. A laptop backpack lets you easily transport your computer while protecting it from scratches and other damage. Look for a bag that fits the dimensions of your laptop, has ample cushioning to protect all your gadgets, and includes storage for your power cord and computer accessories. Computers bags also come in a variety of colors and designs, so choose one that lets your personality show.
Make Organization a Top Priority
If you're not an organized person, college is the perfect time to become one. Buy a handheld organizer to keep track of reading to complete, due dates for assignments, quiz dates and exam dates so you can stay on top of homework. You can also find organization apps for smartphones, but keep in mind that many professors don't allow phones in class.
Want to avoid losing your assignments or accidentally tossing your syllabus in the recycling bin? Extend your organization solutions to your dorm room with hanging folders, standing filers and document trays to keep all your assignments in their place. Consider placing labels such as In Progress and Graded on your folders. A messy work area productivity killer, so also consider a desktop organizer to keep your study area clutter-free.
Finally, pack light to avoid over-stuffing your small dorm room, and get a good desk lamp for those all-nighters. Stress is a natural part of freshman year, so don't be afraid to visit an on-campus counselor if you're having a hard time handling it. With the right attitude and preparation, college life can be just as fun as it's meant to be.
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