You may have an idea of what to expect, or college may seem unimaginable to you. Whatever the case, we are here to give you a sneak peek of what to expect as a college student.
First off, the college experience will be different for everyone. Your daily life will be dependent on many things; the school you are attending, the classes you are taking, the organizations you become involved with, even the residence hall you are living in. It is perfectly fine if your experience is drastically different from the experiences of your high school friends. Everyone has to forge their own path and find a social and academic setting that makes them happy. It may take some time, but with persistence, hard work, and the support of those in your corner, every student has the ability to be successful in college!
So, what IS college life all about?
- Transitioning Can Be Challenging!
- For some students, leaving home can be intimidating. Even if you’re ready to leave home, you may find yourself missing friends, family, and even your hometown.
- Keep your head up! Your new college home may seem uncomfortable at first, but it will become more familiar. Some students take a week to adjust, others take an entire year. Whatever the case may be, don’t think you’ve made a mistake just because you don’t feel quite like yourself the first couple weeks or months.
- Remember the resources you have. Don’t be afraid to talk with the people around you if you are missing home or struggling to adjust. Chances are, your roommate, hallmate, or even classmate is going through the same thing and will welcome to opportunity to talk things through. Attend “College 101” workshops offered by student organizations such as the Student Union to get to know fellow first years. Take advantage of campus resources that are there to support transitioning first-years such as Counseling and Psychological Services, academic advisers, and even professors.
- It’s All About Balance and Time Management
- Unlike in high school, you won’t have your parents/guardians, teachers, counselors, and other adults reminding you of when to do your homework, when to go to soccer practice, when to eat, when to sleep, when to wake up, and when to spend time with your friends.
- There will be many things competing for your time and attention; new friends, campus organizations, academics, self-care, keeping up with family, sporting events, and a vibrant social scene. It is imperative that you prioritize these things and decide how you should spend your time. Remember, you are at college first and foremost to be a student. Classes, homework, and studying should be your top priority. It is also a good idea to find a campus or community organization to become involved with. Just remember, it is better to be strongly committed to a couple organizations rather than spreading yourself too thin.
- You will have far more free time in college than you were used to in high school. While it is okay to leave some time open to relax and spend time with friends, it is also a great idea to set some scheduled time each week specifically for studying. For example, you might decide that every Monday, Wednesday and Friday after your 9:00 a.m. Biology 101 class you are going to go to the library to study and review your Biology notes before your 1:00 p.m. History class.
- For each credit hour you are in class, you should study 3 hours outside of class each week. If you can study a little each week, it will pay off when that first exam rolls around.
- Your Residence Hall is Your New Home
- When you move away from home, your roommate, suitemates, and hallmates become your new family, and your Resident Adviser (RA) is there to support you in any way possible.
- Most residence halls will have a community governing organization that, along with RAs and community directors, will host social events for residents. Take advantage of this opportunity to get to know those living around you. Not only are these events fun, engaging, and usually free, there is almost always FREE FOOD and other giveaways!
- If you can develop a strong community within your residence hall, every day will be like living right next door to hundreds of your closest friends. That being said, it is okay if you do not feel an instant connection with your roommate. It may be an adjustment to share a small space with someone you’ve just met, so be patient and open. Together and as early as possible, discuss expectations for your room so you can avoid as many issues as possible.
- You Will NEVER Run Out of Things to Do
- As a college student, you have a plethora of things to do on campus! Go to a sporting event (not just football and basketball), catch a free acapella concert or dance recital, take advantage of an exercise class that comes with your free gym membership, partake in a campus tradition, or just sit on the quad for an afternoon and people watch.
- You should also remember to check out things going on in the surrounding community, such as festivals, performing arts, and other community initiatives.
The road may be bumpy at times, but ultimately YOU are in control of taking advantage of as many resources and opportunities as possible to be successful. You’ve got a lot of people in your corner, and we here at the Carolina College Advising Corps believe in you. College is what you make it, so get out there and shine!