Living on Campus: 4 Tips to Survive Your First Year on Your Own

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  • You were so excited to graduate high school. A whole new world of opportunity seemed to open its doors to you, and you left graduation with a smile on your face and a skip in your step. But after you finished the application, registered for classes, and bought your books and other supplies, you realized just how daunting your first year at college will be. How will you pay for everything? Who’s going to do your laundry when your mom’s not around? Are you enrolled for too many credits?

    While your freshman year at a university is likely the first time you live independently, it’s also a time for unforgettable fun and enriching education. Read on to learn four tips on how to successfully make it through your fist year.

    Make Friends and Establish Rules with Your Roommates

    Whether or not you move into a shared room, get to know your roommates. Go beyond asking them what they’re studying and where they’re from. Break the ice by connecting through your shared interests and tastes.

    In addition to establishing what could become lifelong friendships, gather together with your roommates and set housekeeping rules or tasks. If you don’t make specific assignments, at least decide whether or not certain kitchen or bathroom items are free-reign.

    Hone Your Financial Responsibility

    If you’ve had a job and a bank account before, you might find financial responsibilities easier to adjust to in college. But if you’re new to independent finances, ask your bank questions. Some banks operate right on campus for your convenience. Meet with your personal banker for answers to your questions or concerns.

    Keep your debit and credit cards safe, update your personal information on your bank’s website, and keep track of how much money you spend. If you’re planning on an on-campus job, visit your school’s employment center. You need to know how much you spend each month and what you earn to develop a good budget.

    Socialize and Have Fun, But Stay Safe

    Within a couple weeks, you might find yourself with tons of new friends and participating in all kinds of activities with them. Remember to keep a healthy balance of schoolwork and social time. Enjoy yourself at sports events, dance parties, and dates. But take care to avoid dangerous drugs, alcohol, or other illegal substances or activities.

    Stay away from drinking and driving. Too many car accidents and too much legal trouble ensues when irresponsible drinking happens on campus. According to the Pearce law firm, some of the most common types of car accidents in Philadelphia are related to drinking and driving.

    Establish Good Study Habits

    You may find it difficult to get back to classes the next morning after a long night’s partying. But to achieve good grades, you need to take studying seriously. Make an effort to enjoy your classes. Participate and contribute to engaging discussions. Get to know your professors outside the classroom.

    When you proactively visit teachers during their office hours, you receive individual help while creating lasting connections. And as you make friends with your classmates, you open doors for fun group study sessions and increased study time in the library. And even just venting to classmates about tough assignments can alleviate stress as you discover that others like you are in the same boat.

    When you struggle to get through your first round of midterms, you might forget that college is home to some of the best experiences of your life. Remember to seek out memorable opportunities both academically and socially.

    Live your freshman year in a way that will grant joyful memories as you reflect back on it as a graduate. When you remember these tips, your first year at college can become one of the greatest, most developmental years of your life.

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