1. Go to class.
This isn’t high school anymore when your parents will actually know you’re playing hooky. This is real life. This is the start to your future as an adult. Take it seriously! Don’t waste that hard earned money and scholarship time. We get it. You may want to snuggle up and watch a movie on Netflix with your new bestie aka roomie after a night on the town. Priorities, girl. Priorities! Get your hiney up and to class. Trust me when I say…. professors NOTICE. Even in large stadium classes. They throw pop attendance quizzes, they schedule paper turn-in times. They know the drill. Be the best of the best! We know you are!
PS: I learned SO much from going to class. 90% of all midterm questions were from class discussions and notes I took… not reading and cramming from a book the night before! Just sayin!
2. Do not buy your books before classes start.
Always wait until the professor explains exactly what he/she needs for class discussions and exam prep. I made the mistake of “over-preparing” and buying my books ahead of time. Luckily, I could return these after first week of classes.9 times out of 10, they rely off of class notes and discussions rather than text books for exam questions. My college had options of new or used books. I always opted for the used… they were cheaper and already had highlighted notes in them! Make sure to keep your books in good condition. Most college bookstores buy them back at the end of the year.
3. Make an appointment with your advisor.
Before choosing my schedule for the semester, I would ALWAYS see my advisor. This is a great way to make sure you are staying on track for graduation. I had SO many friends that didn’t do this and ended up staying more semesters to finish remming credits. Don’t be that girl! You will go to an advisor specific to your advisor. They are trained to know about all the classes, the professors, and the credits needed for graduation. This is a great benchmark. It’s great to be “in the know” and have a business relationship with your advisor. If you ever need letters of rec, advice, etc… he/she is the perfect person to go to!
4. Research on the classes you have signed up to take.
After meeting with your advisor… do your own homework. Ratemyprofessor.com is a great tool to use when researching classes to take. I used this site ALL the time. Don’t be TOO reliant on this. Everyone has an opinion. Don’t take a class just because it says “Easy A.” Ask older friends their opinions on teachers/classes. Professors make a huge difference in your overall college experience and learning. You want to make sure you are getting the best education possible in the best way possible. Being in a sorority was so helpful in this manner. Older sisters guided us to pick the best classes and professors based on our majors and kept us on track.
5. Talk with your professors.
This is one of my favorite rules. Don’t worry about being the teachers pet. This is college. We’re all adults here. Professors LOVE to see students getting involved and being passionate about their classes. It is their job (and passion) after all! Stay after class to ask a question about a homework assignment or paper. When a professor has office hours… GO! This is your time to get to know the professor (and vice versa) as well as get extra tips and help for your next midterm and final. I enjoyed so many of my professors. They wrote me recommendation letters for post-college jobs and beyond. This tip is truly vital!
6. Get involved on campus.
This is another of my personal MUST DO’s in college. Being involved is a great way to make friends and make a difference on your campus. There are so many groups and organizations for different interests. Try a few! You can always be involved in more than one organization. Keep in mind this is GREAT for your resume. Fill that baby up!
7. Volunteer. Get an internship / job.
Volunteering at the local kids club was one of my favorite experiences in college. I got involved in volunteering through an organization I was in (see # 6) which required volunteer hours. No only is this a resume builder, but it’s a great way to give back and interact with your fellow students. I didn’t have a job while I was in college. I was fortunate enough to be able to focus on my studies and involvement. If I were to go back, I’d probably get a part-time job at a boutique. Extra money and discounts. What could be better? During summer breaks and holidays, I interned at a resort as part of my major credits. This was a great way for me to get real time experience in the field I was majoring in!
8. Make new friends.
Make new friends, and keep the old. That’s all good and dandy. When entering into college, my piece of advice is to branch out. You will always have your friends that will last a lifetime (if they are truly those friends). Take this experience to make new friends that you will grow with and experience a new part of life with. During my 4 years at FSU (GO NOLES) I made the most incredible friends who I will call my best friends and sisters for the rest of my life. It’s a new journey! Embrace it!
9. Save your money.
I’ll have to admit. This is a toughie. One of the many things college teaches you is budgeting. I am lucky to have earned from the best dad ever so I was a little ahead of the curve. Try to save at least 1/2 of your paycheck (scholarship money, etc). Buy easy (and healthy) groceries in bulk. Don’t spend all your money on going out. It’s all about balance.
Exercising is one of my favorite things. CrossFit is my happy place. These are not only my friends, they are my family. In college, my senior year I joined a CrossFit as well. I had so much fun getting to know (yet another) group of people. I also really enjoyed going to the campus gym. This is where you see all the hotties with bodies. Am i right? Sorority sisters and I loved to do in house workouts, runs on campus, walks-and-talks. No matter what your doing, get that heart pumping and happy! Did I mention that the “freshmen 15” is real. Because, shoot… but for me it was the Sophomore edition. Keep healthy and stay fit and true to yourself and your happiness!
11. Become organized.
This was not always my strength. My friend Kelsey really taught me what I know. Make sure to have a great planner. Color code my classes. Have a spiral notebook for each class. Keep classes separate. This will really help in the long run. Check out our D2D accessories and dorm chair cover that stores your school supplies and accessories!
12. Explore the city you are in.
Tallahassee is my own little heaven on earth. Where will you be going to college. I love hearing about different campuses and traditions that go along with them. My advice, venture off the beaten path a bit. Go to restaurants away from campus that you’ve heard great things about. Check out cool boutiques or go on hikes/picnics at a local lake. Take an adventure. A small town in Alabama was about 1.5 hours from Tallahassee. One night (senior year) I was in the sorority house in PJs and my sisters barged in said “get dressed we’re leaving in 15!” We ended up having a girls night at a country bar in Alabama. We shut the place down dancing. We all made alias names. It was a night I will never forget. To me, that’s what college is about.
13. Study as hard as you party.
To me, college wasn’t all about the party. It was more about the experience. Make sure you don’t take what you have while in college for granted. Have fun (while being safe and responsible). Have priorities. Choose to study the week/nights before quizzes, midterms, and finals. Make a schedule. Instead of cramming the week of the exam… keep a steady review of the materials. Keep your grades in check. Maintain a great GPA and the rest will all fall into place! Then, you’ll really have a reason to celebrate!
14. College is about creating yourself.
College is the perfect opportunity to start a clean slate. This is you. This is your chance to show the world who you are… how amazing you are! Girl, you got this! Take this time to explore different areas. Say, you decide you don’t like the major you’re in. That’s okay! Totally normal! Now is the time to explore these things and see what your life calling is. Take some you time. Focus on extra-curricular activities that you love and pursue them! The great thing about college is that you have options. You can be in a major, but take a completely unrelated class. This is a great way to explore? Love photography? Take a photography class. Dancing your thing? Take a dancing class and teach at a local studio. Stay true to yourself!
15. ENJOY COLLEGE!
I can’t begin to tell you how fast those 4 years go. You will never be a freshmen again. You will be more experienced. Enjoy each and every experience that comes your way and truly cherish it. Be open and optimistic. Positive and outgoing. Don’t let the stress of college overwhelm you. Your friends are there to support and cheer you on. You got this! Good luck and ENJOY!