Monday, July 28, 2014

College Advice: Top 5 Freshman Tips

It's college week here on my blog, so to start us off, I wanted to offer up my top 5 tips for freshman. I decided on the freshman because, for me, that was my hardest year in college. I was in a new city, I had now friends, I was living off campus, and so much more. Also, funny story, my dad dropped me off at college in the middle of a hurricane. Good times. 

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My Undergrad Days
1. Live on campus
I can't stress this enough. If only just for your freshman year, live on campus. Living on campus offers so many great benefits, I really feel like I missed out. You can get a meal plan, make so many friends, be closer to class, not worry about parking, always be close to your room, do better in class, and have constant security. Living off campus only causes stress for a freshman. You have to learn to navigate your way through not only your college, but now a new town. Make your first year of college easier, and live on campus. Be on the look out for a "Dorm Living Checklist" coming out tomorrow on here!

2. Utilize campus services 
Most colleges are going to have an array of services at little or no cost to students. And it's best that you take full advantage of them. From my experience, I was provided a fitness center, counseling services, tutoring, homework help, volunteer opportunities, and much more. Finding out what services your school offers can be a life saver. Also, look into any low-credit classes that allow you to relieve stress and help your GPA. At FSU, I remember a friend of mine taking a class called "Stretch and Relaxation". It was a 1 credit class where all you had to do was show up and stretch. It was awesome. Our fitness center was open pretty long hours, always giving me a chance to get in a good workout or joining a spin class. Finding ways to preoccupy yourself, so you don't get too stressed out, will help you cope with all the major changes happening during your first year of college. 

3. Consider joining a sorority 
This is something that I really wish I had done. All of my friends that joined a sorority have absolutely loved it. The thought of making so many friends, volunteering, and so much more. Some of the things I heard about a few of the sororities at FSU are: they have a 2 hour study period each day, the continuously raise money for charities and do philanthropic work, bonding with other women, and creating career connections for the future. A friend of mine loved her sorority so much that she eventually became it's chapter president. If you're going to a school without many friends and want to be in a group that's always doing something, consider joining a sorority. 

4. Order textbooks online
Textbooks can be expensive! I had a calculus book set me back about $500 once. No thank you. There are many websites available online that allow you to purchase or rent textbooks at a much lower cost. My all time favorite textbook website is Chegg. You can save up to 90% on your textbooks and use that money to buy your groceries. Every now and then, schools will come out with special edition books that are only available through the school bookstore. If that's the case, and renting is an option, just rent it. You'll save money and be less likely to lose any investment when trying to sell back a special edition book. Another tip is to order your books online through the bookstore. If your able to save more money through your bookstore, then by all means, go for it. But I do suggest preordering your books so you don't have to wait in a line for 3 hours while 500 other students are also purchasing their books. When I would order my books, I would walk into the bookstore, hand them my order confirmation, be handed my books, and leave. 15 minutes tops. 

5. Do NOT lose touch with your family
Now I know this is not the case for everyone because every family is different, but it helped me a lot. I talked to my dad every day. I called him on my way to school or on my way home if I had early classes. I moved 6 hours away. This may not seem far to some, especially when people go out of state for school, but for me and my dad, it was rough. With so many advancements in technology, there is always a way to keep in touch with your family. FaceTime, Skype, texting, email, calling, and so much more. It's nice to have that familiar voice to keep you going throughout the day. Through the good and the bad, I always talked to my dad about it. Call your dad, mom, sister, brother, cousin. It doesn't matter. Just keep a piece of home with you when you go to school. 

What tips do you have for college freshman? What would you have done differently in college? 

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