Remember to Pack Bug Spray: Secrets to Having a Stress-Less Freshman Year
You've chosen a college far, far away from everything hometown, high school and familiar. It's natural to feel mixed emotions ranging from intense elation that you have walked the last hallway to your locker, to extreme fear from the idea of moving so far away and saying good-bye to life as you know it. No matter all of the advice that you will get, your college experience will be unique to you. But, take it from experienced college graduates, preparation is a key element to having a successful freshman year. Once you get through the first few months, you'll be the one giving helpful tips to incoming freshman. This is your pre-freshman year college "crash-course" schedule:
GeographyMap the city of your college ahead of time. Study up on the weather trends. Having a grasp of your surroundings will help reduce the stress levels college can sometimes raise. If you are headed to the south, there is humidity. And mosquitoes. Remember to pack bug spray. If you are headed to the Northeast, it's very, very cold in the winter. Pack plenty of scarves, gloves and hats (or have mom send them in a care package so you are not weighed down). There's only so much room in that trunk.
EngineeringSpeaking of room in the trunk, skip the cross country drive. You never know when a tornado, hurricane or flood will strike. You don't want to find yourself in a precarious situation, stranded on the side of the road. A great option is to pack up your trunk and ship your car off to one of the many auto transport companies, get on a plane and be at your destination in less than five hours.
EconomicsBudget ahead of time and plan your finances for the year. The last thing you need to worry about is how you are going to pay to get in to the new "Ironman 3" movie, let alone how you will afford food for the week. Your brain works most efficiently if you keep it hydrated and well fed. Talk with your parents about the steps you need to take to ensure your finances are in order. Figure out if you need to get a job right away or if you are able to wait and focus exclusively on your education.
EnglishWhen you get to your classes, talk to your instructors. Be sure that you stand out amongst your peers. Don't be shy. Ask questions.
If you can, try to get ahold of your roommate ahead of time to discuss who's bringing what. There's no reason to have two microwaves in your little dorm room. You might also consider rushing a fraternity or sorority to jump right in to the college life and make an entire house-full of instant friends.
Psychology Get proper sleep. Between six and eight hours each night is usually enough, but know your body. The amount of sleep needed varies with every person, you may need eight or nine. Simply said, stay feeling rested. As W.C. Fields so eloquently put it, "The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep."
ArtThink about what you'd like your college dorm to look like and how much room you have. Personalizing it and making it your own can make you feel more at home. There are definitely necessities you will need when you get to your place. If you're flying, you can get a mini-fridge and microwave upon arrival (be sure to budget for these).
Cooking in a dorm room is definitely a form of art. Of course, you will have the option of a meal plan, which is a good one, but there are always late-night cravings and those days you just don't feel like going to the cafeteria. Sit with the chef of your family, whether it be your mom or dad, brother or sister, and create some quick and easy meal ideas. You don't want to find yourself stuck with only the options of Ramen noodles or mac and cheese. You most likely will have each of these items handy, but having a little in-room cookbook is a great alternative.
Physical EducationA pair of good walking shoes might be your best friend. Hopefully your dorm is on campus and close to your classes. While a car comes in handy to tool around town, driving to class is typically not ideal. Parking lots on college campuses are always full and you might sit and wait for a spot to open up while your class is beginning. There are bike racks a-plenty near every building if you have a bicycle to ride.
Learn to do your own laundry, get to the campus a week or so ahead of time to get your bearings, and manage your time. Plan ahead and your freshman year will be one of the most memorable times of your life.
Guest Post by Matthew Horgan Matthew loves writing about cars and mechanics. He is a freelance writer and blogger when not working on his Subaru.
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