10 Tips for College Newbies

With roughly half of the Class of 2015 attending a four-year college or university in the fall, many students walking through the upstairs commons are distracted from the daily academic and social elements of high school as thoughts of their future on a college campus rush through their heads. Starting college can be a scary adventure, a bumpy road full that can be riddled with committing social “taboos,” academic mistakes, and poor personal decisions.

Current students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and East Carolina University share helpful tips and tricks on their respective schools’ Facebook pages or Twitter feeds for incoming freshmen to refer to and take to heart. The non-campus specific hints are applicable for all college-bound seniors, and reading up on them can push away some of that “first day of school” anxiety.

The following are compiled from social media and websites such as huffingtonpost.com and collegeinfogeek.com.

  1. Memorize your PID (Personal Identification Number) before you get to campus. You’ll need it randomly– to sign into anything academic-related, to confirm your student account, etc. Having it down cold will save you time and potential frustration.
  2. If you’re attending a school with a bigger campus that has its own bus system, do not enter the bus through the back set of doors. Those doors are intended for people to exit and for handicapped passengers only. Attempting to use them when you board will not only anger anyone trying to leave the bus, it’ll earn you dirty looks from current riders, mark you as a “campus newbie,” and frustrate the bus driver.
  3. Keep an umbrella in your book bag. Rain can pop up at any time, and you won’t always remember to check the daily forecast as you rush to your morning classes. Even if it’s storming hard, your classes will still be held, and you’ll be expected to walk yourself to them. An umbrella can save you and your books, laptop, and other expensive supplies.
  4. If you’re attending a liberal-arts based school that doesn’t require you to declare a major immediately, take classes that fulfill multiple General Education (GenEd) requirements at once.
  5. If your school offers them, enroll in Freshman/First-Year Seminars (FYS). They’re typically discussion-based classes on interesting and fun topics, with no final exams, that are meant to stimulate you intellectually and expose you to things you might develop a passion on.
  6. Unless you’re a motivated morning person, avoid taking 8 or 9 A.M. classes. You’ll find it hard to attend those classes that seem so absurdly early, and your grades will suffer from your lack of participation.
  7. Meet as many people as you can in your first semester. Even if you won’t remember their name and you’re pretty sure they won’t remember yours. You’ll make friends quickly, and just having hundreds of acquaintances on campus will make it feel more like home. Also, if you’re short a few quarters when you go to buy a snack somewhere, “that-guy-from-that-one-class-you-had-that-one-time” will be more likely to help you out than a complete stranger would be!
  8. For most college classes, on the first day, the professor will hand out a nicely organized syllabus. Do not lose this syllabus and reference it constantly. It will tell you when all assignments are due, and, most of the time, those dates will never change. Even if class is canceled for weather or some other reason, the assignments will likely still be due.
  9. Don’t cheat. Seriously, do not. Enough said. College isn’t high school. If there’s even a chance that you may be cheating– if you’re seen with a phone during an exam, caught whispering, noticed with things written on your hand– you can be sent before the Honor Court and expelled. Not fun.
  10. Your first year is going to be an amazing experience, but sometimes it’s not going to feel that way. Do not give up. You’re going to get homesick sometimes, you’re going to want to cry, but only momentarily. College is the biggest adventure you’ve had yet, and you’ll learn to love your campus and your school like it’s your own home.

The resources available online allow for an endless supply of further tips to help you with any other worries or curiosities you have concerning your college freshman experience. Seek them out, and begin to countdown the days until you can put them to use.