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8 Tips to Survive Your Freshman Year of College

Posted by Marc Costanzo Friday, Aug. 7, 2015

College Students In DormCongratulations, you’re no longer a high school student! You’ve entered into the wonderful world of college, and campus life is probably a lot different than what you were used to.

College is an exciting transition, but it can also be a stressful one. That’s why we’re here to help. We’ve put together eight tips that will help you survive your freshman year of college. Put these into practice and you’ll be able to balance the fun, social aspects of college with the more studious parts of the journey.

1. Go To Class

We get it. For the first time ever, you don’t have parents or teachers monitoring your every movement and recording when you don’t show up to class. But that doesn’t mean you should skip.

Far too many students think they can miss a class here and there, figuring that they won’t get in trouble. The truth is that the trouble takes a different form. Instead of being scolded, you miss out on vital information for upcoming exams and don’t get to take part in critical lessons that will inform your future career.

Some universities might let you slide, but NMC rocks a 12-1 student ratio, and many of our classes use simulations and clinical instruction, so you will certainly be noticed if you don’t show up.

The lesson: go to class. You might even learn something.

2. Have Fun…

The “campus life” aspect of college is just as important as the studying part. As a college student, you should be out there going to as many events as you can, especially your freshman year before things get truly hectic class-wise.

Get out there and meet people. Most campus housing systems will put together things like game nights and mixers (of the non-alcoholic variety) for new students. Every college will have a series of clubs that host meetings at the beginning of the year to recruit new members. Go to a few of these, even if they’re something you may not have heard of. You may be surprised by what you enjoy.

3. …But Not Too Much Fun

We’ve all heard the stories of the freshmen who wash out of college in the first semester because they were, let’s say, not totally prepared for their newfound independence.

Don’t be that person. Have fun, but have fun within reason. If you’re going to have a night out with friends, make sure to schedule it for the day AFTER that big test, not before. Set boundaries with roommates and friends when you need to buckle down and study rather than play your umpteenth round of Mario Kart.

4. Eat Right

If you’re away from home for the first time, responsibility for rustling up meals is on you and you alone. This can lead to some unhealthy food choices for a lot of people.

A person can’t subsist on Chipotle alone (although that would be fantastic). A steady stream of Ramen noodles probably isn’t good for your system either. Get in the habit of going to the grocery store and getting the ingredients necessary for a balanced diet. That means fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses, honest-to-goodness recipes. Buy a cookbook if you have to.

Eat healthy and strive for balance, and your body will thank you for it.

5. Sleep

This is a big one. Class may start later than it ever did in high school, and some people reverse-engineer the math of a 2 pm start time to realize they can go to bed at 3 am and still get 8 hours of sleep. Others mistakenly believe they can survive on a few hours per night.

That’s a recipe for disaster. You need a good eight to nine hours of sleep every single night to maintain alertness and a healthy body. Make sure you go to bed at about the same time each evening if you can, and remember that tucking in at 11 pm and being well-rested for a test is far preferable to burning the midnight oil and taking a test while you’re exhausted.

6. Ask For Help

NMC, like just about all colleges, has numerous campus support services geared toward students of all ages. There are people on staff whose sole purpose is to help you succeed. Whether that’s through counseling, academic advising, health screenings or anything else, don’t be afraid to look around your campus for assistance on anything.

7. Use Financial Aid for Financial Aid

Scholarships, student loans and financial aid money you receive should go toward school. It shouldn’t go toward a brand new plasma television or a trip to Vegas on your 21st birthday. When it comes to loans, take out precisely what you think you’ll need to pay for school so that you don’t wind up with a load of debt once you get your degree.

8. Plan

Buy a planner. Write in it. Figure out the times you can set aside for fun and the times where studying needs to come first. Break your college life down into a schedule you can keep so that you never have to worry about shirking responsibility.

So there you have it. Eight tips that will allow you to survive freshman year. The great news? You can use these throughout college and maybe even in your upcoming career.  Good luck!

Getting ready to move into your freshman dorm? We've got you covered. Download the Ultimate College Dorm Room Checklist to keep track of everything you'll need on Move-In Day.

Topics: student life, campus life, college routine, preparing for college

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