Hang those posters, make new friends, but don’t forget to study

After a long summer spent partying with your high school friends and dreaming about what college life would be like, you’re finally here. You’ve met your floor, you’ve got your classes and you’re ready to go. Or are you?

The start of freshman year can be a little intimidating and you might find it’s the small things that might make you nervous, such as setting up your room, adjusting to new classes, impressing professors or even just getting involved with campus activities.

Asking questions about this sort of stuff might make you feel silly, but they’re going through every freshman’s head. To avoid any embarassment for anyone though, here’s a guide to setting yourself up for a great year at the College. Read up and then go have fun.

Your New Home

Without a doubt, the biggest change students experience in coming to the College is that they get to live on their own. And while the space is tight, it’s your space, and that’s all that matters.

That’s exactly why you should get to work making your new room feel like home as soon as possible. Break out the old pictures and posters. Make a bonding experience out of it by asking your new neighbors to help and then take the opportunity to tell them about your friends from home or what your favorite music and TV shows are.

At the same time, you don’t want to clutter your room too much. Make sure you have plenty of storage options. Luckily, all stores and designers know college students are tight for space so they provide you with plenty of options.

Get collapsible crates that you can store things like food, dishes and cleaning supplies in. Put an organizer in your closet to make the most of your space. Slide long storage boxes under your bed or get a cool trunk that can serve a purpose and also provide extra sitting.

It’s important to make sure your room is comfortable for yourself but inviting to others. Keep a couple butterfly chairs in your closet for when friends come over or have a bean bag chair permanently stationed in one of your corners.

And two last bits of advice: keep your room clean and discuss things with your roommate. No one wants to see toothpaste all over your sink or dirty laundry hanging around beds, so avoid these at all costs.

As for roommates, the best advice that you can get is to talk about things before they turn into problems. Never assume something will be OK with your roommate. Always ask them questions. Remember that you’ll be living with this person for the next eight months so it’s best to be open about any problems or questions from the beginning.

Getting Involved

There are so many clubs, organizations and activities to get involved with at the College that you probably don’t know where to start. That’s not a bad thing. All it means is that you have to put a little bit of work into figuring out what is best for you.

Just about every organization has a program to attract new members, and just because you go doesn’t mean you have to join. Bounce around from ice cream social to ice cream social and get a feel for everything. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions and keep the answers in mind.

Check out an organization’s Web site to find information about the kind of activities it’s done in the past and if it required a level of commitment that you could adjust to. Talk to advisors or people outside the organization to see how students on campus view the group.

Before you make any commitment, it’s best to know what you’re getting yourself into, so get out there and learn as much as you can.

About Those Classes…

What? The whole point of going to college is to learn? Oh, that’s right. It’s easy to forget that when you’re busy making new friends and learning about new activities, but college is supposed to prepare you for the rest of your life. That doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun, it just means you have to learn to balance your time.

Professors know that freshmen may get caught up with the whole “experiencing college” thing, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to cut you any slack. If they tell you to read, read. You want to make the best impression possible on your professors, but that doesn’t mean you have to suck up or stay after class and chit chat. All it means is that you should show them you are serious about their class by doing your homework, participating in class discussions and taking tests seriously.

As a freshman you’re probably taking the easiest classes you’ll have in your years at the College, so take advantage of that and go for the best grades. Sure, maybe you think you don’t need to do that Foundations of Math homework, but it could raise your participation grade, so do it.

Again, you don’t have to sacrifice your social life, just make time for both work and play. If there’s one thing that college teaches you, it’s how to balance your time between schoolwork and friends. Learn the skill fast and you’ll be sure to enjoy your time at the College.