Most people heading off to college have never lived on their own before. This can be an exciting and exhilarating time, but it can also be a time of stress and concern. To make the most of life at college, preparation is the key. Here is a list of four ways to prepare for a new, exciting college life experience.
Learn basic life skills
Preparation for self-care is essential. Learning basic life skills such as cooking, cleaning, shopping and laundry will make life easier. Learning basic cooking skills can provide a healthy, inexpensive alternative to a fast food diet. Knowing how to properly clean an apartment or dorm room will provide useful when cleaning checks come around, saving time and alleviating stress. Along with basic skills, personal care is essential. Take time for yourself, tend to your needs and find resources for times when life gets a little overwhelming. Most universities have counseling resources available to students who need a little extra support at times. Advisors, professors and friends are also a great resource to help during trying times.
Know your budget
College can be expensive. Creating a personal budget can help navigate through each month and insure there is enough money for all your expenses. Financial concerns can cause a lot of undo stress. Part-time jobs are available on and off campus to help make ends meet, but keep in mind that classes and studying should take first priority. After all, isn’t gaining new knowledge the reason you are going to college?
There are additional options to help finance the high cost of college life. Outside of federally funded student loans, there are student loans available through private lenders. College is stressful enough without adding additional stress from financial worries. Making and keeping a budget will help remove the stress of finances and allow for more focus on important matters such as studying and socializing.
Develop your social skills
College life is an open invitation to make new friends, and the opportunities to do so are endless. One of the best ways to make a friend is to smile and say good morning when you see someone. Get to know roommates by asking sincere questions about their interests and what they are studying. Introduce yourself to the person you are sitting next to in class or ask them a question about something you don’t understand.
Life at college is filled with activities and events; plan on attending everything you can. You may be surprised at who you might meet while you’re busy having fun. Joining a club can also help you find friends with similar interests and can lead to a life-long friendship.
College is a time to discover who you are and what you are passionate about. Take advantage of every minute of this precious time and stretch yourself in ways you haven’t before.
Work on your study skills
College is definitely different than high school when it comes to the demands for classes. College professors expect students to know how to study, do the work required and turn all papers and projects in on time. Poor study skills can become a stumbling block to getting good grades. Take time to work on note taking skills. This will be one of the best ways to retain information given in lectures. Additionally, focusing on reading retention will help as you digest numerous chapters of information. Finally, reach out to professors and labs for assistance in courses you might be struggling in. There are plenty of resources available to help students be successful; the trick is actually taking advantage of these resources.
College is an exciting time. It’s a chance to learn more about yourself, what you want to do, and who you want to be. Exploring options is key to these discoveries and having enough financial resources to be able to explore options without stressing over money can make the college years the best time of your life.