In the months before college, it is quite easy to be swept up in the preparations. Future students spend a lot of time making lists of things they want to bring with them to college, looking up potential professors and advisers and buying textbooks. Nonetheless, a lot of incoming freshman come to college woefully unprepared. The three tips in this article should help you safely navigate some of the potential pitfalls you could have upon entering college.
1. Assuming you know everything
Fresh out of high school it may feel like you are on top of the world. After all, you were kings and queens of the school you attended. However, everything is about to change. In college, you essentially are sent back to square one within hours of arrival. You know very little about your environment and how the system works, and until you arrive and experience college life for yourself, there is little you can do to plan out every aspect of your schedule. Some people come out of high school with what they consider to be vast knowledge about college life from older siblings, parents, or other people they know. Some are even rather accomplished scholars in their area of interest. However neither of these things will help you beyond the first year. You will fare better in college if you consider yourself to be a tabula rusa or blank slate, at least as far as academic learning goes. Assuming you already know everything could keep you from gaining valuable knowledge and be a detriment to your GPA.
2. Treating College like High School
I cannot emphasize enough how much you should not do this. There is this awful notion that continues to be pervasive among incoming students that one institution will be like another. Unfortunately, many will find this to not be true. Unlike in high school where you are forced to be around people every day, in college, social interactions are more dependent on you and those around you making the extra effort. Study methods that worked for you in high school will not work for you at the college level, especially as time goes on. Also, although you will have more free time, to complete quality work and projects, it will be important to manage your time wisely. If you were a procrastinator in high school, then the transition may be especially hard.
3. Annoying Living Habits
This is where relationships can get tricky in college. Before you complain about how strange your roommate’s habits are, make sure to take some time over the summer and ask your friends and family members if there is anything you do that annoys them or if there is anything that would be considered bad roommate etiquette. After all, you will be spending slightly less than a year with a complete stranger who will also have their own living habits that are bound to conflict with yours. You could save yourself a lot of stress in the long run if you can identify and address your problems before move in day. You never know, it could prevent unnecessary drama between you and your first roommate.
All in all, it is a good idea to engage in some self reflection before you go to college. Doing so could save you some time and help you keep your peace of mind when things get difficult.