Tips to Help You Survive and Thrive Your Freshman Year
The first few weeks on campus are extremely critical for all new students. It is during this time that you make critical decisions that will have an effect on the rest of your life. Some of these tips are critical during your first weeks, while the others are meant for longer-term guidance and survival. Whatever you do, be sure to be yourself and try to enjoy your college experience as much as possible. Expect to feel some stress and homesickness, but don’t let these issues wear you down.
- Go to all orientations.
- Get organized. In high school, the teachers tended to lead you through all the homework and due dates. In college, the professors post the assignments — often for the entire semester — and expect you to be prepared.
- Find the ideal place for you to study while avoiding as many distractions as possible.
- Go to class. Obvious, right? Maybe, but sleeping in will be tempting at times. Learning the material by attending classes, you’ll also receive vital information from the professors about what to expect on tests, changes in due dates, etc.
- Meet with your professors. Professors schedule office hours for the sole purpose of meeting with students — take advantage of that time.
- Get to know your academic adviser. This person is a key resource for you — and should be the person you turn to with any academic issues or conflicts.
- Seek a balance. College life is a mixture of social and academic happenings. Don’t tip the balance too far in either direction.
- Get involved on campus. A big problem for a lot of new students is a combination of homesickness and a feeling of not quite belonging. A solution? Consider joining a select group or club. You’ll make new friends, learn new skills, and feel more connected to your school.
- Take advantage of the study resources on campus. Just about all colleges have learning labs and tutors available. If you’re having some troubles, these resources are another tool available to you. Another idea: form study groups.
- Don’t feel pressured to make a hasty decision about a career or a major. It doesn’t matter if it seems as though everyone else seems to know what they’re doing with their lives. It’s not a race; take your time and enjoy exploring your options.
- Take responsibility for yourself and your actions. Don’t look to place the blame on others for your mistakes; own up to them and move on.
- Make connections with students in your classes. It will expand your network of friends, which may be a crucial resource if you have to miss class.
- Find the Career Services Office. The professionals in your college’s career services office are there to help you get started on planning, preparing, and acting on your future.
- Don’t procrastinate! It may have been easy in high school to wait until the last minute to complete an assignment and still get a good grade, but that kind of stuff will not work for you in college.
- Stay healthy/Eat Right. Get enough sleep, take your vitamins, and eat right. Stay healthy and avoid the dreaded extra “Freshman 15” pounds by sticking to a balanced diet.
- Learn to cope with homesickness. It’s only natural that there will be times when you miss your family. Find a way to deal with those feelings, such as making a phone call or sending some email.
- Stay on campus as much as possible. The more time you spend on getting to know the campus and your new friends, the more you’ll feel at home at school. And why not take advantage of all the cultural and social events that happen on campus?
- Keep track of your money. If you’ve never had to create a budget, now is the time to do so. Find ways to stretch your money – and as best you can, avoid all those credit card solicitations.
- Don’t cut corners. College is all about learning. If you procrastinate and cram, you may still do well on tests, but you’ll learn very little. Even worse, don’t cheat on term papers or tests.
- Be prepared to feel overwhelmed. There’s a lot going in your life right now. Expect to have moments where it seems a bit too much. As one student says, be prepared to feel completely unprepared. The trick is knowing that you’re not the only one feeling that way. (These tips provided with the help of http://www.quintcareers.com/first-year_success.html.)
At Black Hawk College – Quad Cities Campus:
The Subway restaurant is located in the Hawks Nest (building 4) if you are on campus around lunch time. If you are not in the mood for what Subway has to offer, visit Hawks Hub (building 1). There you will find food and snacks of all sorts in addition to supplies that you might need for classes. You will also find a coffee machine and microwave.
All Black Hawk students, faculty, and staff are free to use the Fitness Center and Aquatic Center (located in building 3) to exercise and keep off that dreaded Freshmen 15.
Free tutoring is available Monday through Friday from 9am-1pm in the Student Success Center (building 1, room 100, below the library).
Students can also use the Independent Learning Center (ILC) or the library for computer access if you don’t have that available at home.
The ILC is open most days from 9am-1pm and 5-8pm, but check the website or call (309)796-5170 for specific hours.