I just finished my first year of college and I cannot believe how fast it went by! In that short period of time (about 9 months) I learned more things about how to survive independently than I learned in my 18 years before college. I want to share a few tips with you, incoming freshman, with the hopes that you will know how to be prepared for college and all of its adventures.

Be Prepared for College—Take the right stuff!

PACKING. First things first: take the right stuff! When I was getting ready for my first year I searched the Internet looking for tips on what things I would need for my freshman year and I created something I like to call “The Ultimate College Packing List.” In many ways this list saved me (and my roommates too!). Little things like day-time cold medicine, duck tape, and an extra pair of shower shoes got me out many sticky situations. The list had EVERYTHING on it that I needed and I want to share it with you so that you’ll be prepared like I was!

However, I also learned that is definitely possible to over pack! Being prepared for college doesn’t mean bring everything you own! I brought basically my entire wardrobe (including almost 20 pairs of shoes) with me to college. My clothes took up so much space and made it really easy for my dorm room to get SUPER messy. In this case the saying “less is more” is completely valid. Next year I plan on downsizing my closet, not forgetting the necessities; i.e. rain gear (including boots), fitness clothing, at least one business professional outfit, and one formal outfit. Oh, and trust me, that rain gear really is a necessity. Plus less clothes means less laundry!
Next, during your freshman year you should definitely take gen-ed classes and its OKAY to be undecided. I went into college wanting to be a doctor so I loaded up on courses like physics, biology, and chemistry. However, I decided to switch from pre-med to “physician assistant” studies because it requires less time in school and still allows me to work in the health care field. Because of this, NONE of my science courses will transfer and I have to restart with freshman status (talk about frustrating). However, Most gen-ed courses WILL transfer and if you change your major it won’t affect your time line.

Be Prepared for College— Know before you go.

Don’t forget to exercise! In college you will probably gain weight, and that’s absolutely okay! However, exercise has many health benefits that go beyond weight management. Exercise keeps you happier and more focused which will help infinitely in your classes. Find a work out buddy and try new things. When it’s warm out go for a run or check out the weight room. Lots of colleges have classes like Pilates, yoga, spinning, and kickboxing. Don’t be afraid to try something new, you never know you just might like it.
8 am classes are not worth it. They just aren’t. You’re going to end up pulling a lot of late nights and even some all-nighters. Get that extra hour or two of sleep, you’re going to need it! My second semester I took an 8 am class every day of week and I found that no matter how much work I got done in the day I still stayed up late, making me very sleep deprived. If you can at all avoid an early class, DO IT!

Be Prepared for College and…for FUN!

Finally, college is FUN! You’re surrounded by people with the same goals as you and most of them are around your age. Get out and make the most of it; play that late night game of bowling or hide and seek. Go sledding on the lids of your bins or on the food courts trays. It’s okay to go to a party every once in a while (just DON’T do anything illegal or something that you wouldn’t be okay with telling your parents about)! My motto is: “work hard, play hard!” Live by that and you’ll have the best years of your life. Chances are you’re not going to want to leave come next summer!

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