As the oldest of my siblings and I, I was the first to experience the transition from high school to college. My goodness, what a huge transition that was. The transition from middle school to high school was one thing, but the transition from high school to college was an entirely different ball game. Although I had a great amount of support that eased my transition, I want to take some time to point out some tips/tricks that I hope will aid others in their initial transition to college life.
1.) Go to orientation week and PARTICIPATE.
Most, if not all colleges have an orientation week for Freshman students and it is so important to not only attend that week/weekend of events but to also actually participate in the events that go on. Try to walk the campus multiple times so you will know where your classes are prior to your first day. The activities are designed to prepare you for life on your specific college campus so you want to be alert and aware of what’s going on.
2.) Be open to meeting new people.
In most cases, if you make yourself available, you will meet your most solid group of friends in your first week or two of college. These are the individuals you will eat with, study with, and enjoy your college experience with. I met my first group of college friends literally my second day of orientation. We were nearly inseparable for our entire college careers. Even through ups, downs, transitions, we always remained true to each other and to this day those women are still some of my closest friends.
3.) Start planning for your first week of classes.
Set up your email and look for updates from your professors. Many times, professors will email you an introductory email for the first week of classes about a week or two before the actual first day. This gives you the opportunity to get a head start on preparing for the upcoming semester or trimester (however your school operates). Purchase a planner. Most schools have a designated planner that you can purchase from the bookstore. Once you receive your syllabi, begin to put your quizzes and exams in your planner so you can see how your individual class exam schedules will line up with your other classes.
4.) Refrain from purchasing books ahead of time and explore rental book options.
I know you want to be as prepared as possible, but unless you are specifically told by your professor, don’t purchase your books before your first day of classes. In many cases, you may not even need all of the books required for a class OR you may be able to purchase an older version of a book. These are things you most likely won’t find out until your first class unless the professor specifically emails you about it. Waiting could end up saving you a lot of money which you will want to do because books for freshman year can typically be the most expensive. Once you find out what books are actually required, see if those books are available for rent. It may be much cheaper to rent the book for the semester than actually purchasing the book. However, if you are taking a course that has a two-semester sequence (Ex. Calculus 1 first semester and Calculus 2 second semester) and uses the same book, you may want to actually purchase the book. Just explore your options and see what is best for you. Www.amazon.com and www.chegg.com are great websites for rentals. There are others, but these are the sites I personally used. You can also rent directly from your school as well if that is available
5.) Mentally prepare for time management.
It sounds simple but its something I wish I had thought more about before starting that first week of college. It is a huge transition. You go from living with your parents to being on your own. You no longer have someone telling you when to do things and reminding you about deadlines. Your mindset should change tremendously so that you understand how much you will have to manage your time. You will have a lot of “free time,” but trust me that is very deceptive. You have to learn how to accurately and efficiently manage your time so that you do accomplish everything you need to accomplish and still find time to relax and enjoy yourself.
If you are a new college freshman, ENJOY IT! It will probably be the best four years of your life. Stay focused on your goals though and don’t become distracted. It is possible to enjoy yourself and stay focused on your studies. Good luck!!
–Layana (Lacy) Watts,
My ultimate goal is to become a medical doctor specializing in a specific area of pediatric medicine or neonatology.
Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN
Master of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences from Barry University in Miami, FL.