Start with scheduling
By the time freshmen get access to scheduling platforms, all the best spots are usually already booked by upperclassmen. It can be frustrating, but creating a favorable schedule is still possible. All you need to do is focus on prerequisite courses and try not to overburden yourself. Don’t do more than 18 credit hours during your first semester and make sure to avoid 8 am classes. Whatever you’re telling yourself now, you are likely to skip later.
Don’t forget about your family
College life is exciting, so putting off calling home for a day or two is hardly a big deal. The thing is, parents are famous for worrying too much. While you’re cramming for a midterm or recovering from a hangover, they might think that you’ve been expelled or abducted by aliens. Try to set up a time each week when it will be comfortable for you to call, Skype, or text. As a bonus, it will save you from too much homesickness.
Respect your roommate
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that your roommate is a human being with needs and wants. To avoid conflicts or at least maintain a sense of moral superiority, you should always stick to whatever agreement you came up with at the very beginning of your cohabitation.
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In college, no one cares if you didn’t do your homework of forgot to submit an assignment. The only person responsible for your academic success is you. Be proactive, keep track of your progress, and use professors’ assistance. Office hours exist for a reason.
Find your rhythm
Living on your own for the first time, it’s pretty tempting to let yourself relax and go with the flow. Unfortunately, such an approach will likely result in an ugly unstructured mess of life. Try to have an approximation of a routine in your mind or, even better, write it down. This schedule is bound to change, but at least you won’t feel as lost.
Choose your own adventures
Campuses are swarming with interest groups, clubs, sports teams, and volunteer initiatives. Whatever you’re interested in, there’s probably a group of people already doing it. Just remember not to overtax yourself.
Be proud of your autonomy
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If you want to be treated like an adult, behave accordingly. Clean up after yourself, start budgeting, and don’t avoid dealing with problems. Family is a safety net that you can always turn to if something truly bad happens, but otherwise, you’ll have to be self-reliant from now on.
Bad things do happen
You can never be too careful. Doors should be locked at night and when there isn’t anyone in your room. Have someone with you if you return home late at night. Remember that drinks offered to you by strangers practically scream danger. It also won’t hurt to have emergency services on your speed dial. Just in case.