College Survival Kit

There’s no doubt about it…moving away from home and into the dorms will be a scary process.   You are officially an adult now.  Mom won’t be there to do your laundry, give you cold medicine when you’re sick, or to cook your favorite meal.  Sigh…

Studies show that one in every four college students leave campus before their sophomore year…so it is important that we get you off to a good start.  The decisions you make during this first year will have a major impact on the rest of your college career.

Am I making you nervous?  Wait a second, don’t panic…it’s normal to feel a little anxious or uneasy as your move-in date draws closer.  In this article we’ll give you some tips on how to survive your freshman year.

I like to call this the “college survival kit.”  In my college survival kit, I’ll provide you with 5 tips to surviving your freshman year.

Tip #1: Be Prepared. The process of moving into the dorms will be overwhelming in itself, but it will be even more difficult if you don’t have everything you need.  How do you avoid this?   Don’t wait until the last minute to get organized and start packing.  If you do this, you run the risk of forgetting things or bringing way too much stuff.  There’s nothing worse than moving into “unfamiliar territory,” only find out that you’re missing a lot of the essentials.

There will be a lot of things that you will need to remember to take with you, so you must create a packing list.  You can check out my post: Dorm Checklist for a comprehensive list of things that you’ll want to bring with you to campus.

Also, make sure you’ve finalized your classes and have a copy of your class schedule handy and ready to go.  Take the first few days (before class starts) to explore campus.  Find the buildings where your classes will be held.  Go to the bookstore to buy your textbooks and other school supplies.  You want to make the first day of class run as smoothly as possible.

Tip #2: Socialize. You’ve got to get out and meet people.  This is very important.  Even if you were pretty shy and introverted in high school, carrying these traits into college will make your experience less enjoyable.

Recently, an upperclassman at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale said, “The students who stay in their dorm rooms all day are usually the ones who go home within the first few months.”

You have to learn how to be comfortable being uncomfortable.  This is a new experience for all the other students too, so you can take comfort in the fact that they probably feel the same way that you do.  Here are some things that you can do: 1) Eat in the dining halls;  2) Visit friends in other dorms; 3) Hang out in the student center

Tip #3: Get Involved. Most colleges usually have an involvement fair, or something similar, during the first few weeks of school.  This is a chance for you to discover all the various clubs and activities that the school has to offer.  Maybe you’re interested in a fraternity or sorority or maybe you want to join a club that is somehow associated to your major or career interests.  Whatever the case may be, getting involved on campus is the quickest way to meet people.  You can also encourage your roommate to do the same.

Tip #4: Study. Freedom!  This is usually the first thing that 1st year college students think about when they move away from home.  Mom and Dad are no longer there to tell me what to do, when to do it and how to do it…I’m all on my own.  While all of this is true, there also comes a greater level of responsibility with your new “freedom.”  You are responsible for waking up for class each day, doing your homework, making wise decisions, and taking care of yourself.

Some students have a hard time handling all of this “freedom” during their first year.  There is no structure…you have to create the structure.  It’s important that you go to class, do your homework, and study.  While I encourage all students to have fun and enjoy the college experience, you have to make sure that you STAY FOCUSED!

Tip #5: Exercise & Eat Healthy. Ever heard of the freshman 15?  Studies show that freshman gain about 15 pounds on average during their freshman year.  With the meal plan built into the housing costs, it can be easy to get carried away in the dining halls.  I know this will be hard, but try your best to eat moderately healthy.  I’m not expecting you to become a vegetarian, but don’t eat McDonald’s every day either.  Make sense?  Also, try to hit the gym to keep your weight under control.  A healthy body leads to a healthy mind!

Good Luck!

Related Posts

The following two tabs change content below.


Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

Latest posts by TheCollegeHelper (see all)