Little Known Ways To Survive Freshman Year

Moving on campus is definitely a fun and exciting experience, but odds are you’ll probably miss your parents more than you realize.

While most high school students perceive their parents as a pain in the butt, they actually take care of a lot of little things that you likely take for granted.  BUT, you won’t realize this until you move away from home.

Below are some tips that will help you make the adjustment from living at home to living in the dorms.

  • 1. Learn How To Wash

Yep, that’s right…you have to do your own laundry in college.  For many new college students, this will be a new responsibility.  So, before you leave home, have someone give you a little laundry lesson.

You must learn how to pre-treat stained clothes, separate whites from colors, and figure out which settings to use on the washing machine.  Also, get in the habit of reading the laundry directions on the inside tag of your clothes – Are they machine washable? Or is it ‘dry clean only’?  If it’s machine washable –Does it need to be washed in cold water with like colors? Do you need to use the delicate cycle?

Is your head spinning yet!?! Not to worry…you just have to get the hang of things first.  After a couple loads of laundry, you’ll be a pro.  It probably isn’t a bad idea to learn how to iron either.

  • 2. Know How To Drive

You go to a party with a group of friends.  Your roommate is the driver, but half way through the party you realize that she’s been drinking a lot. You haven’t been drinking all night, but you also don’t know how to drive. You realize at the end of the party that all of your friends are way too drunk to drive…what do you do?

A lot of new college students do not know how to drive. In fact, some don’t even have a driver’s license.  This could be okay if you attend school in an urban area that has lots of public transportation, but it could also be pretty frustrating if you attend a college that requires you to drive everywhere.

Either way, it’s probably best to know how to drive before you leave home…you just never know what situation you’ll find yourself in.  And, it’s better to learn how to drive in an area that you’re familiar with.

  • 3. Know How To Manage Your Money

Eating out, meeting up with friends for coffee, going to the mall, and making frequent trips to Wal-Mart or Target are all activities that are usually part of every new college student’s life.  Knowing how to manage your money wisely is an important skill that you must learn before moving away from home.  Otherwise, you might drain your bank account within the first couple months of college.

Take some time to learn how to write checks, understand how credit cards work, and sign up for online bill pay.  For more information, read my post: What College Students Ought To Know About Credit Cards

  • 4. Know How To Clean

As a new college student, your schedule will be hectic – you’ll be learning how to balance going to class, studying, working a part-time job, hanging out with friends, exercising, participating in extracurricular activities, and much more.  In the midst of all of these things, it can be easy to put off cleaning your dorm room.

It’s probably a good idea to learn how to do some basic cleaning before you leave home, especially if you were never really responsible for cleaning before.  Sure, everyone gets a little unorganized at times, but you want to make sure you throw out those old pizza boxes and pop cans sooner rather than later.  And, don’t forget to pick up some standard cleaning supplies before you head to the dorms.

  • 5. Know How To Write

Papers, papers, and more papers!  As a new college student, you’ll likely experience paper overload.  Even if you breezed through AP English, you’ll quickly learn that college is completely different.

It’s probably a good idea to learn how to write a solid research paper before you leave home – learn some good research techniques, know how to write in MLA format, and practice making your papers flow seamlessly.

  • 6. Know How To Share

I know you’re long past kindergarten, but living in a dorm room with someone that you don’t know can make sharing pretty difficult. The most important thing to remember is to be flexible and learn how to compromise.

In addition to sharing your living space (bathroom, bedroom, closet, etc.), you should also share the cleaning responsibilities with your roommate.  Just be prepared to do your part and be comfortable talking to your roommate if he or she isn’t holding up their end of the bargain.

I hope these 6 tips were helpful! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Good luck!

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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.

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