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Cracking the code: tips for college freshman

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College is a new chapter in a young adult’s life where the pot of knowledge is expanded and they are immersed into an environment for memories to be made. To help blend into the crowd of upperclassman and keep from sticking out like a sore thumb, here is a list of do’s and don’ts.

DO

  • Bring business attire: You may have interviews for a job or be invited to attend a conference. You don’t want to be the elephant in the room wearing jeans and sneakers.
  • Get involved in extra-curricular activities: Not only does this look great on your resume, but you are able to meet new friends, build leadership skills and introduce yourself into a new hobby or interest.
  • Become familiar with safety resources: Some campuses may have emergency towers throughout campus for students to use if they need immediate assistance. Also seek the number of your resident assistant, roommate, campus clinic and victim services.
  • Take advantage of campus resources: Such as the recreation rooms, the career center, employment workshops, tutoring centers, sports games and computer software. Most of these items will not be free or be provided at a heavily discounted price once you have graduated.
  • Expand your horizons: Meet new people including those from other cities, states and countries. Learn another language, study abroad, take a spring break road trip and visit your favorite greasy fast food restaurant in the late hours of night with your friends. Make your college experience meaningful.
  • Connect with faculty: Chat with your professors, academic advisors, teacher’s assistants and other key personnel when you are having trouble in the classroom or seeking advice.

DON’T

  • Wear high school memorabilia: After all you’re in college and no one truly cares what high school you attended. Embrace the new chapter in your life.
  • Walk around campus with a map: You will look like the typical “lost freshman” and no one wants that. Try to locate places on campus before the first day of classes. If your school offers a campus map app, use it to your advantage. Everyone will think you’re checking out Instagram.
  • Pack up your entire bedroom from home: Your parents will thank you later when you discover your residence hall is a 12×12 box that you must share with someone else and all of your items won’t fit as you planned. Try using vacuum storage bags or containers that can still be used during the year.
  • Wear your school lanyard around your neck: This screams freshman. Carry your keys and ID in a purse or wallet for safekeeping.
  • Wear headphones while walking through campus at night: You may miss a car honk, bike bell or become vulnerable to an attacker.
  • Forget your purpose: Don’t develop too much of a social life where you can’t accurately balance your academics. If you play hard, you must study hard. Don’t become overwhelmed by over exerting yourself.
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