Across the country for the next two months, anxious parents are moving their equally anxious kids into their first dorm rooms or apartments. What should first-time college kids know about this next year?
We asked professors at three local colleges what advice they would give first-time students. Here are their thoughts:
Create a routine. Make sure it is a sustainable one that will make it through the whole school year. Routine becomes a part of you. Going back to school doesn’t mean changing the way you live; it means adapting the way you should live to be your best self.
Take care of yourself. Schedule time for reading, thinking, recreating, exercising, connecting with friends and family and tending to the spiritual, if that’s meaningful to you.
Don’t sacrifice social life. Make time for it.
Make time for being alone — especially if you’re in a dorm or busy apartment complex. School can be overwhelming with the amount of people around all the time. Alone time is essential.
Get academic direction. Professors have office hours for you to use them. If those times don’t work, make an appointment with your professors. Students who meet with their professors tend to have better grades. It shows professors that they care about their education. Even if you don’t have a question, you can meet with the professor for one-on-one discussion of the material.
Don’t wait to challenge a grade or ask for help. Often students wait until the last few weeks of the semester, when it feels almost too late. It also makes professors question if it’s only about the grade and not about learning the material.
Take advantage of tutoring opportunities. Learn what academic resources are available and how to access them.
Know what mental health resources are available and how to access them. When you’re in crisis, you might have difficulty sorting that out. Discover those resources before the crisis begins.
Meet with the disabilities office. If you have a qualifying disability like autism or anxiety, low vision or hearing impairment, connect with the disabilities office before school begins. Also inform teachers of your needs that first week of school.
Your parents’ helicopter days are over. They should not be calling professors or helping you with homework. You have fled the nest, Little Birdy. It’s time to fly.
Sources: Kevin Robbins, University of Texas; Jena Heath, St. Edward’s University; Beth Bernstein, Texas State University; and Jena Heath, St. Edward’s University.