How to Adapt to Your First Year in College


Making the transition from high school to college can be a rough adjustment for a first-year student. Life gets easier after that – but when you’re trying to establish a normal routine, the process can be made difficult by not knowing the rules.

Here’s some advice for those first year college students. There’s no reason not to make the Dean’s List now – well.. except for all those first year parties and beautiful girls that are absolutely everywhere on your college campus.

Make Caffeine Your Friend

You’ve already had your share of Mountain Dew drinks while meandering through the high school years – but college always means getting less sleep. Rather that’s due to partying or late night studying – or a bit of both – it’s a great time to learn how to make a cup of coffee.

Trying to beat sleep will become easier as you are required to do it more often (you’ll soon be a skilled power-napper) but when you’re fresh out of high school and wrapping up a lazy summer, being tired kicks your ass. Trying to focus on an Economics exam after three hours of slumber is a new challenge that you won’t enjoy.

A great trick to getting the most out of caffeine is to only use it when you need it. If you can get by most days without it, do that – and save caffeine for those sleep-challenged exams and then feel the caffeine burn!

Learn to Love Ramen Noodles

These sodium-laden Japanese noodles are a life-saver to most colleget students. There’s nothing cheaper or easier to make. You can stock up like you’re preparing for the apocalypse and cook this meal between baseball innings.

Eat it in front of the television or on the go. Every college student has ramen noodles under the car seat.

These noodles are about more than just buying a cheap, easy food. You’re a college student now and ramen noodles are a staple of the college experience. It’s as mandatory as buying a hot-dog at a baseball game.

Be a Friend to Your Roommate

You may eventually carry a loathing disdain for the guy that rooms for you – he’s sloppy, smelly, talks a lot, thinks a bit too highly of himself and he’s kind of a jerk to everyone.

Don’t burn this bridge too soon. The college year lasts a long time and your life will be far easier if you can turn this buffoon into a friend – even if it’s a friendship you would prefer not last through the years.

It’s going to be really easy to talk about his faults to others but don’t do it. Consider this one of your adult tests and simply let those annoyances slide.

Roomies have been trying to change other roomies for years but guess what? You can’t. The guy is who is he is and his habit of throwing clothes all over the room will continue well past college and into his relationships. Just ask his Mom – she’ll tell you. Console yourself in the fact that his future wife is probably going to leave him over his issues.

Being a friend to someone is always going to bring you a greater reward in the end. Even if it’s difficult – it’s short-term and you need to make it happen.

Learn to Make Friends

Making friends is often the hardest part of the college journey. It’s not that way for everyone but if you struggle to strike up new relationships and meet new people, count yourself among the majority and spend the next few years honing that skill.

Unless you found yourself changing schools a lot, high school never required you to learn the art of making friends. From your Freshman college year and going forward, you’ll need to know how.

Don’t be the guy who’s sitting in his dorm room while the majority of students are taking part in social activities. College is the time to branch out and try new things. It’s a time to test yourself and go outside the normal bounds of comfort. It’s also a time to fail so when you do, don’t sweat it – chalk it up to experience and good on you for trying something you had the potential to fail at. Failing beats the hell out of being too scared to try.

Making new friends also requires spending less time on Facebook. Spending your evenings online made sense when your living arrangements meant following mom and dad’s rules. Those days are over now and the sky’s the limit. Even if you have nothing to do – get out, walk around campus, find something to do and meet some new people.

College life is short – make the most of it.

Learn to Master Procrastination

[quote_right]Don’t dismiss the worthy skill of procrastination. It can serve you well as you continue on with your life journey.[/quote_right]You’re going to get really good at the art of procrastination – even if you think you won’t be the guy that puts things off.

We all start college life the same way – we get our schedules, buy all those many supplies to be fully prepared and then as the semester starts progressing along.. life happens.

College will have you running in a lot of different directions, in ways that you’ve never had to. You’ll get better at getting things done but the fact is that you’ll also get better at procrastination. Don’t dismiss this worthy skill that can serve you well as you continue on with your life journey.

Pretty much the only way of avoiding procrastination, in the college years, is spending all your free time at the library and let’s face it – you’re not that guy and nor should you want to be.

Professor in front of chalkboardPart of the college experience is about learning to jump through hoops – and it’s that way by design. Don’t beat yourself when things don’t get done. Just accept that it’s going to happen now and again and get better at how you deal with it. Your post-college boss will really appreciate that you took the time to master the art of procrastination.

College is an experience like no other. There’s a good chance it will make for some of the best times in your life.

You’ll always remember the class-skipping, sweat-pants wearing days and hopefully you’ll think fondly of those times. You’re all ready for the journey – now that you know exactly what it takes to adapt to college life.

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