The first semester of college comes with a waterfall of emotions. There is excitement, happiness, jitters, nerves, sadness, and tears. Some people move away to college while others stay home. Every single person’s college experience is unique and different. My recommendations are from my own experiences and should be taken into consideration after evaluating your idiosyncrasies and personality.
The summer before college is almost like a limbo. It is in-between two extremely important periods of your life. You just finished high school where you matured as a person and as an academic while college is the daunting challenge that many students fear. It is an abyss of unknown people, classes, and responsibility. You will often be on your own for your work, social life, and daily actions. For me, the summer before my first semester was a time to enjoy myself before I began to take challenging classes and begin sports. I spent most of my time trying to enjoy having no school and responsibilities. I went to work, exercised, and socialized with friends and families. Luckily for me, I was able to do this. Many people have to work nonstop to pay bills and even college. If this is you, I still highly recommend taking off a few days to enjoy yourself before you start the next chapter of your life. No amount of money or experience can make up for your mental health and relaxation.
During my summer, I worked on an adventure course. I was the host and was responsible for paperwork, checking in, merchandize, payments, birthdays, events, and initial orientation. This was one of my first real jobs and allowed me to learn organization skills and how to interact with customers, things I use daily at school. Along with working this job, I was studying for my EMT certification exam.
Personally, I think this was the best thing I could have done before my first semester. I stayed engaged with school work and kept my mind active so that I was ready to hit the ground running when I got to classes. I earned enough money for myself to pay for necessities throughout both semesters of school and I stayed mentally and physically healthy.
Before heading to school, I did a few things to be extremely successful in my first semester. The first thing is that I planned a way to stay organized with my school work and other things that would come up. For schoolwork, I decided to use a five-subject notebook and assign each section a class. This way I always had my work on me. I don’t like to use loose-leaf because it becomes messy, unorganized, and often rips a few weeks into having notes. For each class, I assigned a folder to place any handouts or reference sheets in. These folders are small and easy to keep track of. If a class hands out a lot of papers I would recommend getting a 1/2 inch binder to stay even more organized. One of the best things I did, however, created a finalized folder. This finalized folder held ONLY my papers and assignments that were finished and never left my backpack. This assured me that I always had my assignments and homework when I went to class. The final thing I would recommend bringing to college is a daily planner as well as a monthly calendar. It is important to write all daily tasks down on a daily planner but it is even more important to write projects and large assignments on a calendar. This allows you to visually see how much time you have until the due date and decreases the chance of procrastinating work.
Academic musts for school
- 5- subject notebook
- Daily planner
- Computer (organized files by class)
- Folders for each class or binder
- Blue and Black pens
- Calculator (TI-84 or TI-83)
- Index cards
My other recommendation for anyone preparing for their first semester for college is to go in with the most positive attitude possible. An attitude that you know you are going to do the best and you know you are going to be successful. Doing this is what kept me mentally engaged and healthy throughout my first semester and all semesters to come.