Page 6 - College Guide 2018
P. 6

Adjusting to College
By: Shanna P. Lowe
Incoming college freshmen have a lot on their plate when starting the next milestone of their life: registering for classes, meeting new people, and  lling out  nancial aid. Also, for the  rst time in their lives, most students will be living on their own. As exciting as the impending independence is, it can lead to a great deal of anxiety and stress.
The main priority of a college student is doing well in school. So it is important not to let lack of preparation affect grades. Consider these tips to ease the transition.
Familiarize with the area. Plan a small trip in the university’s city to locate important places closest to living arrangements: grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and bars, gyms, and more. Not only is knowing where most things are crucial but also understanding streets can help avoid going down wrong one-ways. Also, this is the time to check out the local public transportation--save money by travelling via bus and light rail.
Downsize. Many people dread this advice. However, the average college dorm room in the United States is 130-200 square feet. That’s tiny! And often, the space is shared with more than one person. Therefore, it’s important to only have necessities. When going through belongings, students should ask themselves these questions: What is this item’s current use? What is its future use? How important is this item personally? Is it worth the space it takes up? When was the last time this piece of clothing was worn?
Choose quality over quantity with purchases. Students do not have room for quantity. In order to cope with that, the items that students do purchase should be high in value to outweigh the want for quantity. Instead of owning a hundred books, students can reduce down to an e-reader and have their “deserted island books” in hardback and signed.
Clean every day. In small spaces, clutter builds up fast. Therefore, create a cleaning schedule and chore list. Spending ten minutes a day with an hour of major cleaning here or there is much easier than letting everything pile up and having to spend several hours during the weekend cleaning and organizing. Not to mention having a constant clean environment will help with studying and lowering stress.
Plan a grocery budget. Many colleges offer meal plans for those living in dorms, so most meals are taken care of. However, some people do not have that option or they opt to cook their own food. A grocery budget is a must-have. Depending on what appliances are available for students who cook their own food, $30 to $50 should be enough for a week’s worth of groceries. Making sure to always have enough money each week may require students to avoid eating or drinking out. However, it’s
better than falling prey to eating ramen everyday.
Start learning simple recipes. To further cut food costs each week, consider learning simple recipes. Many students  nd themselves with only the knowledge of a few recipes, some of which require a lot of expensive ingredients. Pinterest and many other websites offer simple recipes with as little as two or three ingredients. Aim for recipes, like spaghetti or tuna casserole, where leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. That way students do not have to cook every day.
Prepare for homesickness. One major challenge many new freshmen face is homesickness. No longer are they surrounded by friends and family. Instead, they are submerged in a sea of new faces and responsibilities that take away from social life. The change often results in depression. Ways to counter homesickness is by joining a club, video chatting friends and family, keeping up-to-date on social media, and exercising. Building new relationships on campus helps as well.
Adjusting to college takes time and effort. These can be some of the happiest or most stressful days of a person’s life. By following these tips, students can make the best of their  rst semester.

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