surviving-college-in-the-big--city-coverA Guide to Surviving College in a Big City
By: Brittany DeBaltz

Graduation doesn’t feel real until you finally cross that stage. High school is over. You’re off to college. Whether or not you’re about to go away to college, everything is about to change. Change is inevitable, especially if you find yourself in a big city.

What you did in high school no longer matters as you make the transition into college. You’re starting with a clean slate, a fresh page. This is the beginning of your adult transition. What many don’t tell you is that the decisions you make within your first year of college have a major impact on the rest of your time in college.

Since the first couple of weeks are so crucial, we at Admitopia have put together a few tips and tricks to help you survive the switch:

1. Organize Like Crazy
College isn’t like high school where everything is handed to you. You’re required to turn everything on time and fully complete. There are no second chances. Buy a planner, use an app on your iPhone or put up a huge wall calendar, whatever it takes to get your assignments done.

2. Own the Newbie Status
The faster you learn your way around campus, the faster you will begin to feel at ease. Homesickness is a thing. I know it seems impossible now, but once you get to school you’ll want to know where you can ice cream on a bad day at 1AM. Go to orientation, this will not only introduce you to new people, but will give you a tour of campus from someone who knows the ins and outs.

3. Yes, New Friends
Disregard Drake and makes some new friends. You’re stuck with the people in your residence hall and although you may not like them all, you’ll still need to get along with them. This will come in handy with homework, tests and even homesickness.

4. Find Your Quiet Place
It may be the library or the cute coffee shop down the street, but you need to find a place that works for you. Find a place where you won’t be distracted and will get work done.

5. Go to Class, To Save Your @$$
You need to attend class to do well. I know it sounds obvious, but those 8AM’s will start catching up to you and you’ll be tempted to sleep in. Don’t do it. If you know you’re not a morning person, then schedule your classes later in the day. There shouldn’t be an excuse to miss out on assignments or learning the lesson.
6. Befriend Your Professors
Introduce yourself to your professors on your first day. If you’re too shy to go up after class, then email them and begin a relationship. Professors schedule extra help and office hours for a main purpose of meeting with their students. Take advantage of that time because it will help you later on down the line.

7. Your Academic Advisor is Not the Enemy
Scheduling time to meet with your advisor can be hectic, but do it anyways. If you have to email to communicate, then do that. If you don’t mesh with the advisor you’re assigned to, change to someone else. This person is going to be with you all four years; you need to form a relationship with them. Your advisor is the one who will help you add or drop classes, they’ll put in a request if you don’t do so hot in a class, and even give you tough love when you change your major ten million times.

8. Plug Yourself In
A big problem with new students is that they can’t find a place to belong. Join a group, whether it is a student organization, club, sorority, fraternity or sports team. You’ll make new friends, learn new skills and feel more connected and at home within your new school.

9. Go Exploring
You’ve moved to a big city for Pete’s sake, check it out. Make yourself a coffee bucket list, find a hole-in-the wall bar, or just walk around. Most city museums have free days for you to take advantage of. Your school website will even have a list of places where you’ll get discounts or free tickets. Use them while you can.

10. Balance
College life needs to be a mixture of social and academic otherwise you’ll go crazy. Don’t immerse yourself so far into your studies that you have no social life.

10. The Syllabi is Your Bible
Learn it, know it and check it. Professors prepare the syllabi so there will be no surprises and you’ll always know what is happening. Don’t even try to excuse late homework by saying you don’t know about it, it won’t work.

11. Learn Your Way Around
Public transportation will be a lifesaver in a big city. Until you can get the hang of the train and buses, download your city’s local transportation app. If you invest in a bike, make sure you have a good lock and you always have a place to put it. This will not only save you money, but time as well.

12. Shoot for the Stars
Obvious, right? Good grades may have come natural to you once, but in college you’re going to have to earn them. Start studying for tests early and take advantage of study groups. This means setting some goals and then working as hard as you can to achieve them.

13. Make YOU Time
Set time aside to relieve yourself of stress. Join a yoga class, binge watch your favorite shows or start a blog. If you’re not good to yourself, you can’t expect to succeed.

14. Tune It Out
Invest in headphones and use them. You won’t know how much you need your headphones until some crazy person on the train tries talking to you. These will come in handy while your studying or if your roommate is feeling talkative.

15. Find Your Study Resources
Take advantages of your learning labs and tutors that your college makes available. If you’re having trouble in a class, these will help you learn the material completely. If you more of an interactive study method, form a study group.

16. Learn City Etiquette
Keep to the right when you’re walking on the stairs or the escalators. Walking in crowded spaces is hard enough when you’re not being respectful to those around you. To avoid the awkward sidewalk dance, avoid eye contact when you’re walking toward someone.

17. Make a Friend in Each Class
On your first week of class, meet at least one person that you can continue to use as a resource as the class goes on. This will come in handy if you miss a class or need help class materials.

18. Don’t Procrastinate
Waiting until the last minute won’t work like it did in high school. If you want good grades, then you need to work for it. Cramming for a test the night before may work once, but continually doing so will make it hard come finals time. Give yourself deadlines and then stick to them.

19. Learn Quick Tips for Your Dorm
Over time you’ll learn little quick fixes to make your dorm work. Is leftover Thai stinking your room up? Place a dryer sheet over the air conditioner or air vent. Feel like grilling? Use a cooling rack and a lasagna pan as a grill. Don’t have the space for an iron and an ironing board? Use your straightener as an iron.

20. Take Advantage of Career Services
21. Being Overwhelmed is Normal
Your life is hectic right now. There’s going to be moments where it feels like you’re way in over your head, but it is all going to be worth it in the end. Just know you’re not the only one feeling that way, but if it does get to be too much then seek out someone to talk to in your school’s counseling center.

22. Not Everything Will Be Perfect
Don’t feel pressured to make an crazy decisions about your career or major. Even if it feels lik everyone else has it all together, college is a time for you to discover ho you are. These four years are a time for you to find what you want to do, what you’re good at and what you enjoy. Take your time and explore all your options. Don’t feel trapped in something that you don’t enjoy.

Moving away to college is a scary experience, but moving to a big city where you know no one is even scarier. Learn to take advantage of your new friends and professors; they’ll help you in the long run. Make memories and learn as much as you can because one day before you know it your college experience will be over. Four years may seem like an eternity now, but they’ll speed by and soon you’ll be walking across that second stage and beginning your post-grad life.