(RNN) - High school is over, college is about to begin and as an adult you’re now ready to do whatever you want without supervision, like attend parties away from home. But having fun isn’t the only thing a freshman in college should think about.
Budgeting money, learning how to cook, completing class assignments, not being late to class and avoiding reckless behavior, are among a list of things that every freshman should know.
“Freshmen students should become organized and goal-oriented when entering college,” said Dr. Tara Scott, professor at Columbus Technical College.
Before school officially starts, it’s a good idea to visit the college you will attend. Get a map of your school and walk around campus so you can find the student lounge, bookstore and classrooms.
Once you find the bookstore, search for a new or used books you will need for your classes. If the prices aren’t within your budget, visit another bookstore to shop for better deals - or buy books from a student who is selling theirs.
Check your emails before classes start because you can expect to receive a syllabus, reading material and homework before you meet your professor in person.
Find out what your professor expects and study what your major requires. After a week or so, you will know if it’s right for you. It’s not recommended to drop classes, but you are allowed a few weeks to do so, once you know which major you want to pursue.
“Freshmen should become self-directed learners to ensure they achieve the competencies within their desired program of study,” Scott said.
One of the most important things a freshman should know is to set your alarm clock or cell phone alarm an hour or two before your first class. You never know what can slow you down in the morning.
Diverse people from all different walks of life will be going through the same emotions as you, so take the time to meet peers who share your interests. An undergraduate career only lasts four years, so make sure you make some friends along the way.
As a freshman, staying in a dormitory will help you make friends, as well as keep you up-to-date on campus events that you may not be aware of if you live off campus. Furnishing your new home away from home can be fun, and arts and crafts stores can help give your space personality.
Don’t worry too much about finding the perfect outfit for the first, second or 15th day of school. Most upperclassmen wear sweats and shorts with T-shirts to class every day. Being comfortable is important when you’re going to be on campus all day, unless you are dressing for a special function.
“Freshmen students should begin and end with great expectations and a positive attitude,” Scott said.
Participate in class, raise your hand and ask questions. Your professor will see that you are interested in the lecture and are trying to engage. Communication and sitting toward the front of the room will show you are attentive and ready to learn.
If you’re not sick, don’t skip class no matter how bored you are with the lectures. Missing a day of class is like falling a week behind in work. Skipping class can cause you to fail, and if your GPA drops below the required average, you will be put on probation for a semester, and then possibly kicked out of school.
Attending parties is important for your social life but can be an educational hindrance. Heavy partying and little to no sleep will wear your body down and hurt your academic performance.
When you do attend parties remember to not accept drinks that you didn’t see being poured, you never know if someone will try and slip a drug in it.
Knowing how to cook is important unless you plan on spending a lot of money on fast food and microwavable dishes. Grocery shopping in college can be a challenge, but once you have mastered the art of budgeting and couponing, you will be able to eat healthy and for less. So ask mom, dad and even your grandparents for a few easy recipes.
It may be in your best interest to get a part-time job if you are low on money and need to support yourself. A job will also create discipline in your schedule and can help keep you focused on your goals while putting extra cash in your pocket.
Make sure you have health insurance. If you’re under your parents’ insurance, have the card on-hand for a walk-in or appointment. Colleges offer health insurance to full-time students, as well.
For those striving to finish school earlier than the standard four years, plan to take summer classes in between semesters. It’s a lot of work, but it can allow you to pursue postgraduate degrees at a younger age and get on with your life and career.
Your advisor is always there to help you transition through your classes, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Make use of them.
If you’d rather take advice from people in your age group, talk to students at your school for advice.
If you aren’t ready emotionally or financially to attend a university away from home, there’s nothing wrong with attending a community college to finish your general courses before applying to the university to finish up.
It can save money on and give you time to mature. Early morning classes, transit bus rides and fun nights will always be there, when you’re ready. You just may need to experience it as a sophomore or junior.
“All students need to make sure they’re ready for the responsibilities that comes with going to an out-of-state college. It’s OK to wait a year or two, to ensure you have the best and most successful experience,” Scott said.Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.