Three Tips for First Year Students - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Campus Life College Preparation
August 11, 2018

Three Tips for First Year Students

You think you’re ready for the move to college? I did too, but I wish I knew about these three tips when I was coming to college and moving into my residence hall in my freshman year at college. I think these bits of advice are general enough to work at just about any university residence hall.

  1. Write down what you have to do.

It doesn’t matter how well you remember things or how good you were at getting things done in high school; college is different. There will be more to do in and out of the classroom, and eventually it will be difficult to stay on top of everything. Some things will come up spontaneously and you will need to immediately take a note to remember. You don’t necessarily need to get a physical planner—it may be easier and more practical to get an online planner or an app to keep everything organized so you can record in right on your phone. Whatever type of planner you get, the key is organization. Personally, I try to plan out how much work I have each week and check things off as I go. Writing down everything you have is a good way to make sure you are keeping up with everything, and the feeling of crossing things off your list once you’re done can certainly be a motivating factor, as well. Start with your move-in list. You should include everything you plan to pack and bring with you. Why not number the boxes in the order you want to unpack them? That’s a great plan. Staying organized will help you get settled in more quickly and let you get out there mingling with your new friends and classmates instead of going through multiple boxes looking for your socks.

  1. Think carefully before bringing a TV.

This really depends on your proclivity to get distracted and procrastinate. Having a TV can be a nice addition to a student room that provides an escape from the rigor of schoolwork when you need to relax and watch Netflix or play a video game. And there is nothing wrong with that; relaxation is necessary to avoid burning out. However, for many, what should be a temporary escape turns into a constant distraction that can inhibit someone from getting anything of value done because the temptation of a video game or the next episode of that show you are binge watching is constantly there, available at the simple click of a button. Sure, this temptation exists on phones as well, but they can more easily be put away and out of sight. A TV can be great, but just know what you are getting into. Be honest with yourself: Are you addicted to GTA, Call of Duty, Fortnite, or some other video game? Maybe consider leaving your TV at home instead of bringing that temptation with you to college. Author Neil Postman wrote, “People will come to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.” College is a unique opportunity to learn to think widely and deeply—don’t miss it by distraction.

  1. Get a mini-fridge.

There are often larger fridges in lounges or other areas of a residence hall, but they are filled with other people’s food and drinks. Since these are common fridges, space is at a premium since no one “owns” them, they can become a bit dirty. Beyond that, some people have a tendency to “get confused” about what is theirs and what is someone else’s stuff. That two-liter bottle of Dr. Pepper you bought? There is no guarantee someone won’t just pour themselves a glass. A mini-fridge is good because it is a private place to store your leftover food or any soda, milk, etc. that you have with you. It might not seem as important now, but it is a very convenient item to have in college, and you will not regret buying one for your residence.

Preparation for the start of college and living in a residence hall is a great way to show you’re ready to be, kind of, on your own. I promise you won’t regret following this advice during your first year at college living on campus.