Getting Off to the Best Start in Your First Year of College

There’s no doubt that your first year of college will be exciting, but moving away from home for the first time and having greater independence and a whole host of new responsibilities will probably be a little intimidating, too.

Learn how to successfully navigate the academic and social worlds of college with some useful tips that include: striving to get along with your roommate, being flexible, taking your coursework seriously, creating and following a schedule, and getting involved with student activities.

Strive to Get Along with Your Roommate

Especially in their first year, most students will live with a roommate and, often times, it’s an individual they don’t know beforehand. While some roommate pairings seem to be totally natural right from the beginning, others  take a little work to establish a friendship or at least a good system for sharing a living space.

At our off-campus Fanshawe College residence, we provide a roommate matching service that is an effective way to ensure you’re paired with other students who suit your personality and share some of your lifestyle preferences.

No matter where you choose to live, one of the easiest ways to create ‘roommate harmony’ is to establish some rules. This list should include how you want to approach sharing food or other items, study time, having guests (especially overnight guests), going to bed, and more.

Be Flexible

Being flexible can keep you open to, and ready for, change. Since post-secondary is a new adventure and a major adjustment, you will need this flexibility. Flexibility and openness will also come in handy when meeting people from different backgrounds with different values, personalities, etc. The more flexible and open you are, the easier it will be to understand, investigate, and accept these differences. Flexibility can also help you with course selection. If you’re open-minded and looking to explore new areas, you can find plenty of interesting and unique courses.

Unique activities and experiences also await students who are willing to try them. Knowing that change is inevitable can make you accepting and less anxious when it happens. Don’t panic if your interests change or if you begin to disconnect with old friends or even members of your family. It’s a part of growing up, especially as you learn new things, meet new people, travel to new places, and have new experiences.

Take Your Coursework Seriously

There are lots of opportunities for fun, but your primary goal is to learn and not to party. Learning at the collegiate level is much different than learning at the high school level. Your professor won’t hold your hand by making sure you’ve completed reading assignments, are taking notes, or will turn your assignments in on time.

Take the learning process seriously. Here’s how:

  • Take notes in a structured and efficient manner – during lectures and reading assignments

  • Get plenty of rest to ensure you’re alert during class

  • Stay as focused as possible on the professor and classroom activity

  • Engage in classroom discussions and ask questions

  • Use flashcards and other engaging shortcuts as study aids

  • Ask for help from your professor, other students and/or visit the tutoring centre or other learning centres when needed, or join a study group

  • Write a personal mission statement and stick to it

  • Study in a quiet area and visit the library often

  • Take study breaks

  • Mark your assignments and projects in your calendar

Create and Follow a Schedule

A comprehensive schedule is a must-have for all students, as they help you keep track of important tasks and assignments. You can create a schedule using your smartphone calendar, a calendar app, or a physical planner. This schedule doesn’t have to include your course schedule, but it should include:

  • Daily activities, including attending classes

  • Pertinent tasks, such as completing assignments and personal obligations

  • Your work schedule

  • Weekly and monthly academic and personal goals

  • Space for leisure activities

Follow your plan carefully and refer to it when needed. Additionally, only write your schedule in pencil or erasable ink, as this makes it easier to change some things or delete them from your plans.

Get Involved with Student Activities

Joining a club, volunteering, or playing sports can promote school pride. It can also promote personal pride and confidence, raise self-esteem and self-awareness, and make you feel like you’re a part of the school. Involvement in activities is also an excellent cure for loneliness and a way to exercise your talents or feed your interests.

Last but not least, one of the best ways to ensure a great first year at school is to find awesome student housing. Foundry First is an off-campus Fanshawe College residence and your source for a fun and comfortable living environment. Contact us today for more information.