If you’re headed off to college or university in the near future, you’re probably pretty excited, but nervous, too. It’s natural to get the jitters before embarking on any new experience, but with a few tips, you’ll be well prepared for the life-changing journey that lies ahead. Here are a few things you can do in advance to get ready for college or university.
Yes, you might already be signed up for the meal plan and have the local pizza parlour on speed dial, but living away from home also means you’re an adult now. You’ll likely need to take care of yourself more than you’ve had to while living at home.
Before you leave for school, learn to make a few things you like to eat. Ask your parents to teach you a few tricks, buy a recipe book, figure out what pots and pans you’ll need. Experiment in the kitchen. It would also be a good time to learn to wash your clothing.
Do you wash the lights and darks together or separately? Which items of clothing need to hang to dry and which can go in the dryer? These are all good things to figure out in advance—before you accidentally shrink your favourite shirt at school. While you’re in this mode, do you know how to clean a washroom, vacuum and make your bed? This is a great time to learn.
If you don’t already have a credit or debit card and have your online banking account set up, this would be the perfect time to get your financial situation sorted out. Not only will you be responsible for shopping for things like food and books, you might also have bills to pay if you’re living off campus. Ask your parents for help or visit your local bank to get set up.
While you’re thinking about finances, establish a budget for yourself. How much money will you need each month? Where will the money come from?
Do you need a part-time job this summer to help pay for the year ahead? Do you need a job on campus? Be realistic and start thinking about how much you’ll need for food, entertainment, tuition, books and other items you might be required to pay for while living on your own.
Have you already been accepted to residence? Have you decided to live off campus? If you’ve got that sorted out, that’s great. You’re ahead of the game. If you are still in need of accommodation, this would be the time to get cracking.
Do your research. Where do most undergraduates live and why? You’ll likely want to be near your classes so you aren’t running a mile across campus to make it to school on time. Or perhaps you want to be near the shops or entertainment scene? It might be convenient, but it could also be distracting.
Will you have a car? Where will you park? Take a tour of the campus to get your bearings. Speak to other students who are already in their first or second year. Contact the school for advice if you’re unsure.
Did your college or university residence give you a packing list? Do you know the dimensions of your dorm room? Certain things will likely already be provided, such as a bed, closet, desk and some shelves. What else do you need to live on your own? Toiletries, a shower curtain, bath mat, cookware, pantry staples, cleaning and laundry supplies are some ideas to get you started.
Don’t forget your clothes. Will you be visiting home often or will you need to pack for several months in advance? Will you be joining a club, hitting the gym or trying out for a team? You’ll need to plan accordingly and bring all the necessities.
Do you have a laptop, printer and whatever other office supplies you’ll need to complete your course assignments? What about a phone, chargers and all the cords you’ll need to connect your electronics?
Put together a list and figure out which items you know you’ll need and which you might not need. For instance, you might be able to submit essays and projects online, while others professors will require a hard copy.
Talk to older students and seek their advice. Think about the things that will keep you organized. Do you need an agenda, calendar or bulletin board? Make a list and check it twice!
You will make friends, you will find your way to your classes and you will have fun. This is definitely a new phase in your life, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the unknown. If you’re prepared in advance with all the essentials, you’ll have one less thing to worry about when you arrive on campus your first day.
Echo Editor April 3rd, 2018
The key to succeeding in university is being organized. It’s important, especially when you’re living on your own for the first time, to stay on top of things. You won’t have anyone reminding you to wake up and get to class on time. You’ll have to remember where you put your keys. And since you’ll likely be living in a smaller space than you’re used to, you’ll want to make sure you have all the essentials—and that they are in their proper place.
If you don’t know where to begin, here are a few tips to help you get started:
Have an agenda. Whether you have a physical book or use your online calendar, get in the habit of using it every day. It’s a great tool to help you remember everything from deadlines to birthdays to appointments. If you’re using your online calendar, be sure to schedule reminders that pop up in advance so you’re never surprised or late when you have something important to remember. You can take this one step further by writing yourself notes on a notepad or sticky tabs. This is a great way to keep a grocery list so you don’t waste time making several trips to the grocery store when one would do.
Set your alarm. If you have to get up at a certain time on a certain day, using your smartphone to set an alarm is a helpful way to make sure you’re awake on time. It’s a simple thing to do, but easy to forget. Once you have your school schedule, set your alarm right away so it goes off when you need it most.
Organize your room. Do you need storage boxes? Closet organizers? File folders? Hooks to hang things on the back of your door instead of tossing them on the floor? Go to a store that has items to help you make sense of your new space. This can include an office supply store, Ikea, or a store that specializes in home organization. Speak to your friends and parents to see if they have any tips for items that may be especially useful or practical. Have fun with it and buy the colours and decor items that make you feel comfortable and happy in your new space.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Take a few minutes at the end of each day to tidy your room and desk.[/pullquote]
Get a backpack. It’s important to be organized on the go as well. Choose a backpack that is sturdy, durable and feels comfortable on your shoulders when it’s loaded with books. Does it have a special compartment for your laptop? A place to put a water bottle or gym shoes? Look around and find one that is practical for your needs. You will be using it a lot on campus.
Get all the supplies you need. Do you have a printer that works? What about extra paper and ink? Are all your cords untangled and organized so you can keep your phone and laptop charged? You’ll need a few other desktop essentials. This can include notebooks, lined paper, binders, a stapler, pens, pencils, highlighter, whiteout, a three-hole punch, garbage can and bulletin board with tacks. Often these products are on sale during the summer, so shop wisely and make sure you have everything you need to get your year off to a good start.
Colour code your work. It’s often helpful to colour code binders or file folders. That way you can visually see what notebook to put in your bag on what day. It’s a great way to easily keep all your work for a particular subject in the right place. Once you’re organized, don’t be lazy. Make sure you’re using this system to its full potential.
Tidy up. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to tidy your room and desk. It feels great to wake up to a clean, organized room. It’s an automatic fresh start to a new day. You’ll be happy that you took the time to do this.
Have fun. School is also about socializing, exploring different interests and trying new things. It’s great to be organized and on top of things, but don’t forget to enjoy yourself. In addition to being great for your mental and physical health, taking a break can offer some much-needed stress relief from the your new everyday routine.
Echo Editor October 12th, 2017