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 1.    Get excited! This is your first year in college, so you’ll most likely be excited about the big changes that are going to take  Spongebobover your life. Whether you can’t wait to join clubs and meet new people or just get away from home for a while, there should be something for everyone to anticipate when heading off to college for the first time! You’ll have a lot of fun and learn many things while you’re here, making memories and friendships that will last forever! Sounds awesome, right? It will be!

2.    Decorate your dorm or apartment. When you get to campus, you head into your dorm for room check-in and you get your keys, proceed to your room. You’re about to burst with excitement and your expectations are through the roof … until you open the door and see this bland, bare room, right? Well, Dorm Room decoratednever fear: that’s what decorations are for! Pretty much every student at every college has had this issue at least once, but decorating is the fun and easy way to take your room from plain to perfectly comfortable! Fill it with things that will make your room brighter, make you smile, and make you feel more at home. Some personal suggestions: lamps, a jumbo calendar, posters, a cozy rug, a TV and mini fridge, a futon and colorful throw pillows. Maybe even some paper lanterns! Your room is your oyster (and where you’ll live for the next year) so make it rock!

3. Don’t only take required classes. This is one of my most-stressed tips! Many students come into their first year expecting to take a full schedule of difficult classes and effortlessly make perfect grades because “that’s what they did in high school.” And, while some students do, in fact, succeed, many of them end up over-stressed and/or rarely have time to do enjoyable things their first year. The point: take a few required classes, but definitely include some classes that you want to take as well. College is not only meant to teach you the things you’ll need for your major, but to also make you well-rounded and help you find what you love. So, if you like music, take a music class! If you want to learn more about volcanic rocks? Take a special topics course in geology! I learned Italian during my first year and loved every moment and aced the classes—a double benefit! You will love your first year a lot more if you can incorporate fun into your daily schedule! Remember: work hard, play hard!

So instead of this…

hard schedule

Do this!

balanced schedule

4.   Get involved. One of the best ways to make your first year on campus awesome is to join a group or organization that caters to your interest(s). There is a surplus of things to get into, from Community Service, Club Sports, Student UnionGovernment and Greek Life and so much more; the choice is completely up to you! Joining an organization that you’re interested in will not only allow you to get involved on campus, but you will also have the added bonus of meeting new people and making new friends who share your same interests! My first year, I became a volunteer for the UGA Student Union’s entertainment committee and had some awesome experiences (including meeting Kendrick Lamar)! So what are you waiting for? Get out there!

5. Stay positive! If you haven’t heard what I’m about to say, then let me be the first to tell you: College is NOT complete smiles and happiness all the time. Despite what anyone may tell you, the collegiate experience comes with its own set of struggles and obstacles. BUT also know that all of those struggles can be overcome with a little positivity! There will be times when you are stressed, confused or questioning everything from your GPA to your major, but those times will eventually come to pass! Stress is definitely a normal part of college, so as long as you remember that everything will be okay and to keep trucking along, you will be fine! Plus, the more you conquer now, the better your road will be later on and the more worthwhile the journey will be!

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