First Day of College: What to Expect and Tips for Surviving and Thriving  

All high school seniors are stoked for college but are surely feeling anxious and nervous as well. There’s a whole new campus, a new set of people and teachers, a daunting curriculum, and an entire community to be familiar with. It could be overwhelming, even if you’re well-prepared.

But being overwhelmed shouldn’t stop you from surviving your first day of college and having fun. Sure, it can be a little hard to have fun when your aloof roommate intimidates you, or when you get lost in the campus. Still, these circumstances have a bright side, which you’d look back to with glee someday.

That said, if you’re about to head to college with barely any idea on what to expect and how to survive, here’s a simple guide to prepare you:

Things to Expect

  1. You Might Encounter Some Problems

Right off the bat, accept that your first day wouldn’t be perfect. You might be late because you overslept, or miscalculated your travel time, or got lost finding your classroom. Take it easy if you experience any of these scenarios, and moving forward, adjust your morning prep time to make allowances for unanticipated circumstances.

  1. You Might Get Lost on Campus

Getting lost on the campus can make you late, as well as scare and annoy you. Your anxiety might worsen your situation. To avoid this mishap, print the campus map and try to memorize your way by studying it. In the campus, don’t be afraid to ask for directions; everybody will understand your struggle because most chances are they’ve been in your shoes once.

  1. You Need a Pen and Notebooks

Everything might be already digitalized these days, but the good old paper and pen haven’t lost their purposes yet. Some classes may have a no-electronics policy, so better equip yourself with notebooks and ballpoint pens.

  1. Having No One to Sit With at Lunch

In high school, eating alone seems to be the worst thing that’ll happen to us, but in college, it won’t matter anymore. The initial fright is normal, but later on, you’d realize that sitting alone at lunch isn’t at all embarrassing. You’d find friends eventually, but for the meantime, enjoy your solitude.

Surviving and Thriving

Some reputable college preparatory high schools in Salt Lake City and other areas will adequately prepare you for thriving college academic-wise, which is highly important, but you should thrive in other areas too aside from your subjects.

Your interpersonal skills will be crucial. You need to expand your network to benefit you in your career later in life. Use your college’s website, career center, and alumni network to search for new connections. Research about successful individuals, organizations, and career fields you’re interested in. Learn how to use professional communication platforms like LinkedIn to make new contacts.

When you introduce yourself, go beyond the superficial details of your character. It’s okay to show a little vulnerability. Tell stories about your past that helped honed your current skills. Think about your strengths that you want to be known for. Discuss problems that only you can solve. You can also ask for advice. Introducing yourself this way earn you more respect from your peers, who can be your potential business partners or employers.

Don’t be afraid of failure, but don’t use it to justify procrastination. Always study hard, take notes, read all the books you need. When you’re told not to be afraid of failure, it means practicing self-compassion. The college will give you lots of hardships, which can result in failure in various ways, not just in your academics. When you’re at your lowest, don’t blame yourself; rather, give yourself love and comfort by doing something you enjoy and nurturing your mental health.

Your well-being is just as valuable as your grades, so don’t pressure yourself to be on top all the time. You’ll experience pitfalls, and that’s okay and normal. Start college bravely and thrive by being a mature, level-headed student.

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