If you’re a little nervous heading off to college, you’re not alone. Living away from home for the first time and taking classes that are harder than you’ve ever had can be intimidating. Luckily, there are college life hacks that can make these first semesters more bearable. Here are just a few.
College Life Hacks for a Smooth College Transition
#1 Own Your Education From the Start
Living on your own can be lots of fun, but remember why you’re there. Focus on your academic success right from the start and your years ahead will be much easier.
- Establish a relationship with your professors early. Schedule a meeting to discuss any issues or concerns you have about the syllabus as soon as you receive it. Showing that you care about your grades will help build a rapport with your teachers, and will make it more likely that they’ll write a letter of recommendation for you when the time comes.
- Watch for the hard workers in your classes, and befriend them. When it comes time to work on group projects, it will pay off to have someone on your team who cares about the grade as much as you do.
- Record lectures, and listen to them at double speed. One of the most important college essentials is a digital voice recorder to take to classes. It’s easy to listen to lectures twice as fast to get some last minute studying done.
#2 Know Which College Essentials You Need
Most students overpack since they don’t know what they’ll use and what they won’t. You’ll find lots of lists of college essentials online. Here are a few additional things you’ll need for college life hacks in a dorm that you haven’t thought about.
- A mug and a microwave. You won’t have a stove in your room, so learning to cook everything in the microwave is a must. You can make scrambled eggs, oatmeal, soup, and mac and cheese easily. Just Google microwave mug meals.
- A delicates bag, laundry detergent pods, and a sturdy basket. Lugging your laundry back and forth is a big new task. Instead of hauling the whole container of detergent, keep a box of pods in your room and take one at a time. And to keep from losing socks and underwear, put them all together in a delicates bag and toss it in the wash.
- Over-the-door shoe organizer. There’s not much storage in a dorm room, so use these to organize food, cosmetics, and other college essentials.
- A soft but durable mattress pad. Chances are your dorm mattress will be too firm, too lumpy, or somewhere in between. Investing in a mattress topper will help you feel cozier and get better sleep.
For more essentials, explore College Dorm Room Essentials | The Must Have List.
#3 Be Smart With Your Money
Your college years will probably put you on the tightest budget you’ll ever have. Manage your funds from the beginning, so you don’t find yourself calling mom for money.
- Learn where the free food is. During your first semester, you can get fed at freshman welcome events and club recruitment meetings. Also, ask upperclassmen where the free food is and check bulletin boards often for announcements.
- Start a change jar. Toss your change in there every day, and don’t use it unless there’s an emergency (like when you really, really want pizza).
- Look into work study. See if you qualify for work study through your college. An on-campus job can help you make money between classes.
#4 Sleep Well
Your college education is your (or your parents’) biggest investment. Make it a point to get enough sleep so you can focus in class and get the best possible GPA for a successful future.
- Don’t procrastinate. Start working on assignments as soon as you receive them, so you’re not awake all night finishing them at the last minute.
- Discuss time boundaries with your roommate. You can’t set an actual curfew, but let your roommate know that you don’t want him or her coming in at all hours of the night and waking you up.
- Invest in a mattress topper. As we mentioned on the college essentials list, a comfortable bed is a must if you want to sleep soundly.
A Comfortable Dorm Mattress is Just a Click Away
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Start your homework early. Download your FREE copy of From Zs to As: A Guide to Better Sleep and Better Grades to learn about the strong connection between quality sleep and academic performance in college students: