For many of you out there, this may be your first semester of college, and you won’t really understand how great it is until you finally move in. Being on your own, hundreds of miles away from your own home is both scary and invigorating, as it gives you a fresh start and a chance to really come into your own and become an adult.

Getting all this freedom at once, however, can turn from a great life experience to a disaster in a single semester so I’m here to give some veteran advice on the do’s and don’ts of freshman year.

The Dorm Room Trap

So, you move into a room that’s probably smaller than your current abode and you meet a complete stranger that you’ll be living with for the next year. (Or if you’re a girl, the next 2 months until you both hate each other so much the RA has to come in and break up World War III every two days because someone left a dish out.)

First off, try to be friends with your roommate. If your personalities are drastically different, go make new friends! It’s really easy to fall into the trap of hanging out with the kids you meet in the first week that live in your hall because you’re too afraid to go out and find people that share your interests.

Trust me, college is the time to be yourself and hangout with people that you really want to. Otherwise you’ll be four weeks into the semester bored out of your mind with people you have no connection with.

Related: Making The Best Of Living With Roommates

Club Night

All schools have them — even if they have a different name — and being stuck in “high school mode”, some students think they’re too cool for a lame event like Club Night. They’re wrong.

These events are not only offering free food, but they’re also full of hundreds of clubs that you never would have thought of. The great thing about going to college, as I mentioned before, is that you can really be you and figure out what you find interesting and do things not because it’s the “cool” thing to do but because it’s fun.

Want to join the Quidditch team? Of course you do, because you’re a wizard, Harry. How about joining a sorority? You go girl. They even have clubs for all majors and professions. So you not only have study buddies but you can also network like a champ. And the greatest part is, if they don’t offer the club you think would be cool, fire up the ole’ Facebook machine, get some friends, and make the club yourself!

RelatedThe Care and Keeping of College Clubs

Skipping

We’ve looked at skipping from almost every angle here at HackCollege, but it’s a horse that really needs a beating. Up until now, you’ve probably gotten up at 6 and home around 3. But now, you may only have 2 classes a day and when that alarm clock goes off at 10, the last thing you want to do is walk all the way to the science hall across campus and take notes.

I won’t say don’t skip because everyone skips, but you need to become a skipping pro. “But Andrew, how do I do such a thing?” Don’t you worry, champ, I’ll teach you.

  • Read the syllabus! There will always be an attendance policy in there and you need to know that baby by heart. Most professors give you 2-4 unexcused absences and the key here is to not take all 4 near each other. Spread them out over the semester for the days you really need it.
  • Don’t be that guy/girl. Here’s what I mean: If you skip, that’s on you. But have a contact in the class that can cover for you and vice versa. That way if it turns out you have a pop quiz that day your contact can shoot you a quick text to get your booty to class ASAP. Also, NO ONE likes the kid who emails the whole class saying, “Hey everyone, I missed class today. Will someone email me the notes?” Don’t be that kid!
  • Never two in a row. Plain and simple. Don’t do it unless you actually have an excuse.
  • Professors are SUPER smart. They’ve been teaching for an average of a billion years, so they’ve heard every excuse you can think of. Don’t try to lie to them if you missed something important. If you’re honest with them you’ll look a lot better.

 

Image: NazarethCollege