Once you grow up, move out of your parent’s house, and start your university career, it’ll feel like being in a race against time itself. You have to keep it together because you’re an adult now. Fortunately, you can follow these incredible tips for surviving college to stay afloat and get your diploma. Let’s find out more!
1. Organize Your Closet
One of the hardest things for people just moving into a dorm or a room in a shared apartment is organizing their closet. It may have been easy to arrange everything at your parent’s house, especially with your mother’s help, but now, you’re on your own. You won’t necessarily have a custom closet design to store everything correctly, and it would be a bad idea just to shove everything into the closet and forget about it.
Therefore, you need to follow specific tips regarding the organization, like hanging more things instead of putting them in a drawer. Some clothes are more prone to wrinkling, and most college students don’t even have an iron, so you should hang as many pieces of clothing as possible. You should have a few nice outfits in case of events, which should always be perfectly straight.
You can also add a few drawers under your hanging clothes. Most people let that space go to waste, but an excellent trick for surviving college is to use every nook and cranny available. Therefore, get a few drawers to place on your dorm closet floor and use them for t-shirts, socks, underwear, etc. You’ll be glad for that extra storage space.
2. Know How to Deal With Emergencies
Moving to college is like being thrust into adulthood without a guide, and you should understand how to deal with emergencies, whether you live in a dorm or an apartment. Many students have no idea what to do if they find a leaking pipe because they never had to call a local plumber before. Therefore, learn your exact address and always keep your phone nearby to call 911 in an urgent situation if something dangerous happens.
Other emergencies will require you to act quickly. For example, if there’s a fire in your dorm — as some people keep hotplates — you should know where the fire extinguishers in the building are. Evacuate the area, ring the alarm, call the local authorities, etc. You need to do everything to ensure your safety.
You may also have medical emergencies, like fracturing a limb or catching a severe flu. Every student should understand where the nurse’s office is or what departments they should call if something happens. Common medical problems on campus include heart attacks, allergy episodes, panic attacks, seizures, alcohol poisoning, and losing consciousness. Another excellent tip for surviving college is knowing what to do when an emergency prevents you from attending class.
3. Have a Comfortable Living Space
The college experience is different for everyone. Some people love being away from home, enjoying their independence. Others feel homesick, especially during their first year. Therefore, creating a comfortable living space is helpful. Dorms are often impersonal and uninviting, but you can quickly turn your place into a haven with a few tricks.
First, you must be comfortable in that space, so make sure the HVAC works or have a fan ready for hot days. Call heating companies or talk to your R.A. to see what can be done to repair any issues with heating, mainly if your university is in a cold area. Don’t wait until November rolls around because you’ll be knee-deep in exams and won’t have time to deal with this issue.
Aside from ensuring your safety, you can add some touches to make things look cozier. Add some curtains if the dorm doesn’t have them already. Look for the best comforter and include a few plants, like succulents, which are easy to maintain. Putting a rug on your floor and posters on the wall will make the room look even better. Surviving college is about doing what you can to avoid sickness, distractions, depression, etc., from affecting your studies.
4. Eliminate Pests
Unfortunately, being in a dorm room that other people have used before has several drawbacks. Universities should be fumigating often to eliminate possible pests, but critters may be around. You may have to deal with bed bugs, silverfish, gnats, flies, mosquitoes, ants, cockroaches, and more. Consult with your R.A. or the building manager if you have seen them.
It would also be wise to have the number of a pest control business nearby, although some buildings may not allow you to call them. That’s why you should always pay attention to dorm rules and read the handbook. Try to keep some repellent agent in your dorm, preferably something that doesn’t emit a harsh odor. A flyswatter is a good idea, but your shoe should also work if there are cockroaches.
No one will ever tell you that surviving college is simple, and even if you’re scared of bugs, you should be prepared to eliminate them as soon as possible. The last thing you want is to have them crawl all over you while trying to sleep. Furthermore, some students like to keep snacks and other food in their dorms, and pests can easily contaminate your supply.
5. Stay in a Safe Home
Dorms are much easier to break into than a regular house, especially because people come and go from these buildings. There may be parties, and strangers are allowed inside. Even if you live in an apartment off-campus, you may experience some dangers. First, you must check that your security features are in top shape.
The locks should be functional, and the windows should close steadily. You should also check the roof because a tiny crack could risk your safety. Call roof repair or any technician that will help make your home better. Additionally, it’s better to know more about your campus safety office, as they offer some excellent programs to protect their students.
Furthermore, be smart when you’re outside. Surviving college literally means getting through it in one piece, so you should always be careful when walking alone at night. Try not to do it, even if you’re a loner or too independent. You never know what could happen or what kind of people you’ll encounter. Some colleges offer security rides to the dorms, but if you have a car, always park in high-traffic areas.
6. Look Your Best
At college, the last thing you’ll think about is your appearance unless you’re going to a party or event, but it’s imperative to invest in your looks and maintain your hygiene. You don’t have to look like a runway model every day, and no one should expect you to, but you still have to be conscious. Trying to look your best, even on the worst days, should be part of your self-care routine. Sometimes, looking your best will boost your confidence and improve your class performance.
For example, if you’re using Invisalign braces, ensure you’re cleaning them properly and not forgetting them at cafeterias or anywhere else. In terms of your style, keep things simple with a pair of jeans and a clean T-shirt. Use comfortable shoes that will get you to and from class. Comb your hair and style it in an uncomplicated way. You will only be able to survive college if you prioritize what’s important, like your studies and well-being.
7. Choose a Career Path
The point of attending any university is finding the career you’ll excel at in the future, but it’s a huge mistake to think everyone knows exactly who they want to be at 18. Part of surviving college is discovering if you want to be a lawyer, a liberal arts teacher, a doctor, etc. Explore different classes from several departments if you can. Meet new people who can introduce you to other areas of academia.
Don’t restrict yourself to a bubble within your chosen major. Many people graduate college and realize they don’t want to be a business person or an attorney. If you explore and get out of your comfort zone, you’ll be able to say that you did a thorough job in college trying to pinpoint what you desire for your future.
You should also know that a major doesn’t define the rest of your life. You could study medicine and become a restaurant owner later. Some industries require university degrees, but you could earn ‘soft skills,’ such as leadership and time management, to enter other career paths even after college. However, the idea is to take advantage of those four years.
8. Be Careful With Your Money
One of the most complex parts of college will be handling your money. Whether you have student loans, a part-time job, or receive help from your parents, you must keep your finances in check. First, you should make a monthly budget because it’s easy to get carried away once you have a credit card and freedom. You’ll be tempted to get takeout often, and your money will disappear quickly. Therefore, plan ahead using a spreadsheet or ask for help from a professional.
Save as much as possible, even if it’s just ten dollars weekly. Create a goal for yourself to avoid overspending. You always have to think ahead, and it’s much better to be able to pay a little yourself than rely solely on loans or your parents.
This is also good practice for the future, as many adults get into financial trouble because they never learned to be responsible for money. Things may get trickier after graduating because you’ll have to start paying your loans. You could meet with a debt relief attorney at some point to see if there’s anything you can write off, but it may not be possible. Let’s keep learning about surviving college.
9. Take Time to Relax
Overachievers often have breakdowns in college because they don’t take time off. School will be difficult, even if you only take two or three classes each semester. Don’t underestimate how much effort it’ll take and its toll on your mental well-being. Plan or allot specific times for relaxation and fun outings. Going to parties every once in a while is not going to derail your career.
Sleeping more won’t make you fail that mid-term test or miss a deadline. Constantly pulling all-nighters will often worsen the quality of your work. You need to be organized and never leave your assignments for the last minute, but also allow yourself time to relax. Find the best restaurants where you can go with your friends.
Go drinking with your classmates after a demanding project, but make sure you sleep enough. People also forget about exercising while surviving college, but keeping yourself active is essential. Fortunately, campuses usually have an accessible gym. You can also find dancing lessons or yoga sessions to reduce your stress.
10. Protect Your Belongings
Anything can happen when you’re in college, and you’ll usually have to walk long distances to get to class. It may rain on your way to a lesson, and protecting yourself and your things is vital. Even your dorm is susceptible, so invest in waterproofing services in case of heavy storms or floods. Just in case, carry an umbrella, raincoat, or waterproof bag.
On the other hand, the elements are just one danger. College campuses have so many people that finding a stolen item will be almost impossible. Don’t let anyone steal your things. If allowed, you could invest in a few security cameras for your dorm to be extra careful.
It’s also wise to keep your computer, phone, and other valuable items with you, or you could have a small safe in your dorm for these things. The idea is not to get too comfortable, even if your campus seems safe. It’s better to be alert and ready for anything. Some people — especially women — try to get better locks or door bars to avoid break-ins at night.
Now that you understand these tips for surviving college, it’s time to pack your bags and move into the dorms. Remember to be safe and organized, and keep your hygiene in good shape. This should be the best time of your life and the first step toward your future. Enjoy it!