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10 Tips for the First Week of College

Where is that chemistry lab held? How do you connect to the Internet? Where can I get a burger after midnight?! That first week in college can be crazy, but you'll sail through it like an upperclassman if you follow these tips.

  1. Watch your time carefully. Try not to waste time, get to your classes on time, and set aside time for studying. Give yourself a little fun time, but not too much (this is the first week, after all!).
  2. Introduce yourself by name to your teachers. Memorize their names before you meet them, and if biographical information about your teacher is online, read it. Introducing yourself will help you establish a good relationship with your teacher, a bond that is invaluable in college.
  3. When you meet new people, try to learn about them before you talk about yourself. Getting people to talk about themselves shows you are interested and is a good way to build friendships.
  4. Find quiet places on campus to study. Identify more than one place indoors and outdoors. You’ll study better when you aren’t distracted, and the study places will give you a time to be peaceful. Given the chaos of the first week of college, these quiet places will be very refreshing. You will also develop the habit of studying in these places rather than doing something else.
  5. Keep organized by putting your things in the same places. If you find a safe and convenient place for your books, notes, backpack, computer, music, and such, you’ll feel better about them and won’t waste time looking for them.
  6. Be realistic about how long it will take you to get to classes, meetings, and other events. Everything takes longer than you think, so be generous about allowing yourself the right amount of time. You’ll feel less stressed, and if you get someplace early, you can do a little studying.
  7. Develop the habit of studying often (distributed practice) rather than cramming (massed practice). Distributed practice is more efficient, you will be able to retain more information, and you will be able to retrieve it more readily. Instead of cramming before a test, use the time to refresh the knowledge that you already have.
  8. Get enough sleep. In addition to making you feel better, sleep helps you physically and mentally. Things you learned during the day are more likely to find their way into long-term memory if you have a good night’s sleep.
  9. Be careful about your diet. The stress and chaos of the first week of college may cause you to eat more than you should. Keep healthful snacks around, watch what you eat at your meals, and try to eat on schedule. Proper eating habits will help you feel better, think clearly, and develop good eating habits that will improve your college experience.
  10. Exercise at least five times during the first week, even if it is as simple as a 30-minute walk. You will keep your body and mind fit by doing this, and the time you spend exercising will help you meet the challenges you will face.

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