As a brand-new freshman, transitioning into the “adult” lifestyle of college is a seemingly daunting task. From nervous small talk with your floor mates to accidentally habitually skipping classes (because let’s face it, one free skip probably turned into three), freshman year can seem like a series of awkward yet unavoidable moments. To make the adjustment easier, follow Pipe Dream’s tips on navigating freshman year’s dos and don’ts.
Don’t: Wear a lanyard around your neck.
Nothing screams freshman more than wearing a long, Pantone 342-colored lanyard around your neck while walking around campus. Extra points if there’s a clear ID holder attached to the string. Imagine this: You’re running across the Spine with your lanyard and keys dangling around your neck because you woke up late for your 8:30 a.m. lecture. To lessen the chance of being immediately pointed out as a new student, keep your ID in a zippered pocket or your backpack.
Do: Keep your ID safe.
If a pocket or backpack isn’t enough maximum security for you, purchase a silicone pocket for the back of your phone instead. Not only do these pockets easily store your ID and credit cards, but they’re also sold as cheap as $0.40. Lighten your load and skip the lanyards, especially since one at the University Bookstore can cost between $10 and $20.
Don’t: Skip your morning classes.
While the idea of staying in bed may sound more attractive than an 8 a.m. mathematics lecture, skipping class can quickly become a habit. Don’t end up trying to teach yourself the textbook right before your midterm. Attend class regularly and take good notes. Your GPA will appreciate it, not to mention your bank account, as college tuition is not cheap.
Do: Develop a daily routine.
Whether you start your school days with a morning hike or a plate of chocolate chip pancakes at your favorite dining hall, a daily routine will keep you energized and motivated. College will grant you a lot more freedom than you probably had in high school, so make sure you’re optimizing your time outside of class.
Don’t: Rely solely on ride-sharing apps for transportation every weekend.
Uber and Lyft fares add up, especially during syllabus week. To save money, take advantage of BU’s Late Night Off Campus College Transport bus schedule. If you plan your trip ahead of time and screenshot the bus schedules you’ll need later on in the night, it’ll be easy to find them even after a few drinks. If you’ve never needed to master a bus system before, college is the perfect time to learn.
Do: Download Uber or Lyft before moving in.
As you learn to use the buses, you’re bound to screw up occasionally. When you find yourself stumbling around an unfamiliar area after your first frat party, you’ll be glad you can summon a ride home with the press of a button.
Don’t: Wait until the end of the year to bring all of your belongings home.
Whether your dorm fills with textbooks or green Parade Day paraphernalia, your freshman year will probably yield more excess stuff than you ever would have expected. When it’s time to move out, you don’t want to be stuck with more clutter than you started with at the beginning of the year, so keep this in mind and bring unnecessary items home during breaks if you can. You can also send items home with family or friends if they come to visit.
Do: Bring a winter coat, gloves and snow boots when you first arrive in August.
You’ll need them sooner than you think.
Don’t: Go home before Thanksgiving break.
The first few months of college are crucial to forming bonds that may last all four years of your undergraduate life. Don’t stress if your first few weekends are boring or lonely — it can take months to hit your stride socially. Challenge yourself to stick it out and explore new social circles instead of rushing home when you’re feeling frustrated.
Do: Keep in touch with family.
Your transition into college life is probably just as scary for the people who are missing you as it is for you, and a few FaceTime calls per week will ease the nerves on both sides. Whether your family back home consists of blood relatives or a chosen family of close friends, remember to lean on the people who matter most.