Your first year of college will be one of the biggest milestones in your life. You will make so many important decisions related to friends, school, and money. College is like the training course for adulthood, and it’s essential that you make the most of your short time at school so that you can set yourself up for success. Prepare yourself for some of the most impactful decisions by being aware of what students should know before starting college. Knowing what to prepare for ahead of time will make the transition less daunting.
Set Relationship Boundaries Now
In the first few weeks of college, you will focus on finding friends and making new relationships with total strangers. It’s important to open yourself up to the possibility of new friendships; however, you must also be aware that some fellow students may cultivate toxic friendships. Know the red flags of friendships and set a hard line with what you are willing to put up with. A real friend won’t try to peer pressure you or verbally abuse you. You’ll find plenty of good friends while at college, but there will also be a handful of malicious peers who can hurt you if you let them. This goes double for any potential romantic relationships.
Have the Dreaded Financial Conversation With Your Parents
Talking to your parents or guardians about finances is never an easy thing to do. Sometimes, they get snippy or preachy. Since you’re becoming a capable adult, it’s important for you to take the reins and control the conversation. Talk to them about your options for financial aid or about the school’s work-study program. If they’re helping you with any loans, make sure they are open with you about the type of loan they took out for you. This way, you can start learning about the specific type of repayment plan you’d be most interested in after college.
Know When To Give Yourself a Break
Hard work always pays off in school, but if you consistently work yourself to the bone, it can put you in a horrible state of mind and negatively affect your health. Use your last year of high school to test your limits and to practice taking care of yourself after completing a hard day of schoolwork. Good self-care practices should be on any list of what students should know before starting college, especially since a breakdown from stress can have a negative impact on your mental health and education.
Don’t stress over changing your mind about your major! Major or minor changes are totally common in college—especially during your first year. Follow your passions while you have the opportunity to learn.