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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Time to start preparing for school

  • Here are five tips for freshman year that might make your time at school a little easier.
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  • When I was in elementary school we were asked to create a calendar, with a drawing above the dates of what each month reminds us of most.
    During the summer months most people drew pictures of beaches, barbecues and fireworks, but when August came around I did something a little different.
    I drew a picture of a school, books and playground. To me, August has always felt like a school month; students are winding down at their part time summer jobs and parents are heading to the stores to purchase school supplies for their children. It is a month to mentally prepare yourself for what the next eight months will bring.
    For incoming college freshman, August will bring great changes. You will finally be free to make your own decisions without parental supervision. Here are five tips for freshman year that might make your time at school a little easier.
    1) Sit in the front row and respond to the professor.
    Getting to know your professors and having your professors learn your name can be the difference between a 'B' and an 'A' in a class. It might be cooler to sit in the back and talk the whole class period – but if you are serious about studying and becoming successful, there is nothing that will carry you forward like getting to know your professors. Added tip: professors that you've created a relationship with will write excellent recommendations after you graduate from college.
    2) Learn to enter a house during a party.
    I didn't know there was proper etiquette in regards to entering a home during a party until an upperclassmen shook me for walking through his front door while he was throwing a party in his home. College isn't all library and book reading, eventually you might find yourself in a social situation where you need to know how to enter someone's home. If there is a back door, use it. For whatever reason, there are some people who don't want the entire city to know 50 drunk college kids are all crammed into their home.
    3) You need to be a friend to have a friend.
    There are a lot of kids who will just hang out with their high school friends during the first semester of college. But, college is a time to meet new people and widen your horizons. Everybody starts college in an even playing field. Everybody knows nobody and you're all looking to meet someone new. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to people you don't know. If you are the more introverted type, try joining a club or volunteering – those things will force personal interactions.
    4) Don't work during your first semester of school.
    Page 2 of 2 - Some people think getting a job while you're in college is a good idea. I don't necessarily disagree with that notion, but I think getting a job can be put off until midway through your second semester. It will take awhile to get used to the workload of college and college life. Throwing a job on top of all this new stress will only make your first semester more difficult.
    5) Take advantage of food services.
    A lot of students complain about their food services. They will opt to eat fast food over the assorted menu options at their school. I'm here to advise you against that. You've already paid for your food services, why not use them? Purchasing fast food rather than eating at food service is like paying twice as much for a meal than you would have otherwise – it makes no sense. Added tip: continue to work out! It's a lot easier to maintain weight than lose it and college isn't exactly a period of time that promotes a healthy lifestyle. Take advantage of the on-site health center. It'll be worth it when you've gained very little while your friends have put on the freshman 15 (that is a real thing).
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