These five ideas will improve your life at college by reminding you of how to stay safe and secure, how to become better organized, and how to stay cool while embarking on your new life as a college student.
Keep Yourself and Your Belongings Secure
- Lock the door to your room whenever you leave, no matter how short the time.
- Place a lock on your laptop. Always back-up your files, and make sure your computer has the latest version of the anti-virus you are using.
- Be aware of your surroundings and of the people around you.
- Program the security number of the college into your phone in case you want it quickly.
- Make sure your passwords and important numbers are not on your phone or on your computer. Store them in a safe place along with your passport and your social insurance number. Your social insurance number is one of the main ID numbers you need for your financial aid, registering for new classes, and to obtain your grades.
You Need to Organize Your Life
- Make sure you are registered properly for all your classes and understand your schedule and where to find your classrooms ahead of time.
* Buy a good calendar or download one from the Internet. Post all your important deadlines such as exams, registration for new courses, financial aid renewals, and everything else that has a deadline attached to it. Keep it up to date and write reminders to yourself on everything important. Don’t trust your memory.
- Keep track of the money you spend and the money you need to have on hand for future costs.
Remember Your Obligations
- If you have a roommate and start experiencing issues, don’t wait for problems to escalate. Have a heart-to-heart talk so that you don’t reach a point where you can hardly stand being in the same room with each other.
- Make sure you aren’t difficult to live with:
– Don’t leave your clothes in the washer or dryer after the cycle is over. Set a timer and be there to remove them when the time is up.
– Put your alarm clock far enough away that you have to get out of bed to shut it off, but not so far away that you disturb others.
– If you are sharing a bathroom, wear flip-flops, clean up after yourself, and accept the fact that not everyone is concerned with cleanliness. Have a cleaner handy to use in the bathtub, shower, or sink if you are bothered by the mess of others. You won’t be able to re-train a college student of any age to become a clean freak.
– Plan to study in a quiet place, and go to the library or some other quiet spot if your own room is noisy.
Accept Your New World of Learning and Career Preparation
- Take the opportunity to get to know your teachers and professors. Networking, especially at a career college, is very useful.
- Go to class and don’t find reasons to skip no matter how easy it is. You never know when your professor will drop important exam information or notice who is or is not attending class regularly.
- Even if you are shy, participate in class discussions. Don’t worry about your accent or your grammar. Plan to accept the correction of either or both as an important part of your education.
- If you are having difficulty with a class, arrange for a tutor. It’s the smart thing to do.
* Take notes in class and make an effort to remember what you are writing down rather than just recording information to learn later.
Give Yourself Time to Adjust
- Don’t expect to make close friends immediately. It will take a while for you to find the “right crowd,” and it is useless to try and hurry the process.
- Get out and explore your campus and the neighborhood, and become familiar with bus routes. If you are taking a course with co-op work terms, you will be less anxious if you have some idea of the layout of the city and how to reach various points.
- Find out what resources your college supplies, where to find the main office, and how to find tech support, a health center, and other assistance you might need at some point.
- You will probably feel homesick for a while. Even people who appear to have adjusted immediately are usually homesick, too. It’s normal.
Give yourself plenty of time to get used to your life at a career college or to life in a new city or in a new country. No one adjusts to change immediately. Keep yourself safe and organized while you learn the ropes.
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