What to Expect from Your First Semester of College

One’s first semester in college is something that they ought to look forward to. Whether they are going to a smaller private college or a major state university, what exactly lies ahead is unknown. Sure there are several items that they can try to prepare for, such as classes and moving into dormitories, but not knowing what exactly they will face is what makes the first semester of college an important one.

Let’s begin with a few things we can be certain about:

1) Classes & Books

By the time you move into your dorm or apartment, you most likely have already chosen your classes.

If not, the most important piece of advice that is almost a no-brainer is that you should definitely choose classes with varying topics. Even if you are set on your major, your first classes should be in all sorts of subjects.

Most colleges require additional classes for your degree that are not courses for your major anyways.

Doing this right away sets yourself up for meeting all sorts of new and different people with all kinds of different interests. Also, you may find that what you thought you wanted to major in is not the case, because another class you are taking suits you better, or you enjoy it more. Either way, taking many different courses within the first semester can help you fulfill course requirements, discover new interests, and meet new friends.

Another thing to keep in mind while selecting your classes is to check on which professor you will be having. Many times, different professors teach different sections of the same course. A lot of times it’s not necessarily the course that is deal breaker; it’s the professor!

If you have already chosen your classes, the next thing to do is to get ready for class.

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Much of the time you will already know what textbooks and materials you will need for your selected courses. Now, before you buy any books, one thing to think about is whether or not you want to wait until the first day of classes to see whether or not you actually need the books.

A lot of times professors have the books on a list saying you need them, but then once the first day or week of classes come, they say that you do not need it. Some colleges do allow you to get a full refund of your books within so many days of purchasing them. That’s the first thing to think about.

Now, once you have decided that you are going to buy the required books for your courses, check out online websites. It’s commonly known that your college bookstore will rip you off and you’ll be stuck paying hundreds of dollars each semester.

Also, your bookstore will most likely pay minimal at best at the end of the semester for you to sell the books back to them.

So, if you want to take a detour around the overpriced textbooks that your college bookstore has to offer, take a peek at these websites.

Amazon.com – you can buy new or used books for pretty reasonable amounts. Even better is that at the end of the semester you can use this site as well to sell them to others for much more than what the bookstore would give you.

Chegg.com – you rent your books here! Prices depend on the book and duration of rental. They ship them to you, and you mail them back when finished.

2) Roommates

With a few tips, your first semester and year will be a breeze! Whether you get paired with someone you don’t know, or you decide to live with your best friend, the most important thing when it comes to having good roommate relations is respect.

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It’s super important to sit down and talk about what each of you expects out of the other. You can discuss having overnight visitors, preferences on drinking or smoking, and what the best way to handle any concerns is.

The most important thing is simply having respect for the other person’s space and wishes.

Your class schedules most likely will not line up, meaning you both will wake up and go to sleep at different times. It’s important to be considerate at night or in the mornings when the other person is sleeping. That means not blasting music, talking obnoxiously loud on your phone, blow drying your hair for fifteen minutes, etc. It simply comes down to being considerate of the other person in your box-sized room.

3) Environment & Surroundings

If you have moved from your hometown to a new town, you are not going to know where everything is.

If your campus is huge, we would suggest walking around and checking out all of the buildings where your classes are. Simply become acquainted with the area. It will take some time, depending on the size of the campus and city that you are now living in, but it won’t take long since you will be out and about every day.

Along with becoming acquainted with your community, it’d be a great idea to get involved with a student organization or get a job. Later on in your college career, it will be really important to future employers that you have taken something from your area, whether it was through working or volunteering. It also shows them that you can balance both your schoolwork and other activities.

4) Freedom

Now that you are no longer living in your parents’ house and are living on your own, you can, for the most part, make any decisions you want.

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It is up to you to get out of bed and make it to class. Your mom is no longer there telling you to be home by a certain time, nor is she there to do the dishes or laundry for you. With this new freedom, it is important to realize that you have responsibilities as well.

If you are living in a larger metropolitan city, you have to be more aware of your surroundings and be safe. Obviously, your parents are not going to be aware of everything that you do. It is up to you to make choices and to be able to deal with any consequences that may come about because of the choices you make.

When it comes to this new freedom, enjoy it, but be smart.

These are just a few things that every new college student should expect. Obviously, this is just an overview, because what really makes your first semester of college one to remember (or not remember for some) is what you make of it.

Go out, meet new people and try new things. Your first semester on your own is something you won’t ever get back, so cherish it. Forget the drama, high school is long gone now and hopefully you’ve found that arguing over petty things is not worth it in the end.

Live it up, be smart and let the good times roll.