A new school year is upon us, and that means a fresh start for everyone; for freshmen, especially, this is a year of rapid change—and hopefully— one of rapid growth. College is great in that there is no set ‘formula’ on how to succeed, though it does require dedication and motivation to forge your own path and achieve.Though there is no handholding as you navigate the college experience, there isa huge support system on-campus if you can tap into it.
As a student who lives on campus, let me just say: living on my own and basking in complete and utter freedom was fun. With the fun definitely came the responsibilities of keeping up with laundry, staying on top of classwork, and maintaining a consistent eating schedule (which is surprisingly difficult to uphold at times). These are the tips that my older friends gave me when I started college last year, and they are the ones I am passing down to you:
- It’s okay to feel homesick, but you shouldn’t go home every weekend.
A lot of my friends and I lived in-state, so it was normal for us to occasionally spend time at home for the weekend. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of going home practically every week. My rationale was that since most NJIT students are commuters, weekends can sometimes be quiet, and I would not miss out on anything. In reality, weekends offered opportunities to bond with my peers and practice independence. Fellow residents took this time to do laundry, visit the local ShopRite to stock up on groceries, and go on trips to New York City.
- Moodle and your NJIT email will be your best friends while school is in session.
Remember to check them frequently to stay on top of schoolwork and major events happening on campus. Moodle is where assignments and grades are posted, and where students vote for Student Senate eboard positions, come spring semester. As for email, I now check my inbox at least twice an hour (which is pretty embarrassing to share). Checking your inbox now and then will help you stay organized with club duties, keep abreast of professor’s announcements, and be reminded of important dates and deadlines such as bill deadlines and course registration openings.
- Do not designate your bed as your study spot.
Those who can resist the temptations of falling into deep slumber while studying on their oh-so-comfortable beds deserve all the applause. For the rest of us, which is most of the student population, we have learned to steer clear of this trap. While you make your way around campus, keep a lookout for potential study spots located in quiet settings that will help you buckle down and finesse your way to that coveted 4.0 GPA. Places like CKB, the library, and even the Campus Center offer so many comfortable seats for this purpose.
- Take advantage of Amazon Prime’s free six-month trial for college students.
If you were not obsessed with the wonders of Amazon in high school, you will be in college. As a student, you won’t have much time to allocate towards buying food, extra dorm furniture, or supplies, so shopping online will save on time, effort, and hassle. Once ordered, all you must do is wait two days and then visit the mailroom during package hours!
- Enjoy the first year.
Do not be too hard on yourself if you cannot get the 4.0, but do work hard in all your classes. Remember to explore campus and join clubs that pique your interest in any way!Remember to enjoy freshman year—the year in which all your peers are still testing the waters; the year in which we all mess up and learn from our mistakes.