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For most first-year students, starting college can be an intimidating and overwhelming experience. Navigating this new academic and social lifestyle requires a positive attitude and a flexible mindset. If you’re about to enter the dynamic world of college, here are 11 tips to help you make the most of your freshman year. 

Set realistic expectations

To maximize your first year in college, you must learn to manage your expectations more efficiently. Avoid comparing your journey and experiences with other students, and accept that adjusting to college life might take longer for you. Let go of any preconceived notions of what you should be doing or experiencing in college and instead focus your efforts on being mindful of the present. 

Choose a suitable student housing

Student housing can significantly influence your college experience, so you must choose your accommodation carefully. Do you plan to live on or off campus? Will you be renting a shared room or a private unit? Determine your housing needs and preferences, and set a budget based on your financial situation. If you plan to study at York University, consider staying at The Quad at York, as this fully-amenitized student housing is conveniently located within the campus. 

Learn to be independent

With no one to rely on but yourself, mastering basic life skills is crucial to your college survival. While it is natural to feel homesick during the first few weeks of college, going home frequently will only prevent you from developing healthy relationships with your peers and make your campus life harder than it should be. 

Handle peer pressure efficiently

While peer pressure may have taken a different form in college, it is still a serious matter that needs to be handled efficiently. It can be more difficult if you’re entirely new to the place and with no friendly face to interact with. Set healthy boundaries and learn to say no to people and situations that tend to make you uncomfortable. Saying yes all the time will only increase your chances of burnout and hinder your overall college performance. 

Build fruitful connections

College is the perfect time to meet with various types of people and develop long-lasting connections. Interact with as many individuals as possible and start building meaningful relationships. Make it a point to join networking events and other extracurricular activities, as these occasions can help you become more acquainted with your peers and professors. Participating in student organizations can also boost your skills and add value to your resume once you graduate. Most of the people you’ll meet in college will play a vital role in your professional life, so do your best to put yourself out there and find people who share similar interests. 

Practice self-care

College can be extremely stressful and exhausting, so practicing self-care is essential. Engage in activities that you genuinely enjoy, no matter how simple they are. Make sure to get quality sleep every night and prioritize your health above all else. While eating processed food is sometimes unavoidable, do your best to eat healthily and stay hydrated. No matter how hectic your schedule is, make it a point to exercise regularly, even for only 30 minutes a day. Prioritizing self-care can help ensure you stay healthy and fit, making your college journey smoother and less challenging. 

Cultivate healthy habits

Living independently for the first time can cause you to form unhealthy habits, which can negatively influence your overall well-being. You must practice good habits early on so that you can function optimally and live sustainably. Create a routine that works well for you, and steer clear of temptations that can greatly affect your school performance. For instance, if pulling all-nighters is taking a toll on your mental health, refrain from doing it often and look for sustainable and practical solutions to help you manage your time better. 

Manage your finances wisely

Even if money is not an issue, learning to manage your finances can help you become a more financially responsible adult. Start monitoring your expenses and evaluate your spending habits. It will help if you use a budgeting tracker or app that can efficiently list your finances and expenditures. Placing them in a spreadsheet or any visual tool can help you better understand where your money goes so you can devise a financial plan that matches your financial situation. 

Find additional income sources

If you’re on a tight budget, living frugally might help you initially, but eating unhealthy food or staying in low-cost yet unsafe student accommodations is not cost-effective in the long run. Check if your school offers financial assistance and explore your options. Consider getting a part-time job to help with your cash flow but avoid doing so if you think you’ll be unable to balance work and studies. Make sure to wait after a few weeks before starting a job to give you more time to adjust to college life. 

“Consider getting a part-time job such as a TEFL online job teaching English to help with your cash flow but avoid doing so if you think you’ll be unable to balance work and studies. Make sure to wait after a few weeks before starting a job to give you more time to adjust to college life.”

Seek professional help if necessary

Since college life can be challenging, having a strong and positive support system is vital. Never hesitate to ask for professional help and exhaust all your available resources. Make it a habit to consult with your professors or school advisors, even if you’re not struggling academically. Aside from your teachers and peers, you can also get assistance from a reputable tutoring institution. Building healthy relationships with university personnel can help make your college experience less stressful and challenging.   

Hone your organizational skills

With all the activities that college life offers, it is relatively easy to lose focus on your primary goal, getting quality education. To survive your first year in college, you must stay organized at all times. Find a system that works for you and remove possible distractions while studying. Make sure you adhere to your deadlines and resist the temptation to procrastinate. 

Your freshman year will play a significant role in your overall college experience. Be sure to follow these tips to help you make smart choices that can help make your college life more memorable and rewarding.