How to Survive Freshman Year

No matter how excited you are about starting your freshman year of college, you're bound to experience some nerves as well. What if your roommate is a horrible slob who blasts terrible music late into the night? Or what if your classes are harder than you expect, tanking your shot at a good job or graduate school offer before you've even finished your first semester?

Relax. Plenty of people have been in your position before and they've all made it out unscathed. For tips on how to survive your first year of college, check out the following infographic:

surviving freshman year

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Moving out of your parent’s house:
Over 37% of incoming freshmen attend a college less than 50 miles from home.
Around 55% of freshmen attend a college less than 100 miles from home.
Only 14% of freshmen attend a college 500 or more miles from home.

Tips for living on your own:
Keep a map of the campus and a map of the city on you.
Be prompt about switching and removing your laundry - others need to use laundry machines too.
Eat healthy - Better nutrition means you’re at your best and not gaining the freshmen 15.
It’s okay to get homesick and learn how to cope with it.

Living with a roommate:
Roommate conflict is one of the top 5 reasons freshmen withdraw from school.
Whether you’re used to living alone or just nervous about living with someone you’ve never met before, there are a few things to help in dealing with a roommate:
Compromise: You may not have similar tastes or personalities but you can still work something out to have a workable living space.
Communicate: Don’t let problems build up. Learn to discuss issues and negotiate a solution. You can request help from a Resident Assistant.
Aim to Get Along: Remember this is a temporary living situation for less than a year. You do not have to be best friends, you only need to live together peacefully.
Set Rules: Agree from the start on the major points of concern when living with someone.

Paying for College
Only 26.8% of incoming freshmen received $10,000 or more in scholarships as opposed to 29.2% in 2010.
Incoming freshmen receiving grants or scholarships dropped 4% in 2012.
47% of students’ annual family income is less than $40,000.
18% of students’ annual family income is less than $30,000.

Coping with the financial difficulties of college:
-Learn how to fill out the FAFSA and get familiar with what your education is worth.
-Rent or buy used books: a small percentage of students use online retailers.
-Take on a part-time job relevant to your major: a part time job provides spending money for living expenses and books as well as valuable experience.
-Get an internship: there are many internship opportunities available at many companies during the school year and summer. Internships display to prospective employers that you were proactive and career driven during college.
-Look into joining the residential staff: many colleges offer free or reduced room rates to their residential assistants and you get training and experience.

Getting the most out of the college experience.
Get involved! Try out different organizations and clubs until you find ones that suit you best.
Don’t skip class. Freshmen tend to skip classes more than upper-level students.
Registering for classes: register early to get into the classes you want.
Familiarize Yourself with Campus: this will help you get to class on time and take advantage of your college’s resources, such as their career center, health center, computer labs, etc.

Tackling your workload:
Over 28% of freshmen report frequently feeling overwhelmed by their workload.
Don’t procrastinate: it will only make things worse.
Learn to say no and prioritize: do you really need to join 10 organizations?
Reconsider your workload as necessary: can a class be taken over the summer?
Sometimes the amount of work isn’t stressful, it’s the subject matter.

Managing your time.
Over 46% of high school seniors frequently or occasionally fell asleep in class. Getting enough sleep will help you pay attention in class. Sleeping after studying retains information better, so avoid all-nighters.

Tips to manage your time:
Utilize a calendar/planner (paper, online or smartphone apps all work well).
Divide your tasks into chunks and set realistic deadlines for each - this includes study time for tests and weekly required reading!
Develop a daily routine to help you stick to a schedule.
Limit distractions
Reward yourself for completing major tasks and projects.

Plan for the future:
42% of freshmen expect to earn a Master’s degree down the road.
19% of freshmen plan to earn a Ph.D.
10% of freshmen hope to get an M.D.
Your final GPA is cumulative, so every semester counts! Graduate schools and sometimes jobs will weigh your major’s GPA more heavily than your overall GPA so be sure to do well in classes relevant to your major.

Surviving Freshman Year Cheat Sheet:
1. Wear flip flops to the dorm bathroom.
2. Sit in front and answer questions when crashing a class.
3. Be prepared for the lack of sleep during finals week.
4. Make friends with your RA. You’ll be amazed how much they can help.
5. Try not to register for 8AM classes - you will regret it.