College Student Survival Guide

Making it Through the First Semester

girl with backpack

College is an exciting time in any young person’s life – you’re living away from mom and dad for the first time, you can take classes that actually interest you, and for the first time in your life you actually feel like an adult. But when all the glittering newness wears away and you’re left with all the responsibility you actually have, the end result can be a bit overwhelming: There’s no one to wake you up to make sure you get to class on time, no one to plan your meals for you and making sure you’re eating a balanced diet and no one to hold you accountable and make sure your work gets done.

But, not to worry, this is something that every first-year college student has gone through and none of us have turned out worse for wear. These are some of our favorite tips to help you survive your first semester of college:

  1. We don’t care how tired you are – get yourself to class. It can be tempting to hit the snooze button and skip that 8 am biology lab, but don’t do it! Getting in the habit of skipping class is the quickest way to fall behind, and once you start going down that slippery slope it’s very hard to climb back up again.

  2. Take advantage of your professors’ office hours. Don’t be shy when it comes to office hours, this is a great time to get one-on-one help in an area you’re struggling with or simply a good opportunity to get to know your professors better. Not only can this help you get better grades, but it can also help you build a good rapport with your professors – perfect for when you need a reference or a letter of recommendation. 

  3. Stick to a healthy, balanced diet. With no parents around to manage your meals and a dining room full of infinite possibilities, sticking to a diet of pizza and fries and a second serving of ice cream every night seems like a dream come true. Until the pounds start piling on. There’s nothing wrong with indulging once in a while, just make sure you’re not making it your norm. Make sure you’re getting plenty of fruits and vegetables and that your meals are healthy and balanced. If you feel lost, check with your campus health center – many of them have a nutritionist on site to help you plan and maintain a healthy, balanced diet.

  4. Establish a good school-life balance. To make the most of your first semester of college you want to make sure you have time for everything – that includes schoolwork and spending time with friends. Try using a planner to organize your time – this will ensure you get enough time for studying and also be able to hang out with your friends and take advantage of college extracurriculars. Plus you’ll feel more confident knowing what’s going on in your day.

  5. Don’t overwhelm yourself. You may want to sign up for every club or student organization on campus, but try to fight the urge. Sure establishing a core group of friends is important, but try signing up for just a few things that really interest you – this way you’ll really be able to get into it and have a better chance of meeting people who share your interests.

Starting college can feel a little overwhelming, but with the right steps, time management and planning, it can also be the best time of your life. Of course we didn't talk about one of the most stressful parts of college - how to pay for it. But with our private student loans, we're here to help you on the road ahead. So make sure to get to class, manage your time, eat healthy and you'll be fine. Get ready for the road ahead, it’s going to be a great one!