5 Tips For New College Students

4 min read
As part of their 'Dormify' series, USA Today have featured a set of tips, created by a former Penn State student, for those starting college or university this year. We thought we'd share these for all the new Freshmen heading off to the states in the coming months. Make friends early It can be tempting to act shy when you first arrive, and dont know anyone, but everyone else is in the same boat as you. Prop your door open the first week or two while you are in the room. Last year, I lived about two doors down from the laundry room there were only three in the building so people on all floors would walk past at different times. It gave me (and them) an easy excuse to say hi. Second, do not judge a person before you meet them. I know this seems like a rule your parents have, but in college its especially true. Youll be amazed the amount of people youll meet. An acquaintance is better than an enemy, trust me. Dont be afraid to reach out to those on your dorm floor. Invite someone to eat with you. Go downtown and shop or take a walk and learn your way around together. Living on the same floor, you will see each other often, so knowing your fellow dorm mates is an important step to making new friends.   Attend freshmen events Starting off, most schools offer events specifically for freshmen. At Penn State, events like Be A Part From the Start offers incoming freshmen the opportunity to learn Penn State traditions like the alma mater, the fight songs and of course, the wave. It also gives students a chance to meet other freshmen who arent living in their residence hall and build bonds with your floor mates and RA. Take advantage of these events, not only are they a lot of fun, but youll be up to speed at football games and other sporting events. Seek out Welcome Week tours, or if you know an upperclassmen like I did at the time, find someone to show you around with your schedule in hand. It makes it much easier.   Attend sporting events At Penn State, football is a huge tradition. Students compete each year on Ticketmaster for the limited amount of student section seats available. If you dont manage to secure a seat at the game, there are always game-long tailgates surrounding Beaver Stadium. This is a great time to meet people, make friends and, last but not least, eat amazing food. I loved getting up at 7 a.m. every Saturday morning to tailgate by 9, eat breakfast and lunch, head into the game as part of the largest student section in the country and make it out just in time for dinner. If football isnt your sport, there are basketball, baseball, swimming and numerous other events to check out. Support your school, and enjoy yourself.   Go sightseeing Each school has their own special places on and off campus. There are memorabilia, statues and buildings that are worth a visit beyond the simple stroll past on your way to class. I know the Nittany Lion Shrine is one of the most well-known and photographed places on campus especially for incoming freshmen and outgoing seniors. There is also a statue of Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium, and Old Main is always an option for pictures, posters and postcards. Now unless you attend Penn State these may mean nothing to you, but I suggest talking with upperclassmen and finding some monuments that have value at your school.   Attend social events I know all of you may not want to participate in the party scene, while others are planning to live in it. My biggest advice is to keep your options open and make yourself happy. Dont leave yourself cooped up in your room every night, but balance is key. From work to play, its something that youll want to learn early. If parties arent your thing, there are many other social events like free movies at the student union. Just put yourself out there, enjoy and have fun.   Do you want to study in the USA while playing your favourite sport? Apply here for an assessment!  

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