When heading off to college, you want to do everything in your power to make sure the first semester is stress-free. College is a massive change, one symbolic of a coming-of-age moment and adulthood. It’s the first time the bird leaves the nest and must fend for themselves in the real world. Creating a stress-free first semester has a lot do with preparation. You need to ensure that you have the proper items and tools to navigate the new terrain that is your college life—otherwise the environment can quickly turn chaotic.
The better prepared you are, the more you ensure that your livelihood, anxiety, and happiness are at their most optimal levels. Embrace the change, let excitement fuel your days, and know that your first college semester is going to be one of the most memorable epochs of your life. The tips below will help you stay stress-free during this riveting and joyous time.
Create a List
Chaos begets stress. The new environment that college provides might make you feel out of place. Things you once took for granted are no longer available and, for better or worse, everything is foreign. That’s why it’s important to make a list of the comforts you have now. What’s your routine like? What sort of products do you use in your everyday life? This can be as mundane as your morning walk, to as unique as the specific type of soap you love. By creating this list of your everyday ‘necessities,’ you can pack them up and take them with you. There’s nothing like having little pieces of home when moving to an unfamiliar place.
According to recent studies, 70% of students gain weight during their time in college academia. The freshman 15, while an exaggerated measurement, is absolutely rooted in truth. Weight gain isn’t the focus here, though, it’s the lifestyle. In this new fast-paced environment, it’s easy to forgo eating well or exercising in exchange for hitting homework deadlines and maintaining a social life. But a healthy lifestyle equals a healthy mind, and stability fosters productivity. Remember to stay active, eat well, and focus on your overall health even when the pressure of difficult deadlines fills you with stress.
Keep a Schedule
Now that you’re in a new environment, with classes and obligations piling up, it’s easy to lose track of a consistent schedule. But professionals recommend ironing one out. Structure this schedule around your classes and take into consideration time spent on homework. Identify places where you can take care of yourself (like exercising, meditating, or napping) and work to make it happen. Ensure that this schedule can complement a healthy sleep cycle, since negating your body’s natural rhythm will create a higher propensity for stress.
Bring the Right Stuff
Packing for college isn’t easy. You need bedding, school supplies, bathroom essentials, and a myriad of other day-to-day items. Yet, you want to be sure to check off as many things as possible before shipping off. Overpacking is a good thing in this case. Make sure to also look into the best HP laptop for college so you’re prepared to pound out essay after essay. These days, most professors upload important documents and materials online so you can access your class necessities anywhere at any time.
Keep a Keen Perspective
College is exciting! From the friends you’re going to make, the extracurricular activities, the nights out and Greek life, it’s a place that keeps on giving. Yet, your biggest goal here is no longer passing the standardized test. You’re taking four years of your life to achieve a college diploma—and gain important life skills in the process. Remember, your education is the priority. While everything that surrounds this pursuit may be intoxicating, it’s important to keep your perspective fresh. Every year students drop out of college because they were too consumed by the exciting environment. It’s easy for the fast-lane college lifestyle to derail students—don’t let it be you.
The first semester of college is, for most of us, the beginning of our ‘adult’ lives. Remember, this is a massive change. You’re literally inventing yourself alongside your peers. Embrace the new terrain, open yourself up to new opportunities, but stay focused and healthy to ensure you’re both effective in academia and stress-free. If you’re feeling stressed, worry not. It’s all part of cutting your teeth.
Guest post by: Adam Pepka
Adam enjoys a comfortable life in Tucson, Arizona but is proud of the humble beginnings from which he came. Growing up reading authors such as Timothy Ferris, and feeling inspired by their bootstrap beginnings, Adam was determined to find financial freedom himself. He soon became a successful real estate mogul after one deal led to another, and not long after Adam began his own fix-and-flip enterprise. Aspiring investors and HGTV fans alike enjoy reading his blog about the various challenges and accomplishments he finds in each property renovation, as well as the tips and tricks he suggests for those considering their own fixer-upper. In between remodels, Adam enjoys teaching his audience about various investment strategies and how any Average Joe like himself can build a profitable portfolio. Apart from real estate, he’s very much interested in Silicon Valley, venture startups and the technology industry. He watches that arena with a careful eye, and is the first to alert his readers to major news or events.
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Free image from Pixabay
Free image from Pixabay
Standardizing testing is a fact of life. It’s one of many factors used in the selection process, especially for those looking to apply to top colleges and universities. While there’s a growing number of top liberal arts colleges opting to go test optional, which means SAT or ACT are not required, the Ivy League and comparable schools have yet to join the test optional movement. As such, it’s essential that you plan and prepare to take a standardized exam, whether the SAT or ACT. The choice is yours. Colleges do not have a preference for one or the other.
The first standardized exam you’ll face as a high schooler is the PSAT 10, which is typically administered in the fall of your Sophomore year. The PSAT 10 is a practice test for the SAT but it also has other added value such as measuring your readiness for college in addition to identifying gifted students for merit recognition and scholarship.
In your Junior year, most high schools will recommend waiting until late Spring to take your first SAT or ACT. Start sooner, perhaps taking the first one in December of your Junior year and the second one in March or April. If a third examination is needed, an early fall test date in August or September is your best bet. The benefit to following this testing plan is that it will allow you to dedicate time and energy towards your AP exams in May. Additionally, it affords you the opportunity to take SAT2 subject tests in May or June with less stress. For schools that recommend or require SAT2s, you should plan on taking 2-3 subject tests, preferably one in math, science and humanity. Put your best foot forward by scoring in the upper 700’s to show mastery of subject. However, keep the October SAT2 dates in your back pocket if you want to improve on previous scores.
The ideal plan is to be done with all standardized testing requirements before your senior year so that you may dedicate fully to the demanding college application process, with special attention to Early Decision and Early Action deadlines of November 1. So, plan accordingly and wisely to balance school and life.
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Solomon Admissions Consulting is an international college admissions consulting company. Most applicants blend into the crowd. We'll help you stand out and get in. Over 90% of our clients get into one of their top 3 choice colleges.