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How do you prepare for leaving for college and what are some pitfalls to avoid in college?

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Chirayu’s Answer

Some of the key things to avoid in college especially as a freshmen are e not not to take freshmen year for granted, socializing too much, missing classes, not meeting deadlines, taking too many classes and even going home too much as that means less time to study or finish up homework. During my undergrad I stayed on campus housing and it is understandable that you are away from home and that means more freedom. That is great and you should explore, but in your free time you should attend office hours and ask questions, attend study sessions to get help on your homework, study with classmates, or even do volunteer work if you have the time. Don't party every weekend and then attend class as you will not be able to focus on classwork. Things to avoid would be taking too many classes as that will take your focus away. . Once you get a good understanding you can always increase your class load in the future years. To prepare for college, make a list of things you may need while you are away from home, get a planner and plan things out and stick to it as long as possible because as you skip things, it will throw the rest of the activities way. Time management is key in college and how well you adapt to it as you will have multiple exams or projects come at the same time and prioritizing your work. There are a lot of resources available to students for free and take advantage of it to success in college.
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Erica’s Answer

Preparing to leave for college is different for everyone but for me, my focus was on making sure I had balance. People had warned me about not partying too much and studying often but that advice is very general. I will say, finding the balance thats right for YOU is essential. I went to college with people that partied every night but were still immensely successful and I met people that would go out very little but didn't do homework or reading because they just didn't want to. Really setting goals for yourself before starting college and not subscribing to what seems to be "right" is important and you will find your own groove through trial and error.
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Janice’s Answer

Hey! The best thing is to put yourself out there and find a good group of friends. You also don't need to make your best friends right during orientation - it will take time to find your true friends and your support system, so don't give yourself too much pressure.
Finding a balance is a big advice I will give. Whether its with classes, social time, calling your family, fitness, making time for yourself..make sure to find a balance between all of these so you don't burn yourself out and don't regret anything. College is supposed to be exciting and fulfilling, so do that!
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David’s Answer

Managing your time and involvement are the hard tasks. The classwork and homework are areas where you are already skilled, but this may be your first time away from home for an extended period. Although it can be incredibly hard, avoid calling home every day. Focus on where you are, at college. Continually writing to friends back home or calling them only prolongs your time in adjusting to college life. When the weekend comes, there may be a strong desire to go home for the weekend. Do NOT do that. Instead, find some other classmates to hang out with. Even if you're alone, find some place on campus to begin acclimating yourself. Developing friendships will come, and within a couple of weeks, you will be doing better. On studying, commit yourself to dedicating the time for it. There will always be a party or fun event somewhere on campus, and you may get the impression that all the other students are participating. They aren't; the experienced students monitor their fun and their studying. Find the right mix for yourself. College is your home, so embrace it.
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Alexa’s Answer

Good question, for me leaving for college was hard. A reason for that was how close I was to my family, and dogs! So, you need to find a good group of friends while you are away with similar interests. Join a club, sports team, Greek life etc . Some things to avoid are obviously over using alcohol, drug use, etc. Dont get too caught up in the party scene, find a happy medium. You are there for an education, don’t destroy your grades. Overall just try to stay positive, and make the best of your experience. Also, really think about your major and if there is a job related that you would like to pursue one day.
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Christina’s Answer

I did not go away to college. I lived at home while I attended a school that was about an hour away from my parents. Looking back, I would have prepared more financially to live at school. My parents could not afford the living expense at the school I received a scholarship to, so I ended up trying to commute and when I found that was not a reasonable expectation... I dropped out of that school and started working full time and went to school part time. By doing this, I was able to finance most of my education with my company's assistance.
The biggest pitfall that I faced and that a lot of students still face is the cost of college. Most parents can not afford the cost to send their kids to college and pay for them to live there. My parents could not. Kids end up getting student loans that take the rest of their lives to pay back. I would suggest keeping this in mind when looking for schools. An alternative is to work for a company that offers tuition reimbursement or to go to school for your general education credits at community college and then transfer. A lot of kids want the "college experience" but don't understand the cost associated with that. Friends can be met at a community college as well and you will still be able to have fun and not end up going into debt forever. I have seen so many kids that I know get into great schools only to find out in the first semester or a few semesters in that they can't afford to go any more. I would say to look at costs , then realize that friends can be met just anywhere and you can still have a great experience anywhere you go if you just join the right clubs and extracurricular activities :)
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Sharon Jean’s Answer

I did not live on campus, but I went to a local university. I heard some things that the younger crowd dealt with while in college so I know a few things not to do. Avoid a lot of parties, don't do drugs, and make positive friendships that benefit you as a person--not friendships that suck you dry. Also, set your sights on graduation, make friends with your professors, and gets tutors before you need them. There are some great university tutors out there! You are in this for the duration so make the best of it, but you are not there forever. Find the school that has the majors that you are interested in and not because your friends are going there. You can make new friends too! Always be positive! Your future is more important! If you are at school for nursing, volunteer at a hospital to get a feel of the environment. Know that you've got this and you are going to finish! Keep in contact with your family, but don't let them get you down. Have a good time but study, study, study!
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Diane’s Answer

Take advantage of college orientation and knowing where the important services are that college offers (library, tutoring, technical help, medical help) and investigate recreational sports/clubs/fraternities/sororities that have similar values/interests. Don't abandon successful skill sets/work ethics you and/or your parents helped you create to this point. It's easy to allow those to go by the wayside once you're at college and on your own. It's ok to feel homesick! Freshman year at college is a huge step and can be overwhelming so if you are feeling stressed, sad, etc....reach out to friends, family, professionals as we have all been through this.
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Nicholas’s Answer

I think it is important to do some self-reflection before you leave for college. Figure out the things you hope to get out of your college experience as well as the things you enjoy doing. These goals and interests will help direct and propel you as you start your college career. Now, obviously your priorities can change a lot throughout your time in school, but having a good sense of who you are and what you like to do will serve you well in the beginning.
Some common pitfalls that I have seen are things a lot of previous answers discussed including: drinking or doing drugs frequently enough to the point where they impede your classwork, not going to class, ignoring basic hygiene, and not getting out there and meeting new people. I think this last one is extremely important, especially if you are going to a school where you do not know many people. It can be very easy to get intimidated with all the new people and just stay in your own room or little bubble. However, the beauty of college is that there is a group or friend for everyone, no matter your interests. If you originally get caught up with people you do not want to be involved with, you can easily find a new group of people who more align to what you like to do. If you get out there, meet new people, and keep your priorities in line, you will have a great college experience.
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Olivia’s Answer

Your first semester GPA will set the tone for the rest of your college years! Try to be as diligent as possible with studying, don't overload your schedule, and stay focused on the grades with all of the distractions. As mentioned previously, time management will be huge for this. There are a lot of resources at various universities to help with this, find them, and use them!!
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