When you head off to college, you have no idea what to expect. Sure, you’ve been in education for some time, but you’ve probably never lived alone, and you’ll have a new-found sense of independence which can be, well, overwhelming. It is one of those things that you learn about as time goes on, but is there anything that you should be aware of before you head off into your new endeavour?

We’ve put together 5 tips for the college newbie, so that you can get the most out of your time there, and avoid some of the classic mistakes!

#1: You need to know about money

Sure, you think that you understand how money works now, but you’re going to have a totally different experience of it when you head off to college. Some of the things that you take for granted – food, shampoo, toilet paper – believe it or not don’t just appear out of nowhere. You’re going to have to manage money, so work out a budget pretty quickly to avoid ending up in the red financially.

#2: You’ll be homesick

As independent as you think you are, the likelihood is that you will get homesick. In fact, you’ll probably think about going home as soon as your parents drive away into the distance, and leave you all alone to fight college by yourself. However, this is something that does get better with time, and you’ll also benefit from going home a few weeks after you start, as you’ll come back refreshed!

#3: You’ll experience new things

At college, you’ll experience a whole plethora of new things. From quidditch society to that gorilla glue strain, college is full of new experiences, and you need to be open-minded and really throw yourself into your new independent life. However, you also need to be careful sometimes; there are some things that you’ll encounter that you probably shouldn’t try, so don’t give in to peer pressure.

#4: Education doesn’t take center stage

We know what you’re thinking; you’re going to go to college in order to get a great education, and to progress in the right direction with your career. Whilst this is true, you learn pretty early on that the lessons from college go far beyond this. You learn a lot about yourself, what you really enjoy, and what you live like when you’re not under constant surveillance from your parents. Maybe check out the Midwest Teachers Institute on your way to forging your own path.

#5: There are challenges, but you’ll overcome them

There are so many challenges that present themselves when you’re at college, from mental health to complex relationships with others. You will worry about money, whether you’re getting good enough grades, and whether you’re going to even survive your college experience. Whilst all of these worries can be overwhelming, you will make it through and have some great years that you’ll remember forever!

So, if you’re heading off to college, then keep these things in mind. Have fun, and make the most out of the time that you have before you go into the real world!

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