Are you ready for your first year of college?

So you’ve got your high school diploma and 12 years of schooling under your belt. You’ve already mastered the art of picking out the best spot in the cafeteria, opening your locker in under 10 seconds, or juggling your trigonometry homework while watching your crazy, little sister. Now however, you are off on a new adventure: you’re going to be a college student.

Are you ready for your first year of college?

Starting somewhere new can be a scary experience, but starting college doesn’t have to be. Here are some common concerns and advice for first-year college students.

I’m so lonely here. I don’t know anybody on this campus and I feel out of place. What do I do?

If there’s one thing you can do to combat the loneliness of being in a new place, it’s finding your people. Most colleges host a Clubs and Organization Fair where you can sign up for anything from an a capella club to a multicultural student organization. Sign up for all the clubs that interest you and try out at least one meeting with each to find the right fit.

Interested in athletics? Check the Rec Center for classes and intramural sports teams. Your school could have anything from SCUBA 101 and Quidditch to soccer and volleyball. Your student ID will also grant you access to any equipment in the Rec Center, so go try that rowing machine or treadmill to relieve some stress.

Don’t live on campus? Find your school’s Commuter Center. This space is created with you in mind. With comfortable couches, extra outlets, and friendly staff, this could be your place to connect to other students who don’t live on campus.

I got a letter/email/text/phone call from someone in financial aid. I don’t know what it’s about. Can I ignore it?

No! If financial aid contacts you, get back to them right away! Go to their office on campus, call them back, or email them to find out what they need. It could be that financial aid has a refund check with your name on it (yay! Money for books!) or maybe they need one more signature on a form to confirm that you have the right financial aid for the semester. Whatever it is, follow up right away so that you don’t end up paying out of pocket for classes.

This class is NOT right for me. Can I just stop going?

No! Talk to your Academic Advisor about any concerns you have with your class schedule. Whether it’s a French class that’s too advanced or a math class that’s too early (we’re not all cut out for that 8 am Pre-Calc class), your Academic Advisor is there to find the right assortment of classes for YOU! All colleges have a drop/add deadline where you can switch classes without the grade going on your transcript. Talk to your Advisor early to make any necessary schedule changes before that deadline. Otherwise, suck it up and bring coffee along for that Friday morning mid-term. You’re gonna need it.

I really want a new cellphone/high tops/money for Ramen noodles. How do I find a job on campus?

Colleges usually have a student employment website. Check there for the newest job postings and apply early for the best chance at a great job. Ask your college’s Career Center for job hints or check with the Student Services Office on recent news about job openings. Remember, work-study money is only available to you if you actually get yourself a job! Then you’ll get paid regularly just like if you were working at a fast-food restaurant or retail store. Most on-campus jobs even tailor their hours to your class schedule!

What if I have more questions? Who can I turn to?

The Greeley Dream Team’s Alumni Program is here to help you navigate your first two years of college. Contact our office at 970-348-6380 to get on track for a successful first semester of college.