By Brendon Johnson ’16 / Champlain News
College can be a scary place, but only if you let it be one. New freedoms, living in a dorm, setting your own schedule and making new friends can be overwhelming at first. But there are people at college who are there specifically to help you over those challenges and adjust to your new life on campus – Residential Life or “Res Life” students and staff in the residence halls who can answer your questions and point you in the right direction.
To get you off on the right foot when you arrive at Champlain College later this summer, consider these suggestion and tips as you start counting down the days until orientation weekend on Aug. 23-25.
College isn’t automatically amazing. For the first time for some of you, you have freedom and besides studying and occasionally cleaning up your half of the room. You have to use your time wisely to make college amazing. Take advantage of all the free programs, trips, and activities offered to you.
Get out of your comfort zone. College is a great place to try new things and with all the opportunities you have access to you may just discover a new passion. Remember, even if you do not take advantage of the wonderful opportunities offered, you are still paying for them.
Get involved! If you get involved on campus whether it be clubs, intramural sports, or even a job on campus, not only will you have more fun but you will meet new friends with common interest. Champlain offers more than 70 clubs and organizations from dancing to rock climbing to video games. There is definitely something there for you.
Have fun, college isn’t always easy, but you deserve to relax with your new friends and take an afternoon to go down to the lake or visit the mountains. Vermont is an amazing place to live and go to school. Go exploring.
Practice with a microwave! You have no idea how many times you will hear about the fire alarm being set off from a burnt bag of popcorn. Don’t be that person. Popular to contrary belief the popcorn button is not for popcorn, you will burn the popcorn and it will set off the fire alarm.
Bring clothes for all seasons. You will not want to be stuck for a weeks in cool fall or early winter weather with only your summer clothes. And if you have never done your own laundry, get a lesson before you leave home.
Come ready to learn. Yes, it is true you do need to attend classes and participate if you want to succeed at Champlain. You are paying for them. Don’t waste your money by skipping class. Also, meet your deadlines. This isn’t high school anymore – professors will not chase you down for every little assignment. Your college experience will be so much less stressful if you are ready each day for your classes.
Hit the save button, multiple times. There are a lot of papers to type for classes, especially your Core classes. Make sure to save files often and in multiple places whether it be a flash drive, external hard drive, or a cloud based program. Losing an assignment the night before it is due is never pleasant.
Give yourself ample time for assignments. Just because you have a week to complete your paper doesn’t mean you don’t have homework for the next six days, do your work early and save yourself plenty of time for editing and revisions.
Call home. Your parents need to hear from you every now and again. Set up a time that works with your schedule and let them know how you are doing. Fire off an occasional email update or send them a copy of that assignment you aced. And remember, they are also there for you if you have a problem, but don’t expect them to solve it for you.
Start planning the rest of your college years. As an incoming first-year student, thinking about your senior year is probably not on the top of your list of immediate concerns. But ask any Champlain senior and they will tell you how quickly the time goes. Begin exploring early your study abroad options and internships. Pay attention and get a handle on what requirements you need to meet and when.
Going away for college for the first time can be scary, exciting, and overwhelming but do not let that dishearten you, college is a wonderful place. You have the resources available to you to make your transition seamless, expect an overload of information and feelings during orientation weekend. Saying goodbye to family and friends at home and settling into a new life will take a little getting used to, but you are ready for a new adventure.