34 Things You Learn In Your First Semester Of College

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1. “Where are you from?”, “what are you studying?”, and “where are you living?” are the only three questions that matter upon first meeting your peers.

2. Having a good handshake is important.

3. After having the same group of friends throughout elementary, middle, and high school, you will have to learn how to make new friends all over again.

4. Being able to introduce yourself and your friends well is a useful skill.

5. Meeting new people that are as equally excited about a subject, a club, or hobbies as you are is a very nice feeling.

6. Sometimes, you meet people you never see again. The question of whether it is socially acceptable to add them to your social networks comes up a lot. (When in doubt, don’t.)

7. You don’t need to buy every textbook for every class; it’s likely you’ll end up not touching at least one of them.

8. Actually go to your classes. Most of the stuff you do in person is important.

9. If you do bother to make it to your lectures, spend the class listening or taking notes. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and your phone will still be around in an hour.

10. Find a spot in the library where you can actually get work done. Mark your territory. Stake your claim.

11. Find a coffee shop with WiFi and discounts on refills.

12. Actually doing your readings is a really good idea.

13. Having a calendar is key. Color-coding it will make you a straight-up superstar.

14. Lying to people that matter is stupid idea. (This includes teachers and advisors and student loan administrators.)

15. Naps are more valuable than all-nighters.

16. Join intramurals, join clubs, and sign up for committees. This not only gets you involved around campus, it gives you experience to put resumes.

17. Small class environments are useful.

18. So are office hours and tutorials.

19. You are paying for this education; use the resources your money is offering you.

20. Crying happens a lot. Seeing breakdowns in the quad or in the library is kind of normal.

21. Fate is not a valid argument in relationships.

22. Your professors are smart people and sometimes they’re even kind of interesting. Listen to their stories.

23. Food is expensive.

24. That gym pass comes included with your tuition.

25. A lot of social and hygienic norms disappear around midterms and finals.

26. Get involved in any way you can. It will help set your priorities for volunteering your time in the future (and this is always a good idea.)

27. Falling in love with strangers happens at least several times a month.

28. Take chances. Caution is overrated.

29. Stay away from thirsty people. At the very least, use protection.

30. Spending too much time either out or in the library is not a good habit. Find the work-life balance sweet spot.

31. If something embarrassing happens, it’s not the end of the world. In a school of over 40,000, there is a good chance you may never see that person again.

32. Remember that there will always be a next time. Except for concerts. If you have the opportunity, go to that concert.

33. You will be here for the next four years. If you don’t like it, think about change. You’re spending a lot of money on your education, and you should like it.

34. It really is possible to know after only three and a half months that you are in absolutely the right place for you. TC mark

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