Fall 2020 is going to be interesting, especially if you are starting college this year! If your school is planning on having face-to-face courses, here are some tips from a returning student to help you succeed!
Where to Study
Normally, I would be pushing Starbucks and the library, and those are still okay options if you use the safety protocol! I think this would be the year to try to find a space away from the public, though. So, after getting your iced coffee, try to find a private study room or even an empty classroom to spend your time in. Every campus has hidden gems. I recommend exploring before your classes start and go find a building with a quiet lobby or secret study area. Don’t forget to make good use of your dorm room, too!
If you are one of those who can’t focus in your dorm, I’m right there with you. This is the year to buy yourself a picnic blanket and find a nice shady area on the lawn! Be on the look out for secluded areas or secret gardens. This way, you will get your daily dose of vitamin D and stay focused on your school work!
What to Bring
All college campuses are instating some kind of safety guidelines, so come prepared and keep yourself safe. Bring reusable masks, the washable kind, and throw them in the laundry with your other dirty clothing. Along with masks, don’t forget to bring antibacterial soap, germ-x, and cleaning supplies! Some dorms have private bathrooms where you are required to clean them yourselves. Keep yourself and your suite-mates safe by being prepared to handle the upkeep.
Want to make your own reusable masks? Click this link to find out how!
Besides the COVID-19 essentials, there are other things your should bring! This year, you might be nervous about making friends. I know some campuses have decided to make all dorms singles, so it might be worrisome being alone. Don’t worry! Everyone will be going through the exact same thing. Be sure to bring things that will either allow you to participate in more things, like bringing a yoga mat for outdoor yoga classes!
In addition to things to help make friends, make sure you are prepared for meal time! Your college cafeteria might be allowing you the option for take-out trays which is a great way to keep you safe! Instead of taking the plastic silverware and straws, bring you own set from home to school! This will reduce the amount of plastic you use. Don’t forget to get some dish soap to wash them when you get back to your dorm room!
How to Make Friends
Besides participating in activities that allow for social distancing, there are more ways to make friends! GroupMe is an app that allows for group messaging for large quantities of people. You could then start a group chat for a class and make friends through that. Besides becoming closer with your classmates, your dorm-mates are going to be the first group you really get to meet! If you still have a roommate, be sure to get to know that person before getting to school and connect online! If you don’t have a roommate, leave your door open and say hello to other curious college freshman walking by.
Everyone talks about how friendships happen organically, and they do, but this is the year to step out of your comfort zone! A lot of colleges have a freshman facebook group page to meet students before you arrive at school. So many people are looking for friends through that group! Don’t be afraid to comment or message students and start making connections before you arrive!
Prepare to Be Unprepared
Most importantly, this is a year for growth. You will learn to be adaptable and flexible as classes and plans change. Don’t be afraid of that change! I am a big planner; I like to keep a schedule and not branch off. The biggest thing I have to learn is to not get upset and learn to embrace the unknown. This is your time to grow and learn more about yourself and what you can accomplish!
If any of you reading this are like me, you want to be prepared and know what to expect when back on campus. With this year being so new and unfixed, we don’t get that luxury. Don’t panic! Change your perspective and become excited to learn how to handle surprises and develop yourself! I still recommend a planner to write down your assignments, but don’t get frustrated when your plans have to change. We are all in this together. I am so excited for you to explore all that college is! Remember to keep yourself safe and to enjoy the ride!