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By Nolan O’Malley, a current student at Northern Illinois University
1) Find the Fairs
In the first few weeks of school, your college will have fair that show the activities, groups, and organizations available. You should find the fairs and any given organization’s meetings just to see what your school has to offer. These fair will help you get involved on campus, meet new people, and possibly head you in the right path for your career.
2) Do your Homework
When you get into college, you are released into a world of total freedom. No one will ever tell you to do your homework or go to class. It is important that you stay on top of things and do your homework. You may have easy classes in the first year of school, but school will catch up to you faster than you think. You should gather the habit of doing your work for the years of college ahead (good practice).
3) Figure out the School’s Layout
Nothing is worse than not knowing where you are going. Make sure you take a tour before you jump into your school schedule. If you don’t have time for that, make sure when you take some of your down time to get a feeling for your surroundings and the location of important resources (campus police, medical center, administrative office, etc.). If you are aware of your surroundings, you will be able to get to places safer and more efficiently.
4) Take Advantage of the Free Services
Colleges offer free plays, sporting events, movies, outdoors activities, festivals, and much more. You pay so much to go to a school, why not try and make the money worth its while. Schools will pay to get students involved and engaged in worthwhile activities on campus. Guest speakers are coming in and out of colleges weekly. If you have a major and a speaker comes in pertaining to that major, go and see what the person has to say. Colleges are created to get you prepared for life. Schools also offer free resume building, paper editing, and therapy sessions. These are tools to set you up in the future or to blow off a little steam. You need to get all you can from what is offered, including these free events and services.
5) Network, Network, Network
There is no greater place to network than a college campus. It is best to get to know professors, students, and organization head early. If you jump on this as early as freshman year, I guarantee you will have some assistance as you step out of college into the real world.