I've been in school for about a month and half now and I am nowhere near an expert. I am definitely still trying to figure things out. But the following list just are a few things that I've noticed and some of my fellow pupils have noticed. To those of you who are starting next fall, let this serve as a guide.
1. If at all possible, visit the residence hall and the room that you will be staying in. The descriptions online are not always accurate and you don't want to be surprised on move in day like I was. And to so you don't buy things you don't need, you can see what furniture actually comes with the room. Also I packed lightly clothes wise and it turned out that I had soooo much more room than I originally thought and I was really irritated by my limited options the first few weeks. So make sure you check out closet/dresser/shelf space.
2. When people say that college is expensive, that is an understatement. Not only are you paying thousands of dollars for tuition/room and board, but textbooks and random other things that you need for class is expensive too! I had to buy a $50 device for one of my lecture which is basically an attendance tracker. It's ridiculous. So if you are able to, work a ton the summer before you leave, that way you can actually have some spending money to your name.
3. This next one depends on the location of your school, but if you go to a suburban school like myself, transportation is lightweight a struggle. There will be cool clubs/parties/events that will be close enough for you to here about but too far to walk. And if you don't have a car or know somebody with one your out of luck. And it really does suck. And generally parking passes for freshmen suck as well. But if you have to extra money I would go ahead and go for it.
4. This is probably the toughest realization of college but it is so real. You're not going to enter college and meet your bffls the first week. Heck even the first month. I have yet to find a solid group of friends here like the ones I had back home and it sucks. But a friend from back home put it into perspective: How long did it take to form the bonds you had with your high school friends? 2-3 years at least. So give college a chance. Give people a chance and hopefully everything will be alright looking back.
5. IF YOU ARE NOT ORGANIZED YOU WILL FAIL. You have to keep up with deadlines. If you can't keep up then you're gonna fail. period.
6. Roommates are another thing that depends. Sometimes if you room with someone you already know, it's best because you can trust them. But it can be bad at the same time, because you may get tired of each other rather than having a random where you just met and you can enjoy each other's company. So I would recommend you use your best judgement on that one.
7. If you're going to school somewhere warm or that has hot summers I would HIGHLY recommend getting a room with air conditioning. I have friends that stay in non-air conditioned dorms and that first month was horrible for them. There is a catch however. I've noticed that my friends are really cool with the people in their hall because they all hang out in the first floor air conditioned lounges the first month. In my hall however, we don't really know each other and no one hangs out in the lounge because there isn't much down there and we have can control the temperature in our rooms. So again I would use your best judgement on that one. If you're a social person regardless of environment I would recommend you get a air conditioned dorm and vice versa.
8. Go to campus events. Period. They're great bonding experiences for friends you already have and you can potentially meet new friends. And sometimes it's better than sitting in your room watching Netflix eating Oreos. Sometimes.
9. REMEMBER WHY YOU ARE HERE. Going to a somewhat party school, I've already seen some people get caught up in the "college experience" and have had to leave or are failing. Remember that school is the priority not Thirsty Thursdays.
10. My final advice is to be open to new experiences and be brave. I know this is very hard for some of us including myself. But honestly sometimes you have nothing left to lose. Just go for it.