Palm Tree University: Tips for Your First Semester of College

As sad as we are to say it, summer is almost over. School will be starting soon, some of you may even be entering your first year of college. That is an exciting and somewhat nerve wrecking time. You’ll be on your own for the first time ever, you might have a roommate, and you’re taking your first steps into the adult world.  I always loved the few weeks leading up to school, while I was sad that summer was over I was excited for the experiences I would have in school, and for the people I would meet. There’s just something about starting over.

The first semester is going to be a huge learning experience, it’s going to be scary sometimes, a little overwhelming, and a whole lot of fun. Some of the friends I met in my first few months of college are some of my closest friends even today. Here’s a few tips from all of us at The Palm Tree for those headed into the great big world of higher education.


1.  Go to class. After all you are there to learn, right? Make yourself proud and stick to what you’ve committed to. It’ll make a difference in 3 years when you’re “so over this” and all your friends are barley sophomores and you’re almost outta there. Trust us, there’s plenty of time to have fun, but be responsible. You’ll be glad you did, we promise.


2.  Invest in some really cute tennis shoes, a sturdy backpack, and headphones. You’ll thank me later.  Chances are you’ll be doing A LOT of walking, and depending on the size of your school it could be one block, to several miles. Close parking is not always an option on some campuses, so be prepared to have to leave early and walk more than usual.


3.  Plan your route, know your plan. This goes back to tip #2. Knowing where your classes are, the nearest parking lots, and bus routes is ultra important. If you have night classes know the path with the most lighting at night, better to be safe than sorry!

4.  Get to know your professors/ rate your prof. is a gift from the post grad gods who know what it’s like for us under-gradlings just starting out. Knowing who your professors are before signing up for a class can be the difference between a teacher from hell or the best teacher in the world. Also once you’ve signed up for a class, it’s a good idea to introduce yourself to your teacher, you never know when you might need their help to get out of a jam (ahem, spring break 15′ when you “forgot” to turn in that assignment before you left for your fabulous trip to Mexico, just saying)


5.  Get your rest/take care of yourself.

I cannot stress this enough. Get some sleep! Good rest is essential for success and stress management. We know it’s hard to turn down your friends and their seemingly never-ending energy but your body is not designed to go 24-7, give yourself a break. Meditation, yoga, and regular exercise are great for mental health and wellbeing, when the going get’s rough take a nature walk! Most campuses have walking trails and beautiful scenery to give yourself a great mental break, grab your head phones and enjoy the scenery! Pro tip: make a special De-stress playlist to listen to when you start to feel out of it.


6. know it’s okay to not have everything figured out.

There will be times when you feel like you have no idea what you are doing. That’s okay! In fact, it’s expected. Don’t feel bad when you don’t necessarily have your life together as much as it seems you should. No one does. As long as you keep moving forward in life you are right on track.


7. Make friends in class/ join a study group.

Making the right friends in class can be a major asset. Like on those days where you accidentally sleep through your alarm and miss your 8am. You know someone in that class will have your back, and vise versa. It’s also great in classes you might not be doing so well in to have another unique perspective on the material to help you learn.


8. Join your college community/make friends

Colleges are full of different kinds of people, usually those people like to hang out together, and you can almost guarantee they will have a club to bring in more like minded people. Finding a club, or sorority to join can be a great way to get involved in your schools activities. Go to games, wear the school colors;  that sense of community will make you feel so welcome at your home away from home and help those who are maybe struggling to find people to hang out with. Plus some groups take really cool trips and outings, like the spanish club at my school went to Spain for 2 weeks during the summer. All kinds of opportunities are available to you when you seek out groups to join.


9. Take your vitamins/find time to exercise/ build healthy habits

Keeping yourself well during a stressful semester can be hard, taking vitamins and loads of vitamin C can help keep you well and recover faster when you do catch a sniffle. Regular exercise has many benefits from stress management, helping to keep you strong, to helping you keep those pesky freshman 15 off your waistline.


10. Have fun!

Most importantly, have fun. Make memories, and document everything. You’ll look back on this very special time of your life with fondness and wish you could go back. Make this time unforgettable.


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