When I began college, I was so excited to move away from home and claim my independence. I knew there were people to meet, classes to conquer, and maybe a little fun to be had! What I didn’t plan for were the “real life” experiences that hit you pretty quickly when your parents aren’t looking over your shoulder. Although there are a ton of life lessons to learn while you’re attending college, here are 5 things every student should know before venturing off to college.

 I’ve known parents who make their kids do their own laundry when they turn 16. I used to think that was weird, but now I get it. Life lesson number 1!  If you’ve never been involved in the laundry process before, you must know that there IS a process!

  • Separate delicates from the regular items because you’ll want to wash delicates on cold and hang to dry. Then, separate darks from lights. If you wash them together you may end up with various shades of the rainbow and that’s not good when we’re talking laundry! If you don’t care and want to wash them all in one load, use the COLD setting and use Color Catcher sheets to keep colors from bleeding.
  • Pods are popular with college students because you don’t have to measure detergent – you just pop one into the machine with your clothes!
  • Fold your laundry right away to avoid wrinkles. Also, if you leave it in the machine for too long, the next person will pile it in a heap on top of the machine.

Seek help if you get sick.  

When living in tight quarters with other people, you’re bound to get sick! Remember the fees you pay to the college? The student health fee is one of them, so take advantage of it! Student Health is a clinic on your campus for students to see a nurse, PA, or doctor when you’re not feeling well. They can typically diagnose most common ailments but may refer you on to another doctor/clinic if it’s something more serious.

When you attend student orientation, drive around the city and locate clinics and pharmacies, just in case you’re ever in need of them! Also, keep a copy of your family’s health insurance card in your wallet.

Get over your fear of talking to your professor.

If you’ve watch the Wizard of Oz, you recall that the Wizard is an intimidating, unseen voice that knows all.  It turns out he’s super sweet and very willing to help!

Talking to your college professor can be somewhat like this…extremely intimidating to approach, but keep in mind they are human!  It’s their job to communicate with students but they can’t read minds! They don’t know that you have questions or issues if you don’t communicate that to them!  Listen to them the first day of classes and read the syllabus they hand out, to determine their preferred method of communication. Office hours are also a great way to visit with them face-to-face. Read this blog for more tips.

Learn how to manage your money. 

Budgeting is always important, even when you’re a college student.  Establishing good habits early is the key to future success! Determine how much you’ll be spending on all of the necessary versus extra expenses per semester and set strict guidelines for yourself. When you get to college, fast food restaurants and shopping are very tempting but you must spend within your means. Take advantage of the student dining hall that you’ll be paying for anyway and keep your shopping sprees to a minimum. Having a job while you’re attending college isn’t a bad idea as it helps you to become responsible while earning a little extra cash.  Just remember to create a balance and allow plenty of time to devote to your schoolwork.

Choose your friends wisely.

When you begin college, there will be plenty of opportunities to meet new people. Be friendly and open to everyone and don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself to find your best friends immediately! Just go with the flow – it’s when the dust settles that you will find “your people.” You know yourself better than anyone, including your morals and beliefs.  Don’t sacrifice those things just to try to fit in.  If you are not comfortable with someone or situations, then find others to hang out with.  Always keep in mind, you are a direct reflection of the people you surround yourself with, so choose wisely!