College Q&A: Goodbye Community College, Hello Big School

Got some college questions? Unsure of a decision? Don’t know what to do this summer? Just wanna chat it up with some really awesome chics? We’ve got the girls for you. Hit them up in the comments or shoot them an email with the subject “College Q&A”! They’ve got all the answers you need, no matter who you are.

Question:
You girls seem to know what’s up with college. I’m transferring from a community college to a big college. I start with the summer term in a few weeks (I thought it would help me with my transition if I gave myself some extra time.) I’m really scared because I’ve never lived away from home and this is very different from what I’m used to from my current school. I want to know if you have any advice? Like, if you could tell me 3 things I should know, what are they?

Party Girl:
First of all, congrats on leaving the nest! That’s a big step and it definitely takes some balls. As for the advice, I can only say that going to a “big” college after community college is going to be like life in technicolor after living in black & white (a la Dorothy). Everything is going to be more intense: the classes, the drinking, and the lifestyle. There will be more opportunities to party and make friends at every turn – take advantage of them!!  If I have to funnel my advice into three bullet points, it would be these:

1) Fight the urge to hermit. Get a drink in your hand and your ass on a dance floor.
2) Study. I frequently forget to do this myself, so it’s good to remind yourself that going to a big college is more than just a huge 4-year speed dating event.
3) Live on campus. Even if it’s just for a semester, to really experience your new school you have to live on campus. Plus, you get an automatic in for any campus parties that most people living off campus don’t even hear about.

Busy Bee:
Know that the first few months will definitely be the hardest. You will feel tempted to call your mom every single day, book a flight back to your hometown every other weekend, and flood your friend’s walls with, “OMG IMY!” It’s normal, but you’ll get over this phase as soon as you start meeting new people and finding fun things to do.

Which brings me to my second point: busy yourself! I guess that only sounds right coming from me, but it really works. To get your mind off of homesickness, don’t be afraid to hang out with new people, find out which eateries are the local hot spots, or get involved with this new community. Go ahead and explore this new territory! That also includes scouting out some hotties around town.

My last piece of wisdom would be to take this time to learn more about yourself. Seeing that you might not hit it off with every new friend you meet, you’re going to have to be very independent. That means going grocery shopping by yourself, making your own dinner, and finding out what’s cool in town. If you’re not one to enjoy alone time, then take every opportunity you have in class to meet new people! Scary at first, but all you gotta do is say hi and ask them where they got their cute shirt from. Have fun, be daring, and enjoy the “big college” experience!

GPA Girl:
Girl, it sounds as if you are totally prepared! You’re giving yourself extra time to adjust and everything–very responsible. I know how you feel because I was also very scared and overwhelmed when I left home for the first time. If I had to give you three pieces of advice, I think these would be it:

1. Just because you’re living away from home doesn’t mean you can’t be connected with home anymore. Call your parents and your siblings, visit every month or two, and stay in touch with your friends from home and your community college. Write them e-mails and letters (yes, the old-fashioned kind). Send packages and cookies.
2. Take advantage of what your new, big school has to offer. I bet your community college didn’t have as many opportunities for fun extra-curriculars and places to bond with other students. Join any activity that looks interesting, even if you know next to nothing about it (there’s no obligation to keep going, after all), and try to find people with whom you have things in common.
3. Don’t neglect your classes. It’s possible that the work at the big college will be tougher or more time-consuming than it was at your community college, so it’s great that you’re trying to prepare now. I really believe that a solid academic foundation will also provide you with a solid foundation in other aspects of your life, so work hard and do well. Ask questions, review the material, go to office hours, and be really interested and engaged in what you’re learning. Good luck!!

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