11 Things You’ll Learn During Your First Semester

College is about learning, and not just in class. Some life lessons you’ll figure out quickly and maybe painfully. Others will take time.

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1. You’ll probably feel lost in at least one class. It’s OK, and you’re not alone. Make an appointment with your professor, check out resources like free tutoring and the writing center, or join a study group to learn from your peers.

2. Your professors expect you to show up, ready to take notes or participate in class. They won’t spell out assignments or remind you of upcoming tests. Use a calendar or organizer to manage study sessions and upcoming due dates.

3. You should go to class. You’re paying to go. If you skip classes, you’re throwing money away. If you’re using student loans, you’ll have to pay back that money with interest. Plus, you never know when the professor will provide key details that will be on an exam.

4. Silence your phone. When you’re in a class, meeting with a professor or studying with classmates, be respectful of their time and others around you by turning off the ringer and turning down the vibrate volume. Rarely is a call or text worth disturbing others or breaking your concentration.

5. Don’t leave your clothes in the laundry after the cycle. You don’t need to babysit your clothes. Just know how long the cycle runs, set a reminder on your phone and return promptly. Your fellow students will not appreciate clothes left in a machine. Your personal garments may end up in a pile somewhere, or potentially, gone for good.

6. Register for classes as soon as you can, especially on larger campuses and for required classes. Waiting until later may mean missing a prerequisite class that can set you back on completing other classes and cause you to attend school longer than you expected, costing you additional money.

7. Credit cards offered on campus are probably not your best options. The cards offered on campus often have extremely high rates. If you feel you need one, talk with your parents or a financial planner at your bank or credit union about the best option for you.

8. You and your roommate may have issues. One way to help prevent or lessen resentment is to discuss preferences at the beginning of the year, compromise where necessary and then set some ground rules. When you do run into problems, talk with your roommate and try to work through issues together. If you still need help, ask your RA for advice. It’s OK to ask your parents for advice, but try to handle it yourself instead of asking them to fix the problem for you.

9. Homesickness is normal. Whether you miss your family dog, younger siblings, homemade dinners or sleeping in your full-size bed, you will likely experience some homesickness. Everyone adjusts to life away from home at a different pace, and with everything going on in your life, it may seem overwhelming at times. Take time to call or video chat with family and friends. Hearing each other’s voices can be better than checking social media or receiving texts.

10. Random acts of kindness are awesome. Something simple can make a person’s day better and give your outlook a boost at the same time. Hold the door open for someone a few steps behind you; smile at people in the hall; be there for someone having a rough day.

11. You can never have too many clean, dry towels. Pack an extra one, or three. You’ll want them.

By: Iowa Student Loan