Starting college is scary and exciting at the same time. You’re embarking on a journey to form new friendships, to grow personally and intellectually both inside and outside of the classroom, and to find new life-changing mentors in faculty and staff.
Katie Roiphe is a university professor herself, and recently shared 16 things to remember in college in the Atlantic. These tips are written for her daughter, who is heading off to college this fall, but we found her insights useful for anyone setting out on the adventure of higher education.
All of Katie’s points are great, but here are five that stand out:
Make sure you get to know your professors. They may seem intimidating, but for the most part, educators want to get to know you and help you grow in the knowledge of their particular field — and how to navigate life. As Katie shares, “Many of my most important … conversations happen in my office or outside of the classroom over coffee.” So grab your planner and take advantage of dropping in during your favorite professor’s office hours, even if it’s the first week.
Learn to read for substance. This is an excellent tip and will be one of the most important skills you develop in college. The better you get at reading for substance, the more time you’ll have for other important formative experiences of your college years — without skirting schoolwork.
Independence is important. College is an apprenticeship in independence. It’s okay to hit some stumbling blocks when gaining your independence, but learn from them. Learning responsible independence is an important part of adult life, so take it seriously!
Pay attention to beauty. The great Russian novelist Dostoevsky once famously wrote, “Beauty will save the world.” Katie suggests that the beauty of a sunrise or a tree-lined street are more gripping than your own internal dilemmas, and have the power to refresh your perspective. Savor the beauty around you — let it lift you up in good times and bad.
“Don’t forget to sleep!” FOMO is real, but nothing feels as good as eight hours of sleep. And nothing is more important to help you feel grounded.
Yes, the transition to college can be scary, but thanks to Katie’s suggestions you have a toolbox to make this time a tad less daunting. College will be filled with new friendships, laughter, late nights, and great personal growth. So, take these tips to heart and read all of Katie’s suggestions.
You got this! We’re all rooting for you.