You’ve registered for classes and have your supplies and books. Looks like you’re ready for college!

Not so fast. Have you braced yourself for some of the newness that is about to come your way? During this final month of summer, take a quick run-through of this “mental preparation” checklist and make sure you have given these topics some thought.

1. Remind yourself that it’s new for everyone.

Going to college is a big change, and it’s important not to get overwhelmed. Keep a level head by reminding yourself that this is a time of transition for everyone, not just you. Things might feel a bit uncomfortable for awhile, and that’s ok. Accept that you’re in a new stage of life and it won’t feel familiar for a bit.

2. Commit to time management.

If there’s a surefire way to make college hard on yourself, it is to procrastinate and do a lousy job of managing your time. Get off on the right foot by committing to staying organized with your time and in your life this year. Check out digital tools and homework planning apps, or get yourself a good old day planner if you prefer. The key is to plan your time so you have time for it all. Create a detailed daily schedule that blocks out time for classes, homework, studying, and anything else. Stay organized and spend a few minutes each evening planning ahead for the next day.

3. Be open to new things.

College will open your eyes in more ways than one. It’s a time to find yourself, discover new passions, challenge old ways of thinking, and meet new people from all backgrounds and places. So, try something different. Join a club that piques your curiosity. The idea is to stretch your mind and make the most of this time in your life. Embrace the idea of exploration!

4. Remind yourself it’s OK to ask for help.

With anything new, it’s best to go in with a positive mindset, but as we all know, life has its ups and downs. Knowing where to turn for help is important. Take a moment to locate the on-campus services that can help you: the tutoring center, disability services, counseling services, and any other resources that will give you a boost when you need it. Figure out how to manage your stress effectively and build a strong support system of friends and family too.

5. Spend time choosing a major.

Many students go into college with the intent to declare a major soon only to dawdle and waste time (and tuition money). Remember that the reason you’re in college is to build a solid foundation for your career. The career services staff can help you explore careers and majors and find the best fit for your personality and goals. Plan to pay them a visit early in your first semester if you’re unsure what you want to do.

Congratulations on this exciting time of your life. It’s a fun chapter, but there’s no doubt that it can come with a bit of trepidation. Don’t worry if you’re nervous—you’re not the only one experiencing a case of the college jitters. As you get prepared for the first day of classes, take the time to get mentally ready for this new life phase too. You’ll be glad you did!

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