It’s time to put on that backpack and head to your first college class. Maybe you’ve been preparing for this day for a long time, or maybe you’re nervous about what’s to come. Either way, take a peek at this checklist to make sure you’re ready to go—and ready to make the experience the best it can be:

Prepare to feel uncomfortable for a while.

Going to college is a big change, no matter what stage of life you’re in. You might be moving out of your home. You might be taking your first college class in a decade (or ever). Whatever your situation, remember that it’s OK to feel a little antsy or awkward at first.

Pay a visit to the on-campus services designed to help.

The tutoring center, disability services, counseling services, financial aid…we could go on. There are a range of offices on campus that are meant to help students succeed. Take advantage of these resources and stop by or call to ask for help when you need to.

Commit to time management.

Get off on the right foot at college by purchasing a planner or smartphone planner app and getting familiar with how to put it to good use. Map out your class schedule and work/other commitments so you have a good handle on your free time to be put toward studying, social time, family, exercise, and more.

Get to know instructors.

At FRCC, you’ll enjoy small class sizes with teachers who know your name and want to help you reach your dreams. Get to know them. Ask questions. If you struggle with a project or assignment, visit them during office hours. The more you put yourself out there, the more your instructors will notice your genuine commitment.

Get involved.

There’s nothing wrong with going to class, going home, and doing your homework, but is that approach to college going to help you achieve much personal growth? Probably not. So, join a club. Explore new interests. Get to know people who come from different backgrounds and places than you do. And most importantly, take advantage of the variety of opportunities all around you to try new things and meet new people.

Put in the work.

This might sound pretty obvious, but success in college requires effort. Go to class, pay attention, engage, and take thorough notes. Study regularly so you don’t find yourself in the position of needing to cram before every quiz or exam. Keep up with reading and homework. And if you ever need support, ask your instructors. They’re there to help.

Adopt good stress management techniques.

The transition to college life can be taxing. It’s important to know how to manage that stress effectively. You might need to try different things to see what helps you calm down when you’re feeling overwhelmed—from meditation to yoga, from exercise to taking short breaks during study sessions. Also, staying organized and on top of school will minimize the amount of procrastination-induced panic.

Starting the college journey is a big step forward on the path of life. This is most certainly a turning point for you and an endeavor to take seriously and embrace with your heart. Now, take a deep breath, put a smile on your face, and get ready for your first day of this new chapter. We hope it’s awesome!

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