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7 Things Every College Freshman Needs

For many, attending college is a rite of passage. You head out into the great unknown, ready to take your life into your own hands. Without mom and dad looking over your shoulder, you can make your own decisions about how to spend your money, and what you want to eat each day.

I know I was excited about the prospect of college. I had most of what I needed when my parents drove me down, unloaded my stuff, and then took off. If you are getting ready to go to college for the first time, here are 7 things that you need:

  1. Sense of Adventure: It helps to have a sense of adventure as a college freshman. You don’t need to be into partying all the time (especially since that can cut into your ability to do well in your classes), but it helps to be willing to try new things and make the most of your college experience. It’ll be good for your future.
  2. Ability to Budget: The ability to budget is a must for any college freshman. Now that mom and dad are no longer in charge of most of the money decisions, understanding how money works, including where it comes from and where it goes is important. This is a skill that can keep the college freshman out of debt.
  3. Safe: If you plan to share a room as a freshman, you need a safe. I didn’t share a room my freshman year, but I still probably should have had one. A good safe can protect your essential documents and your most valuable items. You may not know your roommate, and you certainly don’t know everyone your roommate is bringing over.
  4. Savvy Shopping Skills: It helps to be able to comparison shop. Not only can you get the best deals on everything from used textbooks to student discounts at restaurants to the best deals on everyday items, but you will develop a lifelong skill that can help you later on.
  5. Realistic Course Load: Don’t assume that you can handle 18 to 21 credits a semester — certainly not as a freshman. Be realistic about your course load. It can help to start with 12 credits and see how you do. Depending on the activities you participate in, and whether or not you have a job, expecting to be able to handle 18 credit might be unrealistic.
  6. Healthy Habits: Without mom and dad to make sure you’re eating right, and without high school sports teams to keep you fit, you might start to slip when it comes to your health. As a college freshman, it’s important to stay on top of your health. You will be more energetic, and avoid some of the health problems that can develop from unhealthy behaviors.
  7. Laptop: Having an inexpensive laptop can be a big help as a student today. It helps when taking notes, and completing assignments. When I was in college, laptops weren’t really something that many students had. However, I did have an inexpensive computer in my room. It was better than having to traipse to the computer lab to complete assignments.

What do you think every college freshman needs? What would you add to this list?

(Photo: CollegeDegrees360 [3])