With the completion of admission formalities, students across India are gearing up for the D-Day on which they break the shackles of childhood and school to start their college life. Life which was previously filled with tension of board results and upcoming entrances is now offering them the opportunity to do new and interesting activities, which is exciting and challenging at the same time.
The initial months at the campus are very crucial in terms of settling in and making a reputation for yourself. This time should be utilized to its full potential, because let us face it, who doesn't want to be called the coolest person of the college?!
Here we bring some tips for you to ease into the new college life:
1. Explore your Campus, Know your Classrooms
Ask any of your elder siblings or friends and they would surely tell an excellent story about their dramatic entry at their new college. It would generally start with them slowly trudging in the campus with their earphones plugged in with some cool song playing in the background with all the SWAG that one can exhibit in a moment. If you also have any such dreams about walking into your college, it’s time to wake up. No! This is not what happens, except in your dreams or in a Bollywood flick.
More often than not, your first few months at your college or university would be spent exploring the campus to find out different facilities. Gone are the school days when all the classes would take place in your own comfortable classroom. In college, you would have different classroom for different subjects and sometime it would entail changing rooms within the same building or at times even jumping a few building or department blocks to reach to your next classroom. And God forbid, if you ever end up in a wrong classroom, it would certainly be an embarrassing moment which might hurt you a bit right now, but your college mates will help you get over it soon.
Similarly, you would also have to explore where the administration department sits, because they would provide you documentation. While you are at it, try locating the library and canteen as well. It may sound awkward to mention library and canteen in the same line, but you will soon realize that most of the time your breaks would be spent at either of these.
2. Mind your dress code
Most of you who are planning to move from school to college would have imagined a changed world; a world in which uniforms and dress codes do not exist. Well, sorry to burst your bubble again, that is simply not true.
While joining a college certainly gets rid of wearing the uniform every single day, there still is a dress-code that one must adhere to. Wearing the right kind of clothes to the college can be the key to getting noticed by everyone but you surely don’t want undue attention, especially during the first few days or months in college. Try to keep your clothing more comfortable rather than flashy. While you certainly don’t want to be called ‘aunty ji’ on campus but at the same time being the Nicki Minaj or Lady Gaga of campus would also not be on your c ollege checklist.
For College Heartthrobs: Groom yourself well. Start by getting a good haircut and shave that is recently in (Top Tip: Avoid Shahid Kapoor’s Gabru style from Udta Punjab). Pick clothes that are casual and comfortable over the flashy ones. Cool semi-formals or stylish Polo T-shirts can up your style game which should compulsorily be accompanied with confidence and a smile. Whatever you wear, try to carry it with confidence.
For Campus Queens: You guys have a super-tough challenge when it comes to building the right wardrobe and picking the right clothes for college. Follow your heart and develop a good taste for gracious clothing. Keeping comfort at the core, you can choose anything between a traditional kurti, a casual dress or simple jeans and top. Unless there is a party, you don't need to dress too blingy or loud. You would also want to keep the makeup less because the summer sun will melt it down in minutes.
3. Find your BFFs
Take Dil Chahta Hai, RockOn or 3 Idiots; all of them have very noble themes, with friendship being at the core of their story. People you meet in your college, friends you make on campus remain with your for the rest of your life. The new age term to define such relationships is BFF or Best Friends Forever. And mostly, people meet their BFFs during their first few days or months at college.
While some lucky folks among you would have a few batchmates from your school days as part of your college, they may not necessarily be the friends that will last you through your college days. So, feel free to explore and meet new people, this is your golden opportunity to find likeminded friends who share your interests and passion.
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At first, it might be intimidating to just walk up to a complete stranger and talk to them, but once you try it, nothing will seem more easier. Remember, everyone in your college classroom is a fresher and is equally scared and has the same type of insecurities as you. The key here is to break the ice and build a bond that connects with them.
But be wary, it is very easy in college to fall in bad company, so pick friends who can encourage you to do better at studies and will be there to discuss your other inclinations as well. Be friendly with others and you will get that back. Once you find such friends, they will stay around for the rest of your life.
4. Get to know social groups and clubs in your college
Today, colleges have become much more than just the place where you learn your academics, it is the phase during which you will learn the most important lesson of life, uncover hidden facets of your personality and invigorate the passion you want to carry forward in life.
But, how exactly would your college help you do so? The answer lies in extra-curricular activities and social groups and clubs that you can find on campus.
Almost every department would have its own society to organize their extra-curricular activities in college. To top this, there will also be separate clubs comprised of people who arrange different cultural events on the college campus. Try exploring some of them which you find interesting. For instance if writing is your thing, the literary arts society would be your pick or if you are interested in social causes knock on the door of Social Service League on your college campus. These clubs generally involve organizing and performing in different events on campus, which will surely establish you as the 'cool kid' in no time.
Try being a part of different social groups and clubs and you will be able to interact with arguably the coolest people in the college. Not only this, you will be able to talk to people outside the college, apart from teaching and non-teaching staff; helping you to grow your network.
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5. Attendance is super important
Before you get busy planning the next event on college campus, there is another important thing that you must keep in mind i.e. ATTENDENCE. Yes, attendance is compulsory and important even during your college days. And, no there is no leeway in this regard irrespective of the type of college society work you are involved in.
Most college expect students to have minimum of 75% attendance across different classes and subjects. This is done to ensure that different distractions and your new found freedom doesn’t affect your academic performance. And unlike school where lack of attendance would merely mean a note to your parents, in college there are some serious consequences when it comes to ‘short attendance’ including being barred from taking the semester or final exams. So, be very very careful about the attendance.
The key to managing your attendance while also enjoying your college life to the fullest, lies in learning to prioritize and compartmentalizing your activities on college campus. Apart from the fact that your attendance in the class will ensure you learn things better, there are marks awarded for keeping your attendance. This could make a massive different in your final score during semester exams.
6. Earn your Own Pocket Money
So, you joined college and even asked your parents for a raise in your pocket money and you thought everything was going to be cool. But guess what? Your pocket money is not going to help you survive a full month, at least not your first few months in college, thanks to meeting new friends, buying new clothes, photocopying notes and whatnot. You have no clue where the expenses will creep in.
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As you enter college, you will realize that saving money is not enough when you have some big expenses in your agenda. In this new phase of life, you wouldn't want moderation while buying basic things like eatables and clothing or taking your latest crush out for a date. But to spend more money, you need to earn some first.
So, you need to earn money by doing some hard (read smart) work. You can earn that extra money by work at a store or restaurant, selling your craft, doing online internships etc. Apart from fetching you money, these jobs will also provide you with the much needed experience of working for the first time in your life while also teaching you an important life lesson about the value of the money you spent.
7. Know your professors
The biggest departure for you from your school environment to college would be your teachers. While in school, your teachers were personally concerned about your academics and well being, there won’t be any one in your college to babysit you.
While Bollywood films do tend to picture professors as evil megalomaniac characters who are hell bent on sucking all the fun out of your life, the real life picture is in stark contrast to this. First of all, remember your professors are your mentors, who are there to help you along on your academic journey, so their teaching style and classroom conduct would be way different compared to your school teachers and that is something you will have to live with.
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However, just like your school teachers, your professors also want your well-being at the end of the day. They want to help you learn things that not only part of your text books but beyond them. If you get rid of the general misconception of teachers being snobbish and unapproachable, you will find that they are quite cooperative and willing to help you through studies and much more.
8. Collect your IDs and other important documents
During your first few days at college, you will have undergo a ton of documentation process. Right from payment of fees and collection of ID cards to creation of library cards, you would often be busy juggling multiple documentation work at the same time, and missing out on any single would mean a big loss to you in long run.
Especially for documents like ID Cards and Library Cards, which give you access to certain areas of your college which you otherwise would not have access to, are super important for any student. Some colleges even restrict entry of students on campus if they don’t have their ID cards handy, so be sure to collect all these cards as early as possible.
Apart from ID Cards, you must also remember to collect receipts for all the different fees which you pay, be it for college, library membership or group membership. This way you can be sure about where your money is going and that it is not used for any wrong purposes.
Your school / board mark sheets, leaving certificates and all other important original documents which you had to submit in at the time of admission can also be collected from the college admin department after few months. So make sure you collect them as well, as they would be important for application to competitive exams etc.
Connect with Seniors
Most of you would be wary of your seniors, thanks to the ragging scandal which Indian college are well known for. But ragging aside, your college seniors can turn out to be your best friends and excellent mentor for the simple fact that they already know what you are going through during your first few days at college.
Connecting with the seniors will be important for you because they have been in the college for one year or more and know the practical working of things there. If you are sweet and courteous, they will not only interact with you but also give useful insights about everything that is important for you to know. This could range from tips for getting along with that strict teacher to most famous and cheap eateries in the campus. And to sweeten the deal, you might score some old notes of theirs for your first year classes.
Find the cheapest photocopy place on campus
Talking about college notes; during your first few college days you will end up spending a significant amount of your pocket money and equal proportion of time in at the nearest photocopy shop.
No matter how attentive you are in your classroom, no matter how good you are at making notes, they will never be enough to prepare for college exams. So, please don't underestimate the importance of photocopy waale bhaiya.
As the semester passes, you will realize you need his help more than you thought you do. Find the cheapest place for photocopy so that it does not cut a hole in your pocket when you get those photocopy notes or print those lengthy assignments on glossy paper for project submission. Become friends with him so that he does your on priority and also gives you some services for free.
Know your Helping Staff
Apart from the people who teach you, there are ton of other people who are there to make your life at college easier and convenient. Yes, the everyday the classroom doesn’t clean itself, there are helping staff members in every college which make this place worthy of the tag of your second home.
The helping staff is usually the sweetest and makes your life easy at college and the hostel. Talk to them not only with the intention of getting things done but also as a sweet gesture to let them know that you care. After all, college is not just about getting marks and a degree. It is also the place where you learn modesty and selflessness by doing something for people who do not have access to things you have because of their financial status.
Be it a day college or a residential one, you will surely need help of these angels who put in hard work, day in and day out, to make your life more comfortable. Be it finding the right classroom or getting in the college when you forgot your ID card, these helping staff members will should certainly be on your thank you list for their selfless service.
Hunt for Cool Hangout / Eating Joints
Finally, coming to the one of the biggest challenges you would face in your first few months at college...FOOD! Yes, but don’t take it in a wrong way, it is not that you won’t find places which serve food, in-fact college canteen would surely be part of the campus. But the challenge for you would be to find cool hangout and eating joints that serve the best food on campus, be it a simple morning chai or breakfast poha or Maggie (or Patanjali noodle, which ever you prefer); you want to find out the best place on campus which serve these things without burning a hole in your pocket.
You can also hunt for a few places where you can hangout between lectures and chill for a while, be it over a guitar tune or while discussion a political debate. But such hangout joints are a great place not only to gorge upon some scrumptious food but also to meet and connect with awesome people on campus sans their subjects or classes.
Balancing various aspects of college life is the key to getting the most out of it. The freedom that comes with going to college is amazing, and no one expects you to stay indoors during the first few weeks. However, your social life doesn’t need to deviate from studies, and academic things shouldn’t have to suffer if you want to make friends. We hope that these 12 tips will be enough to make the beginning of your college journey smoother.