high school to college

*College life is the best — and the worst. It’s tough being young with no money in a new world. But college enables you to learn new things, meet people from all over and find your passion.

Even though it might not be great every day, knowing what to expect will have you ahead of the game. Heed the following four tips and you’ll be ready to make the jump from foolish freshman to a super senior in no time.

1. Make the Best of Dorm Life

Dorms are small, smelly and low on privacy. It’s not the high life whatsoever. So be prepared that it is not like checking into the Ritz Carlton. But with the right roommate, dorm life doesn’t have to be bad. You’re going to spend a lot of time in this little place, especially when you’re hitting the books, so figure out ways to make the best of it.

Be sure to stock up on some of those home comforts. Whether that means bringing your favorite foods, video games or posters, do what you can. The goal is to transform the spot from an empty room with a bed into a place that is your own.

2. Hit the Books

This should be obvious, but you gotta get the grades. Meeting new friends and finding out about new ways of living are great, but you need to pass your classes to stay.

Go to the library to get out of your dorm room and join some study groups. Another important tip is to always buy the book. It’s tempting to pocket the money for other uses, but it’s not worth it. You need to read the book and do your homework. The same goes for skipping class. Everybody misses one or two, but if you’re not showing up regularly, you’re throwing away money. And there’s only so many times you can call someone begging for notes, so keep that in mind.

3. Stay Fresh

College is more than reading and doing reports, though. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get a 4.0. If your program is grueling to the point that you can’t take a single night off a week, you’re doing it wrong. So, go out. Check out some events. Meet people. You’ll never be this young again.

Of course, you can’t leave your dorm looking like a bummy college kid. You gotta look good. Before you show up on campus, get yourself a new jacket, some modern jeans, a couple sleek hats and clean kicks. For example, CCS has all the low-profile skate shoes you need to fit in around campus.

4. Prepare for Real Life

While book learning is fundamental to personal growth, you should treat your college years as an investment into your future.

In your first year or two, it’s OK to feel it out and try to find your lane. But the deeper you get into the program, the more you need to think about life after school. You’re there to obtain the skills necessary to make it in the real world and earn a good living in a fulfilling career, so don’t wait until after graduation to start taking steps to build up your resume.

Find campus activities that blend with your ambitions. Apply for an internship (or two, three or four). Grades and tests are important, but stepping into a real office or job site teaches you more about a future career path. Take advantage of it all while you can because after you graduate, you’re going to learn (and quickly) that getting a job you love will be harder than any exam.