Monday, July 10, 2017

Tips for Incoming Freshmen

A lot of freshman tips center around move in and what to pack. What many people tend to neglect is giving advice once you're in school. Here are some tips I have for more academic related topics.

Textbooks:
My process for the past three semesters in regards to getting textbooks has remained the same. I go to my college's bookstore website and plug in the classes I'm taking. They create a list of what textbooks are required for each class and give you the rates they charge for the books. I pull up a Google Doc, then copy and paste the textbook info (make sure to get the ISBN #), and record how much the school would charge. Next, I go to Chegg and plug in those ISBN numbers to see if Chegg is offering rentals cheaper than what my University offers. It honestly just depends on the textbooks if it's cheaper or not. For example, last spring I got 1 book from Amazon and the rest from Chegg because they were significantly cheaper than on my school's website. This fall, though, all of my rentals are around $9-$12 on my University's website and significantly more on Chegg (or sites like it). You really just have to do your homework and shop around. You're going to spend a significant chunk of change no matter what you do. 

My textbook plan for this fall
People also always ask "are you really going to use the textbook?" And again it just depends on your class and the teacher. I had some classes that used the textbook for the first 2 weeks and then never touched it again. In hindsight I could have forgone getting the book entirely and just borrowed from a friend. However, I also would rather be safe than sorry and at least have the textbook to lean back on. Then there are other classes like my math class where I had to have the book, we used it every day. 

Getting Involved:
From the moment you step on campus, they will tell you it's important to get involved which is very true. I would recommend not signing up for everything at the student activities fair, even if the person talking to you is super nice. You can definitely sign up for more information, but know that it's okay to say no to certain organizations. Especially at a small school like mine, it's easy to get involved in seemingly everything. Commit your time to what you really like and you'll be happier, too.

School work/Attendance:
This also depends on how big your school is. I've heard plenty of people talk about sitting in the front of the lecture hall (which Drury doesn't have, but most schools do), going to the professor's office hours, etc. These are valid points, take up the professor's opportunities to help you. It's important to establish yourself with your professors, especially if they're in the department of your major. This could be difficult depending on your school size. At Drury the professors actually know who you are, even the ones who aren't in your department. Be active in participation at class and this will help you establish those working relationships.

It's funny because if someone doesn't come to class the professor will say, "oh where is (x)" and students will respond "well we saw them at the Commons earlier," (the commons is our cafeteria), or "they were in my class earlier today." If you aren't in class it's very obvious.

Even if you're at a larger school, I would still recommend going to class. I don't understand how you can pay thousands of dollars for classes that you don't bother to go to. I get missing a class or two, but if you are absent more than you're present, I feel like you should reevaluate. 

Those are just a few of my tips for having a successful school year. The first two weeks after move in are really when you establish your routine and figure out what works best. After that you'll be good to go and ready to take on the rest of your freshman year.

If you have any questions, feel free to message me on Facebook and I'll do my best to help :)

Until next time,
Taylor xx

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