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inhale the future - new school year, new opportunities

As a soon-to-be first-year student may tell you – they've been primed for the “best years of their life" once they arrive on a college campus. Maybe their "senior summer" has been a mix of goodbyes and good times with friends and family. Breathing in the relief of knowing where they will be in the fall, yet realizing that it may feel a little like the first day of kindergarten, may require pulling out forgotten skills. A fresh start may be precisely what some first-year students need. So much of the college search focuses on finding the best-fit schools to build familiarity and opportunities. Putting into place skills that will help students engage as soon as they arrive at school will help first-year students settle into their new campus home and have a successful transition. Successful college experiences are about what you do while you're there. The polished image of college life may gloss over the steps a student may need to take to help build college success. The transition to college may require a little scaffolding. Having guidance from Michelle Obama's Reach Higher- Better Make Room Student’s Guide to Your First Year of College YouTube series, the University of Michigan Survival Guide 101, and books like "Your Turn" by Julie Lythcott-Haims, can help students prepare for move-in day, their first year at college, and help to smooth out some of the bumps and optimize the first-year college experience. Whether you're a first-year college or high school student, here are a few tips to help you put what you will need for your fresh beginning.


Participate- Raise your hand. Sit in front of your classes. Eat in the cafeteria. Talk to

students and faculty in the elevator, the lobby, or in the halls. Look for friendly faces in

classes - they could be part of your new study group.


Orientation- Sign up for activities that will introduce you to your new campus, town, or



Clubs - Ready to try something new? Sign up early in the semester. Try out one or two

clubs or community service groups. Hesitant? Start with something easy like a Squirrel

club. Figure out which clubs you like. Ask around for suggestions.


Academic Support- Find out if there is academic support on campus. What are the

hours? How does it work? Are services capped? Do they need to be scheduled or on a

first-come, first-served basis? Are services free? Will you need tools to help you stay on

top of assignments and projects? Is it time for a bullet journal or a new app?


Athletics- Were you an athlete in high school? Look for club and intramural teams that

offer flexibility, but provide the challenge level and team spirit you're looking for. Try a

new sport that you didn't have time for. Your interest and ability might be a great fit for

something new. Go to sporting events. Some campuses with team sports offer

discounted tickets for students.


Wellness– Catch a cold? Have a sore throat? Need someone to talk to? Rely on

breaking a sweat to recharge or de-stress? Taking care of “you” is key to being a

successful college student. Knowing what health services are available, the time of

drop-in hours, and the pharmacy's location before you need them will help you handle

any bumps. Take a recreational class or use the Rec Center. Nothing beats stress more

than a good workout.


Show up to classes- Why go to college if you're not going to attend class? Even if you're

stuck with a few 8:00 a.m. classes, go to class. It may mean an earlier bedtime the night before, but the whole point of college is about learning. With each semester or quarter, you'll figure out how to nab a better schedule.


Go to Office Hours– Face-to-face conversations with your professors can expand how

you approach your classes and learning in general. Conversations with your professor

may lead to finding out what brought them to love the subject they're teaching, and their

career path and may even create opportunities for working in that field or help you refine

what you want to major in.


Try new things. Try new things. Try new things. I’ll say it again. Try new things.

Have more questions or looking for more support? Email me at

Looking for tools, resources, and tips as you embark on your college journey? Add A Field Guide for an Inspired College Journey and order today.


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