- Know your way around campus
Becoming acquainted with the campus you live, work, and attend classes in is probably the most important asset you can have in your back pocket. Not only does it help in knowing where to find your classes, but it also makes planning your day a little bit easier. Knowing what dining halls are nearby, if you can stop by the financial aid office on your way back from class, or if you can walk with a friend from ERC to Revelle makes campus life so much easier. So, maybe set a day to simply walk around and make notes of where significant things are.
- Plan ahead
If you haven’t noticed, there are a LOT of people on campus. So, that means planning ahead and allowing extra time if you plan on ordering from the dining halls, buying groceries, or making a target run. This advice also applies to you rising sophomores out there. I know we all got used to 10-minute waiting times at OceanView Terrace, but now it’s different, and we simply have to adapt.
- Use your dining dollars
USE YOUR DINING DOLLARS! Do NOT buy anything with your own money when you could easily buy it from the market. Trust me, you’re gonna wish you had used them all year when it’s June 6 and you still have $500 worth of dining dollars.
- Use your student perks
As a college student, you are granted a lot of perks. For example, Spotify Premium and Hulu are only $5 a month instead of the usual $10. Use your student discounts at the local San Diego wildlife exhibits and museums. Embrace all the things that make being a college student tolerable.
- Find your space on campus
Especially if you’re living with a roommate, finding your space on campus is crucial to your sanity. Finding a nice quiet and beautiful place on this huge campus can give you the time to be alone, process the day, and simply enjoy life without the need of others’ company.
- Choose a day to do your laundry/chores
Finally being on your own is genuinely thrilling and exciting, but the change does kind of mess with your environment and routines. So, in order to feel the most at home, I highly suggest choosing a day to do all the regular chores you would usually do at home. Pick a day when you know you won’t be stressed with homework, class, or work and do everything you need to do to be a functioning human being. Do your laundry, take out the trash, do the dishes, check your mail. Having these things preplanned will give you the relief you need to know that they will get done. It’s easy!
- It’s okay to go home
Trust me, the last thing you would ever think you would want to do in college is go home. When I was a freshman, it took me almost until Thanksgiving to see my family. But what I realized is that while you are staying in San Diego, you still have roots in your hometown. It’s totally okay to feel homesick or simply just want to go home and see your dog! In fact, I encourage it. Whenever school or life is getting a little too stressful, plan a trip home and get away from it for a while. Think of it as a vacation: a time to re-ground yourself, or a time where you can remember how grateful you are to be away from home.
- Save your money!
Especially if you don’t have a job just yet, saving your money is vital. Instead of going out for fast food every night, why not use some of those dining dollars that never seem to go away? Insead of running to Westfield UTC for a new wardrobe, why not head to Pacific Beach (PB) and thrift your heart out? Believe me, your money goes fast in college so it’s always a great idea to keep your finances in mind when deciding what to do and when to do it.
- Explore San Diego
While UCSD is a GINORMOUS campus, there is still so much to do in San Diego. Head down to La Jolla Shores and spend the day at the beach. Head into PB for some shopping. Go downtown for concerts and clubs. Head to Mission Bayand Belmont Park for some summer-like fun, or have a picnic at Kate Sessions with spectacular views. The city is your campus!
- Have fun
At the end of the day, college is more than your education and work. It’s about making connections — important connections — that will carry you through life emotionally, academically, professionally, and socially. Take chances. Say yes to (most) every event, party, hike, day trip, or concert. You won’t remember your days in the lecture halls or in the office, but rather those enjoyable moments where you think, wow, I’ve finally made it to college.
Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash