In less than a month, some of you will permanently leave one school behind as you enter the hallow halls of your next school – whether it’s a new boarding school or university. Before you go you should consider a few things to make the most of the coming year.
Most likely one of the things you’ll be most concerned about is making friends. Will people like you? Will you get to know your teachers? Did you make the right choice? How will you make the most out of this coming year? Here are a few pointers to help you begin to think about the first few days of the daunting experience of starting at a new school.
This is a new school: You are starting fresh; a clean slate so to speak. That means you have the opportunity to make changes unencumbered by old habits. No one knows you and everything is new, so take advantage of that and set some goals.
Set a plan for studying that is reasonable and that you can keep.
Target some specific actions you will take to improve or enhance your grade earning power. Remember your GPA is at 0.0 or, as I like to say, everyone is starting with an A+ in every class. Your job is to work to keep your grades at an A+.
Don’t let old habits reemerge. Commit to your plan, stick to your plan and follow through.
Friends: This is the chance for you to make lots of new friends and have a great set of experiences. Here are some things to do:
At the start of school, keep the door to your room open. It is inviting and students will stop by to say hi. Don’t hide behind a closed door!
Attend social functions held on your floor or in the common room of your dorm, that’s why they are called socials. They may sound silly but the point is they are icebreakers to help students get to know one another.
Be true to yourself but step out a bit. Make an effort to meet your neighbors and other students on your hall or in your dorm.
Get to know your roommate before you go. Most schools now put you in touch with them before you arrive, so do so.
Take your headphones off; they’re very anti-social. People won’t try to talk to you if you have them on all the time.
Roommates: They can end up being your best friend, worst enemy, or just a person you live with. Set some boundaries that you both can follow.
Respect goes both ways. You have to earn respect and so do they. Respect their property and make sure they respect yours.
Make sure that you negotiate what is appropriate and what is not. That goes to music, study times, food, privacy, and behaviors.
Respect their requests but don’t let them take advantage of you.
The Naked Roommateby Harlan Cohen is a great book to read before you leave for school, especially university. You can find it on Amazon.
Take part in activities: But remember that you are at school to study, so don’t overdo it. I recommend joining three different kinds of groups: social, athletic, and academic to learn new skills and enhance your overall experience.
Joining clubs, organizations, or teams (formal or informal) are a great way to meet people and widen your educational experience.
Don’t be afraid to join a sports club or team, even if you’re not “good”. Schools have lots of sports activities: formal sports teams and intramural clubs or classes like yoga, rumba, aerobics, etc. Remember, a wide array of options will lead to different kinds of friends.
If you are attending university, get to know your professors. Ask if you can do a research project or attend office hours to get extra help. Remember that professors not only teach you but can also act as mentors and resources for summer internships, future employment, and letters of recommendation.
These are just a few things to keep in mind before you go off to the wonderful world of university or boarding school. Remember that you are in control of your experience, so make the most out of it. You will be richer for your efforts. But be careful – not everything is going to be good. Don’t do things you are not entirely comfortable with. Even the best schools have people doing stupid and silly things. Don’t do anything you will regret, but don’t regret not doing things. Heading off to a new school will force you to take risks, meet challenges, and grow. Be smart, be savvy, and most of all remember that education happens everywhere, all the time.
Good luck, have fun, and work hard!
Hamilton Gregg is the founder of International Educational Consulting and has worked in education since 1985. He helps students and their families understand their personal and educational needs and find the right school to meet their requirements. If you are a student or parent who would like to ask Gregg a question on our blog, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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