How To Start The Academic Year Right. Part II

Ijeoma Nwaogu
How To Start The Academic Year Right: 5 Steps For First Year College Students.

Part II

Here is more straight-forward advice to rest assured that you are preparing yourself for a smooth transition into college. The following 5 suggestions have to do with your interactions with others within the college setting.

#1. Try not to give in to peer pressure.

It’s easy to be influenced by peers, being that one of the most important things a new college student wants is to establish community a.k.a., friendships and a sense of belonging. Be warned: no acquaintance is worth jeopardizing your integrity, values or reputation for. If you get a feeling in your gut that your peers are leading you to bad behaviors, find the courage that lives within you to remove yourself from those situations or politely decline the offer to partake in additional activities with those individuals. Maintaining a positive college experience is more important than appearing “cool” in the eyes of people who are bad influences.

#2. Flee from bad influences and toxic people.

When you notice repeated poor behaviors from your peers, remove yourself from their presence ASAP. You never know the kinds of situations you might get yourself involved in and end up being ‘guilty by association’. As a first-year student, you are likely more vulnerable to the influence of your college peers because you are trying to find your way in college. But always listen to your gut and do the right thing when you sense that something is wrong. Also, stay away from substances you know can harm you.

#3. Don’t party too much.

Media doesn’t help with this matter. It seems like every turn you make, you see portrayals that give you the impression that college is all about partying, drinking and letting loose in the worse ways. Everything in life is about balance. I believe in the “work hard, play hard” idea, but playing hard does not mean you need to engage in irresponsible behaviors that have huge consequences. Take care of your body. Take care of your mind. They are your most valuable assets to survive college life.

#4. Take roommate agreement contracts seriously.

If you plan on living with a roommate, you will likely go through a roommate agreement meeting if you live on-campus. During this meeting, your resident assistant will encourage you to reach an agreement with your roommate about how you all will live in a space together. Upon entering college, you will likely desire to remain on good terms with your roommate and might view the roommate contract as an unnecessary endeavor. But trust me! Once you start living in that space, boy oh boy will you wish you and your roommate came to an understanding and set rules that guide agreed-upon behaviors to avoid conflict, discomfort and other ill-feelings. Even if you don’t live on-campus, you should have a meeting with your roommate(s) to lay down mutual expectations for living behaviors.

#5. Ask for help.

College is full of peers and professionals that are prepared and positioned to help you. There is nothing wrong with asking for help but there will be greater problems if you don’t seek assistance from others when you need it. College life can be extremely mind-boggling and difficult, so it is strongly expected for you to seek guidance and support that you’ve already paid for with your tuition dollars. You will need others to talk to and help you solve problems. Being in solitude is good to regain energy on a regular basis, but never isolate yourself. Know that the hardships you’ll experience are not unique to you. It is normal for college students to feel confused, lonely and hopeless at some points during the college journey. Seek the help of your roommate, resident assistant, peer advisor, professor, college counselor or student life advisor. Call home if you need moral support. Just don’t do life alone.

Overall, keep these 5 actions in memory and actually put them to practice. By doing so, you set yourself up for nothing short of success.

What other tips have others shared with you about starting the school year on the right foot? Help each other out and offer your insights below.

Wishing you a safe, happy and positive start to a brand-new school year!


Dr. IJ (Ijeoma Nwaogu, Ph.D) is the #1 College Life Coach and host of the YouTube Show, College Life on Fleek. Having served as an advisor, counselor and educator in college and university contexts, Dr. IJ is passionate about college student development. She enjoys coaching students who wish to maximize their potential and live thriving lives during their time in college and thereafter.

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