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It’s that time of year again! I don’t know about any of you, but I am excited to head back to school! I love learning, growing, and living on my own.

Yes, I’ve been told I’m like Hermione Granger (Harry Potter reference). Yes, I love it. No, it’s not weird.

Anywho, I remember my first day of college. I woke up at 5am because I couldn’t sleep and was on campus before the dorms opened for move-in-day at 8am.

I was completely and utterly nervous. Maybe there was a little bit of excitement in there, but it was deep down.

Three days later, when I said goodbye to my family, I thought I wouldn’t last two weeks living six hours away from them. But by the grace of God I fell asleep that night.

Here are ten tips for incoming freshman that I learned during my first year of college:

1. Make a move-in-day checklist

My brother and I. He’s a teenager and “doesn’t like hugs.”

I’ll tell ya, move-in-day was pretty stressful. The one thing that helped me the most was that I made a checklist of everything that needed to be done and gave jobs to my family members so no one was standing around with nothing to do. My dad and brother were in charge of unloading the car and bringing everything upstairs to my dorm as well as putting furniture together. I was in charge of putting things in their place and my mom unpacked them from the designated spot. This make things go quite smoothly.

2. Decide with your roommate who gets which side of the room and which bed, dresser, closet, etc.
This was awesome because my roommate and I knew where we wanted everything to be and the layout of the room. I got to the dorm before my roommate did so it was easy to rearrange to both of our liking and not have to worry about changing it later.

3. Find your “stack”
My pastor told me before I left for school that the one thing that helped him get good grades in college was that he found his “stack”, or space in between the books. This is crucial to getting all of your work done. Once classes began, I found the right place for me to get my work done and not get distracted. Everyday after class I would head straight to the library and sit in between the bookshelves in the back corner where people rarely go. I got so much done and I had my evenings free because of it!

4. Get a planner
I cannot say this enough. Get. A. Planner. Whether it’s electronic or an actual notebook this will help you keep track of everything. There will be a lot thrown at you and your to-do lists will be long. This helps keep everything in one place and it keeps one sane.

5. Don’t bring a TV

My roommate and I. We’re both redheads!

This was one of the best things my roommate and I did. We decided not to bring a TV for our dorm room because we know it would distract us from getting things done. We have our laptops and watch movies on there when we have free time. Plus there’s a TV in each of the lobbies in our hall. Find out where (and if) your dorm hall has TVs so you can enjoy them when you have time.

6. Schedule your day as a work day
Another piece of advice I got before my first year was to schedule my weekdays as workdays from 9am-5pm. This would help you get into the mindset you might need for after you graduate and go into the workplace. If you have an earlier class than 9, like 8am, try scheduling your day from 8am-4pm. If you have sports or extracurriculars, find a good time span that works for you.

7. Pick one day a week to do laundry
If your college is anything like mine, there will be busy days where everyone decides to do their laundry at the same time. If you can, try doing your laundry in the mornings or afternoon while the majority of people are in class.

8. Stick to the Word
Ladies, just because you’re in college does not mean that people are automatically going to be more mature than they were in high school. Stick to your values. Read the Word. Boys will still be inappropriate and girls will still be dramatic. This is a time when everyone is growing, including yourself, so stick to God’s Word and love people during this time of maturing.

My mom and I on move-in-day.

9. Be the new friend you want to have
Everyone is a little nervous when school starts again. You’re not alone. Ask how your roommate is doing or the girls in your hall. Be open about being homesick. It’s a natural thing. If you’re not homesick that’s awesome! Just know that most people will be even if it’s just a little bit. If a new friend is having trouble, try asking to pray with them. It’s a comforting feeling to know that you’re not the only one nervous and it can help create a bond.

10. Spend time with God
This is the most important tip anyone could give you. I know because spending time with God alone was what gave me the strength to take on each day. For my first semester, I read the Word and got down on my knees to pray. God is with you. He won’t leave you. He wants to give you strength. Let Him.

Girls, you are loved and cherished by a wonderful God and He wants to see you blossom into the godly women you are becoming. This new step in life may be a little scary, I know because I was scared, but if I can get through it, so can you all. Have fun on this new adventure!

If y’all have any other helpful tips, please share!

God bless,   M.A.

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