08/17/2012 05:37 pm ET Updated Oct 17, 2012

A How To Guide for College

My freshman year of college was more about learning what not to do than what to do. Hopefully this list can help any student going into their first year who is a little uncertain on what to do/bring.

  1. Pack light. I know it seems like you'll need that 20 degree sleeping bag for that winter camping trip you think MIGHT happen, but in reality you don't. Besides there's always Thanksgiving to bring back forgotten items.
  2. Get on a good sleep schedule and try not to oversleep. Having classes at 11:00 a.m. may seem like a blessing but constantly oversleeping can wreak havoc on your work ethic. Waking up late on the weekdays set my body into thinking it was always the weekend.
  3. Treat school like it's your job. From 9 to 5 you should be doing school work. Right when 5 comes around, close the books and relax. Give yourself the nights to relax and unwind.
  4. Find a hobby. I found that with my new found freedom also came new found boredom. Not having any chores to do (thanks Mom) left me with a lot of free time. Find a sport or a group to employ your free time.
  5. Eat breakfast. I know how cliché that sounds but I can tell you first hand if you skip that meal you will be in for a bad day. This meal sets the pace for the rest of your day. I suggest heavy on the protein and carbohydrates. Protein will keep you full for a lot longer and carbs will give you that pep you need to start your day.
  6. Exercise. You are in your prime, take advantage of it. It's easier to start exercising now than it will be in 10 years. Find a sport or physical activity that you enjoy and you will be surprised how easier it becomes to exercise.
  7. Try out clubs. During the first couple weeks of school, clubs and organizations will be recruiting like crazy. Go to their intro classes and see what interests you. You'd be surprised the things that once seemed crazy now interest you.
  8. If you think you need to take a shower, TAKE A SHOWER.
  9. Get a solid pair of shower shoes, there's no telling what's living on those floors.
  10. Get a nice bathrobe. A lot of times your bathroom will be on another floor and who wants to walk around with a skimpy towel hiding what's underneath.
  11. Do laundry at least once a week.
  12. For the love of god, wear deodorant.
  13. Get a nice pair of sound-isolating headphones. No one wants to hear your music.
  14. Change your sheets at least once a month. You'd be surprised how dirty that thing can get in a short time.
  15. Be open to spontaneous events. If your friends want to get waffles at 2:00 a.m., you get your ass in that car and you chow down. Yes, your sleep schedule might be messed up for a couple of days, but you just made a memory you'll never forget.
  16. If you don't like your major, find a new one. Don't feel pressured into choosing a career early on. You'd be surprised how easy it is to switch. Besides, you only need a degree. Find something that you enjoy doing.
  17. Be open to new people. Depending on where you go to school, you'll be meeting many new people of different races, faiths and creeds. Try to hold back on judging a book by its cover. I surprised myself by making friends with people I thought I had nothing in common with.
  18. DO NOT LOFT YOUR BED. Trying to get up to your bed after a night on the town can be surprisingly daunting. After falling on my head one to many times I would highly not recommend it. Also a lower bed can double as a couch.
  19. Don't buy books from your campus book store, always buy them online. Campus books stores rip you off like you wouldn't believe. Also wait until classes start to buy your books. You'd be surprised how often you don't need a "required" textbook.
  20. Sign up for Amazon Student. It gives you six months of Amazon Prime for free, which gives free two-day shipping on a lot of items.

  21. Assume best intentions. Not everyone is out to get you, try to give them the benefit of doubt.
  22. Bring a pair of dress clothes. Very often your school will have networking nights or job fairs and you want to look your best.
  23. Go to class. Even if you don't read the book you've already conquered half the battle.

  24. If you become depressed, acknowledge it and find help. I went through a serious bout of depression during second semester and let me tell you, people want to help you. Go to your university's health services and I promise you they will get you the help you deserve.
  25. PARTY HARD. Remember the week is for school but when Friday rolls around, put down those books and go wild. Try to party on Friday or Saturday so you can leave yourself plenty of recovery time on Sunday. On that note, DRINK LOTS OF WATER! Before you go out or stay in, leave a water bottle next to the side of your bed to remind you to drink water before you fall asleep.
  26. Dump the girlfriend or boyfriend. Relationships consume tons of your time. You're 18, no need to settle down. Go out, have fun and be safe.
  27. Keep track of your expenses. Try to spend more on experiences rather than things.
  28. Start fresh. College is a great way to reinvent yourself.

CORRECTION: an earlier version of this blog said that Amazon Student was free for six months. It's simply free.