By Tyler McNeil
Changing campuses is like moving in a new neighborhood; passing by strangers is normal, it can take going broke to discover affordable dining and you might end up on your way out once you manage to learn your way in.
New beginnings invite old habits to get in the way of success. Thinking ahead is crucial while looking ahead at the next step furthering your education. As students across the Northeast look to transfer away from home for the spring semester, it’s important to prepare for every obstacle ahead, from nutrition to safety.
Learn your department
Knowing what classes are like is helpful before you enter the classroom. Although it’s hard to determine your schedule in the midst of transferring, it’s important to know who you could be dealing with before you inhabit a new campus.
Check out RateMyProfesors.com to see how other students have judged faculty members at your future college. Browsing through comments provides a better understanding of what teaching styles exist ahead in the classroom.
Faculty information can be easily accessed on a college’s directory. Ask multiple professors with courses required in your program to send you a syllabus through email. Developing a positive relationship with faculty early is a great way to get your name out there for opportunities awaiting such as internships.
Make a budget
Moving to a new college comes with a price. The transition from a two-year to four-year college tuition bill may seem outrageous. Starting a budget plan before transferring makes it easier to adapt to incoming financial restraints.
Type out a daily budget plan for the next day every night at a standard time to get into a routine. This should take as much as ten minutes. In the plan, it’s important to categorize expenses such as food, gas and insurance. Sometimes setting reasonable daily limits can seem challenging, but worthwhile.
One to two weeks after becoming familiar with daily expenses, set a separate plan for weekly, monthly and semesterly expenses. Exceeding or falling behind spending allowances helps to determine where to allocate expenses in the future. Not only will budget planning recognize areas of weakness but also identify areas of improvement over time.
Know the community
College brochures will market vibrant green quads with diverse, smiling students draped in college attire. They might emphasize the words “opportunity” and “experience” in sharp, bold font. But, will they show decrepit, struggling neighborhoods surrounding some of these campuses? Of course not.
Don’t avoid the opportunity to visit the college of your dreams because it rests around the community of your nightmares but, stay wary of the local economy before heading to a new campus.
It’s important to not only visit the campus but look outside the campus. Make an effort to look a crime statistics near the college to have a general understanding of where to avoid.
Develop a healthy, affordable diet plan
It may not help you sleep at night, but a 2008 study by the University of Alberta found that students who consumed a balanced diet (fruit, vegetables, protein and fiber, with less calorie intake from fat) did better on literacy tests than students with diets high in sodium and saturated fat.
Buying healthier foods such as nuts and legumes in bulk saves money and can improve alertness. Phytonutrients and antioxidants, which improve blood flow can be found in berries and grapes without having to splurge.
Instead of buying sandwiches from Subway, buy the ingredients from a local grocery store during the holiday season. Remember, when purchasing bread, gravitate towards whole grain breads have been found to improve memory function.
Leaving campus doesn’t always mean leaving everything behind. Campus clubs are always in need of new recruits, regardless of their matriculation stage. Getting to know a campus organization before having direct involvement makes fitting in more comfortable.
Although club officer information is difficult to access due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, receiving advisor contact information is readily accessible through the college. Contacting club advisors is a great way to catch up with a student organization’s recent objectives and develop a better understanding for its mission.
Outside of the college site, many clubs have contact information listed on Facebook groups and event pages. It’s important to scout out independent web domains for student governments, campus media and other independently operated organizations. These sites provide a better understanding for how a campus organization operates and other, more exclusive information.
Fill up, the right way
Get in the routine of filling reusable mugs with tap water. According to National Geographic, bottled water is not healthier than tap water. Not only is tap water more rigorously regulated than bottled water in the United States, but reused plastic bottles can come with contamination threats from carcinogens and hormone distributors.
Limiting your caffeine intake also saves money and is friendly towards your health. According to the Mayo Clinic, no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine should be consumed on a daily basis. Drinking over four cups of fresh brewed coffee can cause side effects ranging from insomnia to muscle tremors.
If you’re over 21, start limiting bar trips as much as possible. Excessive bar tabs are not only a budgetary nightmare, but can also interfere with an adequate sleep schedule.
Stay fit without falling flat
Prioritize fitness around academics instead of academics around fitness. The two most execrable decisions a full-time student can make with personal fitness are: getting rid of exercise or crunching crunches between study-time.
Incorporating fitness into daily tasks like avoiding elevators and walking to classes across campus makes it easier to stay in shape throughout the day. This can start on and off campus.
Getting up early provides an open window of time to study and work out before heading out prepared for an 8 a.m. class. For transfer students, try getting up earlier, even over the holiday season to go for a quick run. Regardless of any unbearable schedule, any exercise is more beneficial than falling into sedentary lifestyle.