John Wesley Honors College

Helpful Tips: Adjusting to College Life

Hello there! You probably have millions of unanswered questions about college life. Don’t worry! You and your peers are all in the same crazy boat. Here are some tips and tricks to help you navigate the seemingly roaring waters of college life like a boss.

Preparation

Lately, you’ve probably been left staring at the contents of your room wondering how on God’s good, green Earth you could possibly fit all of your stuff into the tiny space you will soon call home. It is not a secret that residence hall rooms are a tad cozy. But have no fear! With the help of your parents and the IWU move-in team, you can squeeze that futon, fridge, and statue you’ve been dying to add to your list of decorations into your room. As you continue to stare into the overwhelming abyss of things in your room, think about the things you use on a daily basis. Most likely, if you use something at least three days out of the week, you should probably bring it. Think about when you’re going to get sick and have to take care of yourself and what will help you feel better during those times – you’ll need that stuff too. (That’s right, the nursing majors don’t make house calls when you’re feeling ill!)

At this point, you’ve probably missed something, and that’s okay. One of the most helpful things you can do is download and print out a college life checklist from the internet. Here are some of my favorite ones. (Hint: Make sure you adjust these lists to our dorm requirements; this means no microwaves, mini-fridges within a certain size limit, and no extension cords.) Most importantly don’t forget to bring things that make you feel comfortable, like that super memorable picture of you shoving cake in your face from your first birthday party and that teddy bear you sleep with every night (there is no shame in snuggling with Mr. Cuddlesworth, ladies and gentlemen).

Arrival

You are going to receive a specific time at which you are assigned to move into your dorm. Moving all of that stuff you managed to maneuver into that giant U-Haul may seem like a daunting task, but don’t worry! You will have a professional team of movers to help you carry it up to your third floor room! After you have retrieved your key and excitedly jumped up and down declaring your roommate your new BFF, it is time for the craziness of New Student Orientation (NSO) Week to begin. Prepare now to answer the following three questions: “What’s your name?”; “Where are you from?” (and if you are from Michigan, get that hand ready); and “What are you planning to major in?” (if you are pre-declared feel free to answer with something like basket weaving, martial arts, or wizardry).  After you’ve poured out your heart as you confided you secretly love of Keeping Up with the Kardashians or Sherlock, get ready for a crazy week of IWU awesomeness.  But first you have to say goodbye to those wonderful people that brought you here and helped you along the way all these years. There might be tears. But whatever you do, make sure you say “Thank you” and “I love you,” because those will be the last time you say those words to each other in person for a while, and that moment will have to hold you over until then.

Actually Adjusting

Jon Dunn (JWHC Class of 2014) holds a clock in the old Epworth House. The clock was infamously broken for ages, causing freshmen every year to mismanage their time accidentally.

After NSO ends, the real classes start. You are confronted with intimidating syllabi and living in the real(ish) world. During this time, you will need to remember these three things:

  1. Sleep is necessary for life: Your first few weeks you may decide you are superman and can do anything, but eventually a lack of sleep will catch up with you. If you want your first semester to be pleasant, at least try for six hours a night. Your roommate, peers, and professors will thank you for it.
  2. There is such a thing as being over-involved, and JWHC students are the prime examples of this: Be sure to get connected on campus, but remember God, homework, friends, and sleep are necessary for success as well. Pick a few activities you love (even if that is synchronized swimming) and do them well. And also be sure to find a church (sometimes this can lead to free home cooked dinners, babysitting gigs, and chances to serve).
  3. Grades do not define you: You probably made it through high school like a boss with a little bit of studying and barely cracking open a text book. College is not that way, and inevitably there will be classes you struggle in. Because sleep is necessary for life and getting involved is important, you are not going to get every test question right and ace every paper. But don’t worry because you will still do well and come out with a super cool hat and memories so legendary you will be sharing them as you sit around the table at your flower-clad assisted living.