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Social Skills for First-Year College Students

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Entering higher education immediately after high school can mean culture shock. While many students have visited colleges and seen what the social scene may look like, many others haven’t begun to think about that part of college life yet. There are many social skills which newbie college kids should hone, and hone quickly, to avoid being an outcast. Here are some basic personal, financial and social skills to think about as you consider college life.

Frugality

As a student you often find yourself eating cereal out of the box and drinking the last of the milk because your money hasn’t stretched the month. Many students struggle financially; it’s a difficult balance when you’re trying to study and your money just isn’t enough.

There are many ways that students can learn to manage their finances effectively, and this can begin before they move into college housing and start their studies.

  • Learn to work to a tight budget. You can be creative with what you have.  Acquaint yourself with the Dollar Store and start price shopping.
  • Reduce your amount of spending money now. This strategy can help you be fiscally responsible when friends want you to go out all the time and hit the bars.
  • List items that are essential to you along with their costs, and then budget for them.

Doing these things can help ensure your money lasts the month and you can still eat well, which in turn helps with concentration for your mountains of studying you have to get through.

Fearlessness

Choosing the right university course plan can be a challenge. It can be difficult to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life, but the choices that you make in college and the program that you decide to follow can greatly influence your future. Fortunately, both career and academic advisers are there to help you make these important decisions. If you haven’t already talked to a career adviser about the path that you want to follow in school and the career that you want to pursue in the future, be bold and ask. Also, introduce yourself to your academic adviser and visit him or her. Again, ask questions about course offerings and dare to experiment with different subject areas.

Organization

Time will be of great importance to you in college. You have to learn to use it well. Start by using a calendar. Make sure you do long term planning. For example, your semester projects should be noted and a few weeks warning to start preparing should also be marked on this calendar. You should also be making a weekly schedule with all tasks noted and time slated for them, making sure the priorities of when and how are noted. Lists and visual maps of how things fit into the weeks and months are good planning

Confidence

Regardless of the fact that we are connected more than ever in today’s modern society, it is becoming increasingly difficult, as time goes by, to maintain a good sense of self-confidence. Lots of friends online is not always enough. Face-to-face interaction, engaging in what you love, helping others all help to build a sense of self and accomplishment. Find a job, volunteer at a nursing home, get out with friends and do something fun. These activities will boost your confidence.

Approachability

Going to a new school, or even starting a new school year, can be daunting. One thing that can help ease this anxiety is being well-prepared for whatever you may be put up against. Adequate preparation can take on many forms. Visit the college you plan to attend. Get to know your roommate and the students in your dorm, look in on various activities offered at the college, and walk around, going into new buildings. Making yourself familiar with the college and the people around you will make you less shy. Also, learn to smile. Make yourself approachable. Ask questions, and don’t wait for people to talk to you.

All attributes listed above intertwine to make up one’s social accountability during the first years of college. Having an approachable persona, financially tightened pockets, good organization, self-confidence, and the ability to fearlessly approach help when offered could easily propel your standing, socially in college.

This post was written by Robert, an academic writer who works for an educational resource devoted to helping college students overcome writer’s block.