10 Tips to Start the Fall Semester Strong

By Shane McAdams

With the 2018-2019 school year coming to a close, some students have their eyes set on graduation. While a selection of students will be graduating, many will return in the fall of 2019.

While there will be many returning students, there will also be many new faces on campus in the fall. Students will be unpacking their belongings and preparing for the year ahead at QU.

For many students the new semester is a fresh start. Each semester and school year brings new challenges for students. For freshmen, it’s gaining your bearings on campus and getting acquainted with how things work on campus.

For some students, it’s the first time they have been away from home for substantial amount of time in their lives. For other students, it’s the first time sharing a room with another person. For college students across the country, college is a time of learning and self exploration.

While classroom learning in college is what gets you to graduation. Lessons learned outside of the class can be just as or more important, and lessons learned the hard way are even more valuable.

With that in mind, I set out to find the best tips, tricks, and advice from current and past students. Information not only to help incoming freshmen but all students to start the new school year off strong, no matter what year you are.

1) Less is more

The first important tip happens before you even step foot in your new dorm room. When you pack to move into the dorm rooms, less is more. For freshmen this is especially important. As a freshmen, you are moving your life into a very small space as well as having to share that space with another person and their belongings. Space is a premium, so leaving non-essential items that you may or may not need at home is always advised.

2) Make it home

For almost 10 months students call their dorm rooms home. One important thing to do is make it feel as much like home as possible. This means decorating. For many male students popular decorating items include; posters, flags, and TV’s. For female students on campus some popular items include; tapestries, paintings or art, and pictures. Its all about making your room feel more like home.

Student Morgan Tucker has her room decked out with tapestries, lights, fuzzy pillows, and a fury friend.

3) Command strip everything

Decorating a dorm room is crucial to any college experience. However, if you poke holes and damage the walls you can get fined by the school. One of the best ways to decorate your room without damaging walls is Command Strips. Command Strips have dozens of products and ways to use them. Adhesive strips for posters, velcro for flags, or hooks for hats and other items. Command Strips are perfect for sticking just about anything to your walls without poking holes in the wall or messing with tape.

Command Strips with hooks attached are perfect for holding lights.

4) Lights

While florescent lights are great for lighting a classroom, they aren’t always the best for lighting a dorm room. While the lights in every dorm room on campus will get the job done, they leave much to be desired and improved on.

One common room upgrade is additional lighting. Some of the common styles are plug in LED Christmas style lights and adhesive LED light strips. These lights come in many different varieties. They also have a variety of uses. From not waking up your sleeping roommate with bright florescent lights, reducing eye strain, or just hanging out in your room. Some lights even come with remote controls to change colors and settings .

LED lights in Brendon Estradas room in SLC

5) Meals

If you put good in, you get good out. That’s what many students had to say about eating on campus. Eating healthy on campus may seem like a battle at times, but there many ways that students can eat healthy on campus. one of the easiest ways to eat healthy on campus is to utilize everything in the cafeteria. One of the best and healthiest things in the cafeteria is the salad bar area. There is always an abundance of fresh fruit, vegetables, yogurts, and other healthy items for students to choose from.

“One of my favorite healthy things to eat in the caf is probably a bowl of fruit, with yogurt and granola on top. There is always different fruit and yogurt combinations and its like a nice dessert,” Blake Sprecher, junior, said.

6) To-go boxes

Another key thing for students eating on campus is the take home boxes. the majority of students on campus have the all access meal plan. This is the default meal plan for students living in freshmen dorms, Padua, Willer, and Friars. This meal plan means that once a day you have the ability to take a to-go box and fill it with what ever you want from the cafeteria. This is helpful for students looking to get a meal for later in the day.

If you know that you get hungry late at night when the cafeteria is closed, fill up a to-go box before you leave the cafeteria so you have the food after hours.

A green to-go box from the cafeteria.

7) Laundry

For some students, college will be the first time having to do their own laundry. There are several important things to remember when doing laundry on campus.

  • Don’t leave you laundry in the washers. There is a whole building of other people who might need to use the washers.
  • Separate whites from darks and colors that will bleed.
  • Set a timer. This will help you to not forget your clothes in a washer or dryer.
  • Try to get in a routine of doing laundry once a week. It’s just a good habit to start.
  • If you have to move laundry that belongs to someone else to do your own, be respectful. Don’t put their laundry on the floor, leave it in a nice pile on top of the washer or on a counter.

Another helpful hint for the college student, is the kind of detergent you use. While pod style detergent may seem like a more convenient choice, there can be downsides.

“I used to use the Tide pods, but here at school sometimes the pod doesn’t always dissolve. When that happens you end up drying your clothes and finding this weird hard spots on your clothes. It’s the gel part of the pod that didn’t dissolve all the way. I personally think it’s better to buy a big bottle of liquid detergent. It’ll last way longer than a container of pods,” Brendon Estrada, sophomore, said.

8) Beware of procrastination

As college students, almost all of us have been there at one time or another. We forget about an assignment or put it off until all of a sudden it’s due tomorrow. While some college students work well under pressure, sometimes there is no coming back from procrastination. One of the best ways to fight procrastination is using schedules and lists.

Every year during move in there are student planners available to students. Use these planners. By writing down and creating lists of things you need to accomplish, it will be much harder to procrastinate.

9) Online classes

When registering for classes, one option you might see is to take an online class. The decision on whether to take a class online is purely up to each student. However if you decide to take a class online, make sure you stay on top of your online assignments. Because the class is online and you don’t meet with the teacher/class in person on a daily basis; It becomes very easy to forget about deadlines and assignments.

The best way to stay on top of online classes, is to schedule it. Find a space in your schedule during the week where you can sit down and devote your time to that class. Instead of going to class at a set time in person during days of the week. You can devote time to doing class work from the comfort of your own room in your pajamas.

10) Enjoy responsibly

One thing that is nearly universal on college campuses across the country is drinking and partying. While QU doesn’t condone underage drinking, there are several important tips to keep in mind when it comes to drinking in college.

  • Make sure to eat before a night of drinking.
  • Never go alone. Always travel in pairs or groups for safety.
  • Take care of your friends. Making sure everyone makes it back is key.
  • Drink plenty of water. After a night of drinking be sure to drink plenty of water, it will reduce the chances of having a bad hangover.
  • If you’re underage, going to bars is a terrible idea. Quincy Police regularly check all the popular college bars for minors.
  • Don’t walk around with open alcohol containers. You can be fined by police, as well as have your drivers license suspended.

College is a time for learning, self-discovery, and change. However, not every life lesson from college has to be learned the hard way. Every student will make their own discoveries and learn their own way. If you remember these tips, you can start the new semester of fall 2019 on the right foot. For more information on student life and campus activities check out the Quincy University website.

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