A teenager's guide to surviving their first day at college

Emily Baulf (17), an editorial assistant at teen magazine, Future Mag and 2nd year student at a large 6th form college
Emily Baulf (17), an editorial assistant at teen magazine, Future Mag and 2nd year student at a large 6th form college
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We’ve been there, don’t panic.

‘My school days were the best days of my life’, mumbles your grandma down the phone every Sunday night, and I bet you never believed her 'til now, right?

Five years with your closest friends, seeing each other change over the years and now finally having the perfect chance to post those back-camera Year 7 selfies on their Facebook timeline …ah, bliss. It’s going to be hard to leave that all behind, we know, and with September looming the thought of starting college is pretty daunting.

Never fear, we’ve been there, we’ve been through it, and it’s not as bad as you think. Here’s a lists of dos and don’ts that you will need for that all-important first week.

DON’T listen to rumours from the upper sixth.

No, nobody died in the sports hall five years ago, and no, the English teacher didn’t get fired because she was a serial killer. Listening to the upper sixth can really spark unnecessary worries. Honestly, you shouldn’t let anyone else shape your opinion of college; it’s all about you - enjoy it!

DO stay organised.

It’s so important to keep organised, because it’s so easy to fall behind. The workload at college is a big step up from GCSE, and you need to make sure that you’re prepared; get down to WHSmith ASAP and blow the budget on folders, notepads, and pens (because you can never have too many pens) and trust us, you’ll feel better. As well as this, unlike school, it’s unlikely that the teacher will hassle you for that incomplete essay that was due 3 weeks ago, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. All it means is that it’s down to you to do the work. After all, you’re the one who will miss out if you don’t get the work done.

DON’T worry about getting lost.

Just like when you came up from primary to secondary school, the campus can seem like a maze, and it’s scary- we know. But remember how quickly you got used to your school map? College is the same, once you’ve been around the campus once or twice you’ll know it like the back of your hand. Plus, if all else fails, you can always ask someone else- they’re probably not as scary as they look, that’s just their face.

DON’T worry about not knowing anyone.

This is probably the biggest fear among students starting college, but you’re all in the same boat. Depending on the size of your college, you might not know anyone else in your classes, but never fear. Your teachers will likely play some ‘fun’ ice-breaker games, and although everyone secretly hates them, they do work, and after the first few days it will be like you’ve known your classmates forever.

DO get involved.

It’s so important to sign up for extra-curricular activities as soon as possible. Firstly, you probably don’t want to be stuck in the Donald Trump appreciation society (if that’s even a thing?), but secondly because it will help you to meet so many new people. Making friends will be so much easier when you connect over something you love. Plus, most colleges have everything from tennis to chess on offer, so you won’t be stuck for choice.

DON’T worry!

College will be scary for the first day, perhaps even for the first hour, but once you’re there and you’ve started talking to people you’ll be fine. Be yourself, and don’t get worked up about it. College is a great experience, and now you can start making use of that student discount.

First published in Future Mag at www.future-mag.co.uk