I love college!

Newsflash, ladies: it’s almost midterms. Everyone knows that the first few months of class are your one chance to make the best impression you can with classmates, professors, deans, dorm mates, basically everyone on campus. Here’s your checklist of 15 things every freshman should make sure to do before your first semester ends!

Go to class. This might seem blatantly obvious, but every semester I see it happen: there’s that one freshman girl who parties every night and naps all day, and who come second semester, has dropped out. Don’t be that girl. Go to class, sit in the front, actively participate, take notes, and study. Come Friday night, you won’t feel guilty about those two chapters of reading you left unfinished.

Socialize, socialize, socialize. If you stuck to the same small circle of friends in high school, this is your time to be a social butterfly! Join clubs, compete in your dorm hall’s floor wars or on your intramural broomball team, tailgate to football games, join in at ugly sweater holiday parties and keep your dorm room door open. Everyone is making friends their first semester and it’s important that you do the same!

Get to know your professors. It’s never too late to start networking so make a habit of visiting your professor’s office hours. And chances are likely that you’ll need a professor as a recommendation for a future job or internship.

Meet with a career advisor. Take advantage of your on-campus career center. They can provide interview practice, resume and cover letter advice, and point you in the right direction to internships.

Learn to manage your time. You have classes, exercising, socializing, and extra curriculars. You might even have an internship or a part-time job. So take the time to effectively organize your time.

Make friends with someone in class. Or better yet, take class with a friend. It makes things much easier and you can always borrow notes from them when you catch the flu.

Rethink your weekends.
If you’re a freshman, it’s inevitable that you’re going to want to experience the party scene. But if you find yourself with a hangover every day of the weekend, that’s not the healthiest thing. Try to seeing a movie, reading a book, going mini-golfing, hiking, or having a do-it-yourself mani-pedi with your best friends.

Apply for an on-campus job. Your pizza fund isn’t going to last forever and come next semester, you’ll be buying a new stack of textbooks. Having an on-campus job is a great resume builder to employers and allows you to make some cash while you’re in school.

Call home. You shouldn’t be embarrassed about feeling homesick. Make sure Mom and Dad visit campus for Parents Weekend. They’ll spoil you by taking you and your friends out to dinner and helping out as much as they can. It’s the perfect opportunity to take a break from your crazy college life to go shopping and stock up on anything you need. Also, care packages are the best.

Avoid gorging in the dining hall. Avoid the dreaded freshmen 15 and learn portion control. At the dining hall, reach for foods like whole wheat bread and veggies and try to stay away from the gloppy trays of mac and cheese, and waffles smothered in maple syrup.

Enroll in fun classes. As a freshman in college with a ton of general education requirements to fill, think of those gen-eds not as boring fill-ins in your schedule… think of them as your ticket to fun! In college, you have a lot more freedom to choose which electives and classes you want to take. So, instead of sitting bored at an 8 a.m. lecture with a hundred other freshmen,you could be learning about pop culture, aerial dancing or even scuba diving (yes, they have that at some school)!

Work out at the rec center. Stay fit and scope out the hotties! A lot of colleges offer group fitness classes like zumba or yoga and outdoor adventure trips like rafting or rock climbing.

Find yourself a study cave. It might be your downtown café or that little-known corner of the library, but it’s not too late to scope out a quiet place where you’ll do your studying. And when you get there, turn off the gadgets. This will be your safe haven come finals week.

Read your school newspaper.
Most likely, you’ve seen the mounds of papers stacked in academic buildings around campus. Make a point of picking one up and reading it. It’s good to be informed about the happenings around campus rather than relying on (unreliable) hearsay. This will especially come in handy when there’s a flu outbreak.

Partake in school traditions. Some colleges have the wackiest traditions, but that’s part of the fun of college and who wants to be left out?

♥AUTHOR: ALEXANDRA CHURCHILL