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Survival Tips for the College Bound

By HERWriter
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Wellness related image Photo: Getty Images

As summer comes to an end, many parents are packing up their cars and driving their kids to their freshman year of college.

According to the College Student Journal, "30 to 40 percent college students drop-out before obtaining a degree." The reason for the drop-out rate may be due to academic or social changes.

One of the keys to surviving freshman year is being prepared. Your first few weeks will be a transition and adjustment period. As you experience your new found freedom, it is vital to be prepared and roll with the punches.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if there is a situation where you do not know what to do. Your university has free and valuable resources. And, remember, your situation isn’t new. There are other students who may have been in your situation.

Here are some tips to prepare yourself or your loved one for their freshman year.

Sexual Health:

• According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ʺif you are a female age 26 or younger, get an HPV vaccine to help prevent cervical cancer.ʺ

• Condoms. Condoms. Condoms. Protect yourself against SDTs and ask your partner to wear a condom.

The Freshman 15. Dr. Mallika Marshall, a practicing physician at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Chelsea Urgent Care facility, recommends the following to avoid the ʺfreshman 15ʺ:

• Avoid eating after 6 p.m.

• When you order a pizza, also order a salad. Eat the salad first and save the extra pizza for a later day.

• Don’t use a tray in the cafeteria. Only carry what you can eat. Cafeteria trays invite extras like dessert.

• Eat fruit and vegetables for snacks.

• Avoid junk food.

• Exercise regularly. Try intramural sports at your college. It is also a great way to meet new people.

Other freshman survival tips:

• Before you leave for college, make sure you get all your shots.

• Avoid caffeinated drinks up to eight hours before you go to bed.

• Limit your time on Facebook. Facebook is a great way to waste time to avoid studying.

• At night, do not walk alone. Use the buddy system.

• Invest in mace, pepper spray and a whistle. If possible, attach one of these items to your key ring.

• Important phone numbers. Keep a list of your emergency contact on a written piece of paper in your dorm room. The list should include:

o your parents’ phone numbers (home, work, mobile)

o emergency contact number in case your parents can not be reach (another relative)

o doctor’s phone numbers

o cab service (in case you need an emergency ride home from the library or bars)

o roommate’s phone number

o student health center phone number

o campus security phone number

Your college years will be an experience of a lifetime. You will grow as a person and learn who you are as an individual. You will also develop friendships which will last a lifetime. Enjoy your college days and remember to do things in moderation.

Here are some additional sources which may be valuable for every incoming freshman.

Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network
(800) 656-HOPE or (800) 656-4673

CDC Health Topics (Immunizations, STDs, and more)
(800) CDC-INFO or (800) 232-4636

National Domestic Violence Hotline
(800) 799-SAFE or (800) 799-7233

Mental Health Information Center
(800) 789-2647

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
(800)273-TALK or (800) 273-8255

Drug and Alcohol Abuse
(800) 662-HELP or (800) 662-4357

CDC - Family Health - College Health and Safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved August 17, 2011, from

Healthy Relationships. Center for Young Women's Health. Retrieved August 17, 2011, from

Enochs, W. K., & Roland, C. B. Social adjustment of college freshmen: the importance of gender and living environment | College Student Journal | Find Articles at BNET. Find Articles at BNET | News Articles, Magazine Back Issues & Reference Articles on All Topics. Retrieved August 17, 2011, from

Whitbourne, J. The dropout dilemma: One in four college freshmen drop out. What is going on here? What does it take to stay in? | Careers and Colleges | Find Articles at BNET. Find Articles at BNET | News Articles, Magazine Back Issues & Reference Articles on All Topics. Retrieved August 17, 2011, from

College Tips - Dr. Mallika Marshall. Dr. Mallika Marshall . Retrieved August 17, 2011, from

Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment1 Comments

Thanks for the tips! I'm a junior in college and I found this helpful. Another key thing is: room mates. They can make or break your first semester. Get there information as close to moving in as possible. Make sure there numbers are on hand, especially if you forget your keys in your room or other small emergencies. I probably would not have made it through my first semester with out my room mates. I got very lucky; they were great!
Also make sure you know who your RAs or other such people are if you live in the dorms. (Resident assistants) They are there to help you and are great mediators for when you and room mates can't get along. They can also help direct you to people to get you a new room or room mates when issues can't be resolved.

August 19, 2011 - 9:10pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.