top of page

Micah's Declassified College Survival Guide

Moving on to university life? Whether you are finishing high school, an online bachelor's program, or like myself, an associate's program at a community college, we all need guidance for our next step. With impending pressure from moving to a new place and away from family, what better time than now to get prepared?

As mentioned, I have not entered university, either. I am in the same boat as you -- low on the information of the high tide ahead. However, I do have lots of great peers who seem to know what they are talking about, which comes in handy for this very situation. Time to get you and myself ready to move on to our universities.

How Do I Thrive in College?

The transition will be rough. Absolutely. It is inevitable. However, there are many tips for maintaining your life during your time in college. Through discussion with my friends in university, we concluded there are six which are the most important.

6. Go To Class

I know, I know. It is not the most popular tip, but it is vital for becoming a great student. It becomes vital to go to class right off the bat to build relationships with your instructors and fellow students.

Going to class is important because a professor will begin to recognize a student and recognize their efforts to make a commitment to the class. - Sam Speir, University of Southern Indiana Student

Just like in high school, you must attend to understand. In college, just knowing the information may not be enough. Making the relationships and participating in discussion is what is going to get you over the hump.

5. Allow Technology to Help You

Read that again. ALLOW Technology to help you. Do NOT make technology do your work for you. In an always-changing world with programs such as ChatGPT, it is easy to take the easy road and have the internet and these types of programs to do your academic work. However, learning is difficult if you allow this to occur, plus it may not give you the grade you want (SEE: ChatGPT Earns an"F.").

With this being said, our technology is improving every day. There are several tools at your fingertips for anything from notetaking to learning a new language. A few of these tools are:

Of course, there are so many more! Use them to your advantage!

4. Keep an Open Mindset

Seems fairly simple, right? Not exactly. With new forms of instructor evaluation and the rise of social media, it only takes a few clicks to find out how other students view a professor. While these evaluations may have validity to them, it is important to keep an open mindset. Apart from the classes you will be taking, there will be a new experience to keep an open mind to.

You are going to be experiencing many new things which you haven't before. In order to embrace these changes with stride you need to have an open mindset. - Lauren Luker, Purdue University Student

This concept may be difficult for some, while for others it will be a walk in the park. Worrying about how difficult this part of the transition will hurt more than it will help. Keeping an open mindset allows for not only better mental health but also better relationships with your peers and instructors.

3. Become Organized

It was frustrating putting in this tip. Why? Well, Because it is something I struggle with! However, I know it is important to keep myself in line and stay true to my commitments.

It's important to be mindful of your schedule and commitments and make sure you're staying on top of what you need to get done. - Aaron Brown, McKendree University Student

As you would assume, there are ways to better organize yourself and your room. However, it may be easier than you think. It could be as simple as using a planner.

Putting things down on paper is over half the battle, and you are more likely to complete the assignment or attend the event. - Max Zimmerman, Iowa State University Student

Staying organized is another situation where you should use technology to your advantage.

2. Get Involved/Find Your Group

Leaving home is hard. We have to leave our family, our room, and the friends we have made over several years. It is called a new beginning for a reason, and it is important to find a new group at your university.

Be involved! It can get lonely or stressful if you do not have a way to go out and decompress. - Molly Swardstrom, Austin Peay State University Student

There are clubs on every campus! On the University of Texas-Austin campus, there are a whopping 1,683 clubs registered on campus! That sounds like a lot of fraternities and sororities, right? Wrong! There is so much more to clubs on campus than Greek life!

When people say [finding a community at university], people mainly think of joining a fraternity, but there are many more communities around a university that you can oftentimes meet life-long friends at. - Branton Beard, Southeastern Missouri State Student

Find your university family! It may be the most important decision of your college career!

1. Enjoy The Present

Don't get bogged down with worry about what is due well into the future or what has happened in the past. No student is perfect! You will have "off" days and you will have "on" days! One bad grade does not define you. The now is all that matters, so you might as well enjoy it!

P.S. Enjoy the present, but also don't procrastinate on assignments!

P.P.S. The previous statement was contradictory to my situation whilst writing this blog.

What Should I Bring To College?

Great question! I posed this question to my peers already at university. However, I did include my own spin on the category with what I would personally suggest. Of course, there are necessities like bed sheets, but then there are these items which you may forget about.

Storage/Moving Bags

From the day you move in to the day you move out for the year, these will be helpful. They allow for easy storage under your bed and double as bags for everyday use.

Any storage/moving bag would work in most cases, but I enjoy and have several of these IKEA bags.

Surge Protector Power Strip

Most universities, to prevent fires, will have surge protectors as a necessity. For those universities that do not require it, I would say it is a really good idea to still get one for your dorm.

Really, any surge protector could work here, but I have found good value in the Anker brand.

Mattress Topper

Who doesn't love being comfortable? Some mattresses at university are not the softest, but you can change that simply with this topper. It is on the pricy side, though.

First Aid Kit

I believe this one is pretty self-explanatory. We as humans, especially students, make mistakes. We are going to fall down that flight of stairs...and that is okay! I suggest the Johnson & Johnson for this item, but any first aid kit that suits your needs should work!

At least for me, I am always getting hurt, so I need the first aid kit. - Zoe Barnes, University of Illinois Student

Brita Pitcher

Unfortunately, most colleges run into the same problem: the water tastes chlorinated. Thankfully, there is a way to solve the problem so you don't feel you are back to being 10 years old and drinking pool water.

(Not on purpose, but we all did it, admit it)

Portable Charger

"Another Anker product?! Is he obsessed with this company or something?" Yes, mind yo business.

Some days classes may go long, so it is a good idea to have a portable charger available for those days which just go WAY too long and you just want to play Retro Bowl all day between classes.

Bed Rest Pillow

As I said earlier, who doesn't like being comfortable? With regular pillows, you are not able to sit up to work on your laptop in bed easily. With this pillow, you can work on papers, do math, write blog posts, and a college favorite, eat ramen.

Noise-Canceling Headphones/Earbuds

I promise you, not everybody wants to hear your "Young Sheldon" clips on your TikTok For You Page. It may be entertaining to you, but Iain Armitage's voice might just be the reason your roommate and neighbor use their black belt skills on you.

(Real Scenario; Both my roommate and neighbor for next year are black belts!)

Before you ask, yes, Soundcore is owned by Anker. Sue me.

Command Strips/Hooks

Let's act like this one isn't a no-brainer. Command Hooks and Strips are important to make your room POP. Hanging posters and pictures is one of the most fun tasks of the beginning of the academic year. Besides, no one wants just plain walls! Spice it up!

Basic Tool Kit

On the right, you see the basic tool kit I suggest. Looks like a lot of tools that would not help a dorm room situation, correct? That's what you (and me) think! I personally had not pointed this out as a necessity for a dorm room, but you know what? You can never go wrong with basic tools! They may come in handy elsewhere on campus!

The guy on campus that has a basic tool kit becomes one of the most known individuals as nobody thinks about bringing basic tools for any small issue! - Branton Beard, Southeast Missouri State Student

Apart from the aforementioned products, it is always a good ideas to regularly check UniDays for a slew of great deals for college students. All you have to have is have a college ID!

What Should I NOT Bring To College?

In order to truly organize, you don't want to have too much baggage.

Baggage noun 1. Personal belongings packed in suitcases for traveling. 2. Past experience or long-held ideas regarded as burdens.

Baggage is both physical and mental. It's always important to not carry too much of either.

Extra School Supplies

For some, holding onto a pencil for a week is difficult (Me). However, as mentioned earlier, technology is improving every day and creating a new school day for all college students.

You don't really need binders and a lot of notebooks to write because you an use your computer or iPad. - Mallory Burton, University of Southern Indiana Student

This is not to be interpreted that you do not need to bring school supplies, just you may not need as much as you might think.

Extra Clothes

I have heard this one over and over again and you may have too. DO NOT BRING TOO MANY CLOTHES! Especially, T-shirts. It is understandable to have around ten outfits outside of your nice clothes, but not much further. Your first week on campus will more than likely be full of T-shirt giveaways, and as your semester drags on, your extra clothes will be collecting dust.

Current Life

Okay, the title may be a little dramatic. However, it is a new beginning for you, with people with little to no prior knowledge on you.

Being at university is a very big jump from being at home and is a completely different scene...It allows you to be a new person and have a new beginning. - Jarrett West, Southern Illinois University: Carbondale Student

If you need a new beginning, here it is. I would suggest not to change yourself, though, for that may not go the way you hope.


Well, it's that time. Congratulations, Graduate. It is time to move on to bigger and better things. Whether you are coming to university from high school, community college, or elsewhere, welcome to your new journey. Explore your new world, keep up the good work, and always remember:

You are enough. - Micah Henson, Future Western Kentucky University Student



How will you get involved?


Log In to Connect With Members
View and follow other members, leave comments & more.
bottom of page