Tech Tips

Insider Tips for Navigating College

This article was written by Shawn Cavaleri, a sophomore at Penn State. 

Going to college can be scary, and not knowing the way things work around school is tough. I recently completed my freshman year at Penn State and here are three things I wish I’d known a year ago to help make my transition into college easier:

Don’t Overpack

Everyone thinks they need to bring absolutely everything they own with them to college. Unfortunately, most freshman dorm rooms are very small to begin with- and you only get half of it! I made this mistake last year when I moved in. I brought so much stuff that I wasn’t able to store it all and could barely walk around in my room because everything was all over the place.

Luckily for me, there were storage units in my building that I could keep my things in during the year. It’s best to just stick to the basics- clean sheets, clothes, toiletries, a fan (a lot rooms, especially in the northeast are not air conditioned), and a laptop are all you really need. Anything else you can pick up while you’re at school.

If you don’t have storage units in your building, try rotating seasonal things like clothes when you go home so your shorts and t-shirts aren’t taking up additional closet space in the middle of winter. You can also use the printers at the library instead of bringing your own. This will free up valuable desk space in your room!

Do work outside of your dorm room

Studying in your dorm can provide so many distractions. Whether it’s the TV being on, your roommate wanting to hang out or the brand new PlayStation 4 your Mom just bought you, there are a ton of things that can draw your attention away from your schoolwork. Try and keep the mindset that the library, computer lab or study lounge is for working and the dorm is for relaxing, and you’ll have a much easier time getting work done.

Use Technology Wisely

Think about the different electronics you bring with you to college and look for ways to double up on functionality. For example, many gaming consoles can also play DVD’s, so there’s no need to bring a DVD player and clutter up your room. Your cellphone can also double as your alarm clock, calendar and GPS with the right apps so you can leave those things at home. Finally, consider using your laptop to play music instead of a separate speaker system- it uses way less room and still produces a good quality sound.

Doing these few small things will make your transition from home to school much simpler and help you have a blast along the way.