Dear Prospective College Student,
For me, the biggest adjustment for college was learning to manage my time and study on my own. When classes started, I realized how much free time I had. Instead of being in class 8 hours a day, I was in class about 5 hours a day (not including labs). In high school I could learn all the material just by attending and participating in class, but I now had to take the time to practice on my own and visit my professor or TA outside of class. This, coupled with the fact that I was living in the dorms, made it difficult to manage my time.
I would definitely recommend going to office hours to get to know both your professor and TA. Although the big lecture halls can be intimidating, your professor really shouldn't be. You can gain a lot of valuable insight and clarification by going. So far, all of my professors have been helpful and many of them took the time to learn my name when I was an office hour regular.
Living in the dorms was very liberating. I could eat and sleep when I wanted without having to worry about my parents telling me to go to sleep earlier or to eat on a schedule (both of which are actually pretty important). I was lucky to have two roommates that I got along very well with. Although we didn't become best friends, I think it was for the better because we could come and go as we pleased and never had any arguments.
Something important that I realized about living with other people is that communication is key. A recurring situation on my floor involved resentment between roommates that would build up and lead to unnecessary arguments. The resentment was mostly because of little things such as their roommate playing music too loud or not using their desk lamp when their roommate went to sleep. Most of the time, it wasn't because the roommate was a jerk, it was because she didn't realize what she was doing bothered her roommate. What my roommates and I did to be more courteous and thoughtful than necessary by asking permission for any small thing.
The solution that my roommates and I came up with was to ask for permission before doing anything that might affect each other. That way we gave one another a chance to speak up if we were too shy to bring up an issue otherwise.
Also! Remember to eat!
Feel free to e-mail me any questions you have about UCB or college in general :)
PRO TIP: Don't buy anything for your dorm except sheets until you get there! I never ended up using about 3/4 of the things I bought at Bed, Bath and Beyond and Ikea for my dorm. Bring some necessities from home, but wait until you've lived in the dorm for a week to realize what you need. Then make a list and head to Target over the weekend or something.