If you are a new college student, you might be feeling a lot of trepidation about how the next four years are going to unfold. There’s certainly a lot to be nervous about. You have academics to think about. You want to develop a great social life. You want to meet new friends and perhaps even go on a few dates. You’ll want to enjoy campus life and get as involved as you possibly can. That’s one challenging task on top of another.

Fortunately, there are 17 ways that you can make sure your college years can be the best.

1. Hack your college experience

As a college student, you are going to face many small aggravations. This could be something as simple as an iffy Wi-Fi connection in your dorm room, the lack of a hotplate, or a laptop case that is a pain to lug around campus. When you run into these problems, try to think like a hacker and come up with some creative solutions.

2. Take part in at least one extracurricular activity each semester

You don’t want to finish your college career without having been an involved student, do you? You don’t need to play a sport or commit to something that takes hours of your time every week, but you can definitely spend a few hours helping paint scenery in the theatre department or making posters for health and wellness week.

3. Avoid overindulging when it comes to food and alcohol

This isn’t a warning about the stereotypical freshman or a lecture on under-age drinking. You are away from home and are now going to rely on yourself to make good decisions on what you consume and how much. Make sure those decisions are healthy overall. You don’t need to abstain completely, but be careful.

4. Build a big social circle, but choose a small group of close friends

Enjoy meeting a lot of people to hang around with, but be careful about who you let into your inner circle. Ideally, these are the people who will be your friend for life.

5. Transform the bodily activity into a practice

Going to college means a lot of changes will happen in your life. Sometimes this is a great time to add new healthy habits like daily exercise.

6. Study daily

Cram sessions and all-nighters are stressful and never as fruitful as you need them to be. Study a little bit each day to stay caught up.

7. Stay safe

Learn a few basic safety rules. Keep your car locked. Be aware of your surroundings. Ask for an escort from campus security. Most of all, follow your gut instincts.

8. Keep in contact with your family and friends at home

Keep feelings of homesickness at bay by keeping in touch with people back home via Skype, social media, or just picking up the phone.

9. Find a solitary pursuit

No matter how busy you are, you’ll always have some downtime. Don’t spend all of that time sleeping or surfing the net.

10. Socialize in ways that make you happy

There’s a lot of pressure in college to socialize by going out to clubs, pubs, and hanging out in large groups. If that’s not your scene, don’t be afraid to find other social outlets.

11. Keep in touch with your adviser

Your adviser is a great resource, not just for things related to your major, but about campus life in general. If you are feeling overwhelmed, they can point you towards getting the help you need.

12. Don’t be afraid to change your major

College is a time of self-discovery. This includes learning where your talents and interests truly lie. If you realize that your major is not a good fit, don’t be afraid to make a change.

13. Seek guidance with your education if you think so

Your student success center has tutors available if you need extra help. You can also take the option of joining a study group. Can’t find a study group? Start one of your own? You can make your life easier using some college life hacks.

14. Get enough sleep

For some reason, college students often believe that going without enough sleep is a bit of a badge of honor. In reality, being sleep deprived naturally makes you a bad learner, and in some cases, a danger to others.

15. Get out and enjoy the city you are In

It doesn’t matter if you are attending school in a small town or a major metropolitan area. Every place has its little gems. So, go out and enjoy the libraries, parks, museums, shops, and even the little tourist traps that are near you.

16. Learn good saving habits

Make an effort to save a bit of money each time you earn a paycheck, receive student aid money, or get money from home. You’ll feel great the first time you can pay for an emergency expense on your own without getting help from your parents.

17. Steer clear of credit card temptation

You’ll receive lots of credit card offers. If you can get by without one, you may be better off. If you do opt to sign up for credit, be sure to make good decisions.

Are you up for achieving optimal performance?

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