Stomping the Yard

College Survival 101: Do’s & Don’ts

Credit: Shutterstock

Calling all college students!  Our new weekly column, Stomping the Yard, aims to help undergrads excel in their studies and social lives.’s team of experts will show you how to get it done from the day you move into the dorms to the minute you step off campus for that first job. Submit questions and feedback for The Yard via

Three months ago, it seemed like it would never get here.  One minute you were crossing the stage during high school commencement, signing yearbooks, and going to graduation parties. Next thing you know, it seems like your whole life was packed up in a minivan, SUV, and trunk of the car as you and your family joined the caravan of other students making their way to live on campus.

After the hot, sweaty trips to and from the car, a frantic mama Lysol-ing and Clorox-ing every square inch of your room, and the bittersweet goodbyes, its just you, your new life, and the reality that your whole world has completely changed.

Homesickness, anxiety, and boredom is inevitable, but you can make the most of your new surroundings by being mindful of a few do’s and don’ts:


1)   It may seem awkward at first, but have a heart-to-heart with your new roommate. Make sure you are on the same page about noise levels, sleep patterns, having company, and shared appliances. It will save you a ton of headache down the road.

2)   Print out your class schedule and walk  from your dorm to your classes before the first day of class. Find out exactly how far you have to go so that you know how early you have to get up and get out. Get clear on bus schedules in case it’s too far for you to walk during the winter months.

3)   Take advantage of “Welcome Back” activities. It’s an excellent way to meet new people, experience campus amenities, and gain exposure to organizations you might like to join.

4)   Make sure you know the cafeteria schedule. Many campuses have dining halls and smaller satellite cafes for students to eat or grab a snack on the go.  Make sure you compare your class schedule to the cafeteria hours so that you can maximize your meal plan and campus dining dollars.

5) Grab a football schedule and plan to show your school spirit during the games. College game day can be an exciting way to spend a Saturday and will make great memories for your digital scrapbook.


1)   Do not spend your entire food budget the first week of school. While the prospect of having steak and shrimp, nightly for dinner might seem tempting, you have a set budget for campus dining. Don’t blow your meal plan budget too soon or you’ll be stuck waiting 2-3 weeks for another disbursement.

2)   It may seem convenient, but consider bypassing the campus bookstore when shopping for textbooks. Campus bookstores have the highest prices on textbooks, and offer very little during the “buy back/ book return” process. Consider renting textbooks online or checking to see if there is an “b-Book”, another cheaper option.

3)   Don’t drink every beverage that someone hands you at a party. College pranking can be dangerous and lead to social media humiliation. Because you are new to your surroundings, stick to drinks that you’ve purchased or personally prepared.

4)   Don’t use your newfound freedom as a license to get “buck wild.”  Sometimes, students raised in strict environments find themselves drinking, trying, and doing every forbidden thing they can get their hands on.  Consider the consequences because many of those same students find themselves right back home at winter break for good!

5)   Don’t blow your GPA. Despite your high school achievements or disappointments, college is a brand new slate.  A strong academic start will give you some room to breathe down the road as classes become more challenging. It is very difficult to recover from a low GPA.  Commit to a strong start and establish yourself among the academic elite.

College really is a different world. It will challenge you in unimaginable ways, and you will see things that would make your Grandma “clutch the pearls.”  However, college is also a place where you can spread your wings, stand on your own two feet, and be intentional about the person you want to become.

(Photo Credit: College students via Shutterstock)

About Dr. Shante Bishop


Getting TO college is one thing; Getting THROUGH college is quite another. That’s why Dr. Shante’ Bishop offers strategic advice on being successful both in and out of the classroom. From catalogs to cap and gown, Professor Bishop shares what it takes to ‘Stomp the Yard” with confidence and clarity! You can follow Dr. Bishop on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.