At some point or another, many young adults “leave the nest” and venture off to college. It is with this step we leave behind many of our careless ways and take some big steps toward making it somewhere in the world. And with different settings come different people and events.
While there is no survival guide that can answer your every question and curiosity, there are some generalities regarding college.
For one, it’s much larger and more intimidating than the average 17-something-year-old will be prepared for. You leave the friendly confines of high school, where everybody knew everybody else and their families. Teachers no longer care to take attendance, as they get paid all the same and it’s up to the individual to succeed. While this sounds like an awful experience, worry not – there is hope.
A key element to succeeding in college is knowing people.
Yes, all those hours and days you spent on instant messengers and social networking websites can be applied to help you pass. Finding others that are taking classes with you can be quite pivotal, especially if you’re struggling with the class concepts or happen to miss a class and need the notes. Be sure to make as many friends as possible, and never turn a cold shoulder to someone that’s just trying to help, because they might just help you pass.
Before you even choose your professors, do some research to make sure the professor you’re picking doesn’t just have a cool name but can also teach the subject and teach it well.
I personally refer to startschoolnow.org to get advice on working with college professor. Be wary, some students can be bitter as a result of a poor experience, but for the most part, it is a fair and balanced place to refer to.
When choosing your classes (assuming you know who you would like to take what with), think about how you perform at certain times of the day.
Are you a late sleeper? If so, that 8am Bio100 class may not be such a good idea after all. Do you do better going to class five times a week for three hours a day or two days a week going six hours at a time? Analyze yourself and your past, find out what works and what want.
Take classes that are interesting to you!
Granted, not everything available is going to make your eyes pop out, but being interested in a subject will lead you to put more effort into a class as opposed to something that would make you pass out by just hearing the name of the class. The key with class selection is being motivated. If you don’t care, you won’t go – simple as that.
Finally, once you have managed to arrange that dream schedule, plan around it with events and activities to keep you busy.
I have often found myself doing much better when I’m busy with other activities on top of school as opposed to being bored and left with school as my only option. A big freshman success tip would be getting involved. It doesn’t matter with who or what, but the more active you are with the school and its culture, the more likely you are to want to always be around and do well so you can continue do those fun activities. Once more, enjoy what you do, college is stressful enough as is. I am a part of the Greek system at my university and it’s amazing, but if that’s not your scene, then find one that fits your lifestyle.
Another vital issue is to keep yourself organized.
A way I found relatively easy to balance my life is keeping a planner. Most schools offer a school planner with important events occurring during the school year (for example: orientations, breaks, etc.). Take time to fill it out with your school schedule, clubs / organizations, jobs, and study breaks. Don’t fill it up completely though, because we all need time to sleep and unwind. College is a fun place (sometimes called an adult day-care center), use that to your advantage to relieve some stress – just don’t overdo it and miss class. We came to college to graduate, not to waste precious time or money!
As mentioned briefly in the paragraph above, studying is a big dilemma for many incoming freshmen and even some students that have been around for awhile. While being a ‘genius’ in high-school, I took a lashing when I got to college and saw my mid-term scores after studying hardly at all. Many classes progress at 2-3x the pace of high school, and the tests are exponentially as difficult.
Prepare yourself for this by setting aside a time each day to pop open your books and go over your material, as in reviewing what you just learned and doing a bit of reading ahead to know what’s coming. This helps you learn the finer details of a subject, and ask questions in class if you are unsure about a particular item. Cramming is a futile practice that does almost no good. So make it easy and study shorter amounts of time, just more often.
With that, I leave you to your journey. There is so much to see and experience this article can in no way have covered it all. Hopefully, you will enjoy college just as much as I do, because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity!