College Daze: Surviving Your First Semester
Doing these things during your freshman year of college will create a habit, a routine, or something that you find normal, set up a positive path to success.
College. University. School. Whatever you want to call it, you will have the same reaction to it if you're dreading your very first day... "UGH! Spending money just to be trapped in classes for more years?"
It doesn't sound fun, huh? Well, it's only your first semester and whether you're in business, nursing, journalism, or still unsure where you want to be, you have the power to make your time here a real treat or an absolute flop. "So how do I do that?" I'm glad you asked! Here's a little help from personal experiences of my own that may save your sanity, your GPA, and your reputation.
I know this is a cliche, but it's a must. Can you imagine how many times I've been asked for a pencil, a pen, a piece of paper, or a charger... and the dreaded "do you have any gum?" It can get a little annoying at times, especially when it's the same people approaching you.
Don't be like them. Have all your supplies ready in your bag, trapper keeper, etc. the night before any class day. Print out that paper early, not 10 minutes before the bus arrives. And that textbook your professor is going to have a book check on that is definitely a grade? Yep, pack that, too. Never go, "Oh, I'll do it in the morning. I'll have time."
You never do, or you end up forgetting H.
This also applies to snacks, chargers, umbrellas, keys, the extra necessities. If you are able to, keep these items near the door or somewhere that's "in the way," so you have no choice but to grab it, have that aha! moment, and bring it with you.
Don't know if you need it? Bring it anyway. You never know if that extra dollar will help buy you lunch or if you will leave your favorite pencil in the previous classroom.
I'm not going to lie, I'm an introvert who likes to keep to herself and observe from the shadows. It's good and bad, but I can be a little social and it helps.
Making friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and possibly potential business partners will help you in the long run. Yes, it is your first semester and you don't know what you might end up doing but having people you can talk to, ask questions, and share interests with makes uni life so much better.
Extracurricular organizations, mainly social and interest clubs, make it much easy. You're in a room with a group of people who like the same thing, look just like you, or live in the same area as you. There is just something to talk about.
If you're like me and would rather be on your own, that's okay, too. However, don't make it your whole life. You never know what you'll find out about yourself.
Time management skills are essential.
This needs to be taught before college, but you know, the quadratic formula was very important.
Prioritizing and managing your time is highly important, especially when you end up with those "I won't accept anything late" professors. If you know something is going to be more difficult, might take up more of your time, or you simply dread doing it, get it out of the way. Take your time, don't rush, and not only will you have it done on time, but it will most likely be in your best quality than, say, doing it two minutes before the professor enters the room.
Having a planner around you or hanging a calendar in your room is helpful and fun. You can remind yourself about an upcoming test with purple ink, keep track of the discussion boards with stickers, and know when the projects are due with colorful sticky notes.
Have too much on your plate? Choose which one is the most important and start with that first; either it takes up more time, more energy, or will impact your grade the most.
Simply put... DO NOT PROCRASTINATE!
You're not alone.
This is something I had learned late in the game, but knowing this when you first get started is the most important.
You're not the only student in the school. You're not the only student in the class. You're not the only student the professor is teaching or has taught. So why think you're alone?
This ties back to making connections but it's so much more. You have resources here and there, willing to give you ways to succeed and survive. Don't feel ashamed to use them because trust me, you're not the first student to walk through the doors and ask for help.
Whether is academically, financially, or emotionally/mentally, don't be afraid to ask for assistance. You'll find that you run faster with that little push.
Shy? Yeah, I know. It's hard but you have to get out of that comfort zone and ask. Visit the professor's office during their office hours and clarify that definition. Attend that group study session that your classmates set up. Go to tutoring or find a tutor who knows what they are doing who is willing to show you step by step. It's okay.
There are students, professors, and staff out there who don't mind helping. They can't help you if they don't know, so let them know.
Continuing your education is a new chapter in your story that you did not think would be written. It's impossible to know what will happen throughout your college career. However, setting yourself up to succeed will ensure things won't be as hard as you may think. As I said, it's up to you.