Tips from Current Students on Starting College
Many people may think it's an easy and clean transition from high school to college. Some may even think it's as easy as preparing better academically, by doing your assigned work before the deadline and studying a week before an exam (instead of cramming). People may assume these small changes are all that is expected of you until college graduation, that big day when you walk down the graduation aisle surrounded by proud parents and sometimes very vocal, cheerleading family members (yes mom, we mean you).
In actuality there are some aspects of college that can make this seemingly smooth transition quite difficult for a college newbie. Here is where we come in to share our wisdom and give a few rules of thumb for the fresh-out-of-high-school college freshman.
Rule #1: Don't be afraid to jump ship from a class that will be more than you can handle
Your class syllabus is your best friend in this case. You know better than anyone what you can and cannot do. Will you have time for that 24-page assignment while holding a part-time job? Do you know enough about economics to delve into the world of international economic theory? You'll always have required classes for your major, and many may be difficult. But you may have the option to trade off a challenging class for one that better suits your interests and abilities. Always have a back-up class you can switch into. Your GPA will thank you for it later.
Rule #2: A good friend is a study buddy till the very end
Making friends can go a long way in a class where you may not be comfortable or knowledgeable. Or anywhere you need a study partner. You're in a physical science class, but you're not a science major you say? Well now is the time to make friends with the brightest lab coat students in class. You're a history major? Well here's your time to shine! Mingle with the next history major student you see and you may just have found a lifelong friend and study partner.
Rule #3: Build a relationship with your professor
College is largely about connections, and along the way recommendations can get you far. Take advantage of office hours or chat it up with your professor after class. Showing your interests as well as a different side of yourself can result in opening doors you may have never realized were there.
Rule #4 Don't rush to buy your books
Remember that syllabus in rule #1? Well here is where it comes in handy in order to know what books you will need. A lot of the time, professors do not use their required books in the first week of class. This gives you time to look in your syllabus to determine what book you will need and when. You may even find that the number of times you will need a book is minimal and may find it less expensive to read the book at the school library (where a great amount of required textbooks are available) or look for a cheaper online version of the text. Check your options before shelling out the cash and you may find yourself saving a lot of money in the long run.
Rule #5 Procrastination is not your occupation
Yeah yeah, we know you deserve to have fun since you have already spent the day in front of a computer screen. In reality though, doing a task later will not make it disappear. The amount of time you invest into an assignment increases the chances of you submitting work with more quality and substance. Do yourself a favor and jump on that assignment immediately and reward yourself later.
Entering college may seem like a daunting experience, but it will be whatever you wish to make of it. Going in with a great attitude and positive outlook on life can do wonders to ensure a more relaxed and rewarding journey.