College is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work. Here are some tips for incoming college freshmen to help make the first year a successful one!
1. Don’t schedule your classes too early in the morning. In high school, you were used to having a class every morning at 8 a.m. But trust me, it’s different in college. Maybe it’s because Mom isn’t there to tell you to go to bed, or maybe because you realize that your bedroom absolutely has to be cleaned at midnight, but whatever the reason, college students tend to stay up later. The later you stay up, the earlier 8 a.m. is going to seem. Take my advice and try to not schedule yourself for early classes every morning. And if you do, invest in a large travel coffee mug; you’ll want it later.
2. Attend every class. It’s very tempting to skip classes. Your professor drones on and on in a monotone voice about the same thing every day. You didn’t get enough sleep last night and 8 a.m. came way too soon (See #1). Whatever the reason, you will want to skip at least once this semester. But please, don’t. I skipped one class my first semester, and the professor gave a pop quiz. Maybe you won’t be as unlucky, but you could miss valuable information. It’s not worth the risk.
3. Get to know your professor. Most professors have hundreds of students. To them, you are just another name. But, it can be very useful to be more than that. If you take the time to get to know your prof, he/she will probably be more likely to help you with any problems you might have in the class. Also, if you develop a good relationship with your professor, he/she could be a key personal reference when you graduate college.
4. Choose your extracurriculars carefully. Your first year is going to be jam-packed with classes, studying, and social activities. Try not to spread yourself too thin. Just because Chinese Club sounds cool doesn’t mean you should join it. Be selfish with your time and only commit to extracurriculars (and jobs) that you really want to be involved in. There are only 168 hours in a week. Considering the time you will spend in class, studying, eating, and sleeping, you will only have 46 hours for fun. Spend it wisely.
5. Use the facilities. Most colleges have wonderful libraries, computer labs, and career services departments. You’re paying for these services, so use them! You can probably get free printing at the computer lab, a quiet place to study in the library, and helpful advice from your career services advisor. Don’t think that since you are a freshman you shouldn’t take advantage of these opportunities. They are there for all students!
6. Have fun! Like I said, college is a ton of work. But you’ve got to have fun, too! This goes back to #4, but just make sure you focus on including some fun in your freshman year. It will be stressful and difficult, but this is also the time when you will make your new BFFs. And besides, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to go an entire year without some play time.