Perhaps you were the high school class president or a member in the honor society; or perhaps you will be graduating in the top percentile of your class and may even be a valedictorian. Regardless of your high school success or lack of it, the key thing to remember is that the start of college means the start of a clean, new academic slate, independence and critical decision-making phase of your life. The decisions you make and the actions you take during your first year of college will have a major impact on the rest of your college career and your life. The transition from high school to college and how successful it will be or not, will be based not on who you were or what you did in high school, but what you are going to start and continue doing to keep advancing.
As I reach the end of my first year in college, I would like to pass down a few tips on how to survive or do well in college. Many of you may have heard these before and if it is one that you’ve heard before, pay particular attention to it because if it’s repetitive, most likely you’ll make the same mistakes.
1) Get organized. In high school, my teachers guided me through my assignments and set due dates as the class progress. But in college, my professors would post up a fixed schedule of the whole semester with the assignments and due dates and just expect me to be responsible for completing and turning them on time. I had to be quicker and diligent on my time managing and organization skills by actually writing down every due date in my student planner and completing assignments a week ahead.
2) Go to class. Obvious right? But since attendance is not taken in most college classes, skipping a class or two was tempting. I had friends who started skipping a class or two, until it became almost a habit. They would encourage me to skip class with them instead and sometimes there would be things going on campus that I’d rather be doing. But I did not fall into that trap and it saved me a lot of trouble and money, because remember that you pay for your education in college.
3) Make time to study. There were many times when I was tempted to hang out with my friends instead of study for a quiz or I would rather be on face book instead of reading. Making time to study in college is very crucial to do well in your classes. One thing that really helped me get by this was just going to class an hour early regularly to review my notes and catch up on assignments. Different methods work for different people so try a couple of things including, disciplining yourself to study at a quiet library, going to professor’s office hours or even creating a study group with friends.
4) Strive for good grades. While good grades came naturally to me in high school, I finally felt that I had to earn them in college. It required me to be much more dedicated, get tutoring help as much as possible, meet with my professors, and create study groups as well as no procrastinating. The academic coursework in college is definitely much more challenging than in high school because it moves at a fast pace, requires elaborate, higher-level thinking skills and a deeper comprehension level.
5) Be prepared to feel overwhelmed. There were many times when I felt like college forgets that students have a life too and that things may happen and come up unexpectedly. I’ve had several family and work issues that came up various times in the year that affected my academic life. Regardless, I didn’t let go of my educational morals and goals. So best be prepared to feel unprepared and even stressed at times, and remember that you’re not the only one feeling that way.
6) Live on campus, but don’t get sidetracked or live at home, but stay involve. I lived at home and I personally thought that it did not alter my college experience in any way other than that I think it would have been a great experience to live on campus in order to really get involved in activities and get the whole college ‘feel’. Living at home really helped me focus on my studies because I am not always hanging out with friends or catching a free movie every other Tuesday night at school. However, living on campus would allow me to get to know and utilize the school and its resources but I would have to work hard to stay focus on my studies.