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How to Survive and Excel Through College

You have graduated high school and your first year of college will be starting soon. You’re not sure what to think of this important change in your life. Should I be excited, nervous, or both?

College is much different than life when you are in high school. You have much more freedom now that you’re making your transition to adulthood. College gives the highly anticipated freedom to do what you want, when you want, how you want to. This uplifting change can be very powerful but also overwhelming since you have never lived life after high school.

Ben Parker said it best “with great power comes great responsibility”. Freshman year can be a time of making several mistakes but this time is also one of the most memorable years of your college career. You can have a lot of fun, be a top student, and make the best of your freshman year by taking the tricks and tips listed below into consideration!

  1. Be open to your dorm hall. Dorms are meant for establishing relationships so there is no reason to be shy. Your dorm can and should be a place your feel comfortable. Everyone in your hall is going through the same experience as you are so do not worry. My dorm hall created lasting relationships between many people – I found my best friends and roommates in our hall.
  2. Get to know your roommate. It’s important to get along with your roomie or you’re going to have a bad time. Establish personal boundaries right away. Grab a bite to eat or make them your gym partner, whatever you do just hangout and form a positive relationship. If you can’t get along you can always request finding another roommate.
  3. Forget high school cliques. Whoever you were before college will not matter anymore. You now have a clean slate to be who you are with like-minded people.
  4. Say yes. College is not just about class; it is about experience as well. Go out and explore and say yes to new experiences. Go to the party, go to the concert, try new foods, etc. Saying “yes” to try new things is important for self-discovery of your likes and dislikes.
  5. Get organized and don’t slack. I learned this the hard way my first semester. My bad habits landed me a couple of C grades that haunt me to this day. Stay on top of your grades by organizing your time properly between work and play. Also, stay on top of your assignments because professors have no sympathy for late work like your teachers in high school had. Map out all due dates for tests and projects on your calendar and make a daily to-do list every night before bed.
  6. Find your quiet space. Nothing is harder than trying to study in your dorm when everyone is hanging out in the hall or your roommate is being a distraction. Play around with new study spaces around campus or quiet businesses like a coffee shop.
  7. Go to class. Missing class is not always the end of the world but it can set you behind on class material. If you are lucky, lectures may be recorded but you still have to spend time later catching up. If you are not a morning person like me try your best to not take classes that are before 9 a.m.
  8. Network. Introduce yourself to professors so they remember you. Get at least 2 contacts from each of your classes. This will certainly come in handy over the years as these same contacts pop up in classes you take in later semesters. You will build up a vast ocean of people to give you pointers on homework and people to study with.
  9. Visit office hours for help. Sometimes this is a hassle to deal with but it will help you succeed to have 1 on 1 time with a professor. Not to mention, you will build a relationship that may show initiative and impress your professor. I’ve boosted several of my grades just because the professor saw that I was trying hard.
  10. Focus on the present. Doubt about your future is common in college. Most likely you will wonder if your degree is right for you. Don’t think about what will happen in the future just think about what you want and if you feel like you are achieving what you want on a day to day basis. If you have not declared a major, try taking courses in a variety of disciplines you may like.

Why should you trust these words?

Take advantage of this list because it was written by someone who only recently experienced Freshman life a few years ago. College is hard sometimes but if you take this list of pointers into consideration over the next couple months, you will get the most out of your college experience.