Between all the excitement and anticipation for your first day of college (not me, I was terrified!), you might forget what you’re getting into for the next four years: late night study sessions, difficult professors, complicated relationships and no days off, not even the weekends. It’s not all bad, of course! You start feeling independent, make new friends, take on new responsibilities and learn many things about the world. Still, there are so many students that enter college life with few realistic expectations of the new tasks and situations that they will have to confront, whether they like it or not.
1. Make sure you know what you want.
Even though college is about learning and finding yourself, it’s also a very serious step towards your future field of work and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Many students enter college undeclared and five majors later they finally find what they were looking for. Truth is, while this person probably learned a lot of things and this experience made them find what they were looking for, they also wasted a lot of time and money that could have been used with the major they actually wanted. Get a head start on your studies by trying to find out what you want to study before starting college or at most by the first or second year.
2. Don’t study the night before the big test.
Ah, the good old days of high school. Those were the days I could study an hour or two before the test and still get that perfect and desired A+. However, in college, that’s IMPOSSIBLE. If you do that with the 10 chapters your professor assigned for the test, most likely you will have to pull an all-nighter, realize that you do not understand any of the material you’re reading, not finish reading it, go into the test feeling like the weight on the world is on your eyes and then blank out during the test. Even though it’s difficult at first, try to get your assigned reading for each class done that same day. Make a summary of the material you received from the professor and from the book, so you can keep track of your progress. On the days before the test, you can just read your summary of each chapter that you already read and I can guarantee that you will ace that test!
3. The friends you make on your first year will most likely not be the same friends on your last year and that’s ok.
It’s natural for us to imagine that when we go to college, we’ll finally find the friends we were looking for all along and that those people will stay with us for the rest of our lives, or at least most of it. The truth is, many of those people you meet are just passing through and they won’t stay with you for long. Maybe you realized that they weren’t as nice as you thought they were, or maybe they just weren’t as compatible with you as you thought. No matter, because slowly as you enter deeply into your own field of work, you’ll get to meet amazing minds that will speak to your own, and maybe to your heart.
4. Don’t be afraid to explore your campus and what it has to offer.
Sports teams, clubs, associations, libraries, labs and much more! Your university has many students involved in many different activities within many different organizations. Join them! Find the place that speaks to you and allow yourself to develop all those skills you were hiding. It will come in handy to you in the future, not only for your resume, but as preparation for work challenges that you will have to overcome.
5. Join other activities outside of the university.
For a college student, it might seem like our lives are wrapped around our studies and that’s what we should focus on, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Go outside! Get a job if you can or want to! Go to festivals and parties! Take lifeguard lessons and yoga classes! Anything that you can do to improve yourself is always worth it. Sometimes you need to unwind and just forget all of the stress and pressure that college life brings. The best way is to have a life outside of it and have fun while doing so.
*Images from Pinterest