The Dos and Don'ts of College

College is a time to make mistakes… to an extent. For most of us, we have four years on this campus to figure out who we are and what we want to be, while somehow managing to maintain reputable academic achievements. This is a once in a lifetime growing experience; however, for those of you who would like some insight early on, it can’t hurt! So, here is a simple cheat sheet of the dos and don’ts of college!

DO: Put yourself out there.

If you typically are shy or like to play it safe, that is not necessarily a bad thing. As you go through college though, you will find that getting out of your comfort zone is one of the most rewarding experiences. All it takes is one small act of courage at a time. Introduce yourself to a boy you would have never approached or be the one to strike up a conversation on the first day of class… whatever it is, make it happen!

DON’T: Be in a relationship all of college.

Boys can wait! This is a time to focus on you, your friendships, and your goals. Being tied down all four years will only cause added stress. It is important to focus on your education and to develop some independence rather than making him the priority.

DO: Get involved.

There is nothing more rewarding than becoming a part of something bigger. Being busy is much better than being bored, so make sure to get involved in a club, perhaps join ROTC, or even take a chance on a sorority. These are all great ways to form lots of friendships and help to provide a memorable college experience.

DON’T: Stay in every single night.

Of course grades are a top priority, but treat yourself to an occasional night out. There should be a healthy balance between your study life and your social life.

DO: Take advantage of where you go to school.

Not every student at college can drive 15 minutes from campus and be able to go skiing or snowboarding for the day. Not to mention, the drive to the parkway never disappoints. For the students that can’t afford to spend money on random excursions, a simple trip to the rock wall at the SRC is an affordable and fun option.

DON’T: Be a procrastinator.

It is far too easy to set aside certain academic priorities for spur of the moment adventures or perhaps even just laziness. Time management is the key to being a successful student. Choose your obligations wisely; you may have to skip out on a Thursday night at the bar or a Netflix craving to study. Constantly stay on top of things and don’t wait until the day before your test. Studying a little at a time is much more efficient than cramming it all in last minute.

DO: Mix up your daily routine.

Organization and a set routine can help you to accomplish many things, but it is also good to be spontaneous every once in a while. Life does not always have to be a fixed set of obligations (class, class, lunch, class, study, dinner, laundry, sleep). Mix up your daily routine by trying something new. Leave time for a random morning yoga class with a friend or take a fun trip to the humane society. It is the silly and random trips you take that give you memorable stories to tell.

DON’T: Get into the habit of skipping class.

Sleeping in may seem like a tempting idea in the moment, but attending class is crucial. Not only will attending your classes regularly ensure a better grade, but it will also help you gain respect from your professors.

DO: Give back to your community.

Becoming a part of something larger than yourself can positively change your perspective during your college experience. A lot of times in college you are focusing on “you” (your grades, your health, where you are living next year, etc.). Every now and then try thinking about the bigger picture and those around you. Get involved in any kind of community service. There are many opportunities to do so both through the school and around the local community. Appalachian State provides a great domestic and international program called Alternative Service Experience (ASE), which gives students the oppurtinuity to make a difference while incopreprating a learning expereince. 

DON’T: Overwork yourself.

Overworking yourself in college can be easier than you think. Be careful with how much you decide to take on. School on top of your extracurricular activities, social life, a job and volunteer work can all get pretty hectic. Sometimes it is okay to step back and decide what is more important for the time being. Otherwise, it is very easy to become burnt out.

Last, but not least, take advantage of this experience. Time flies, so DO what makes you happy and DON’T let these moments slip away.