This year I am teaching a freshman intro class. It’s been four years, and my college career has come completely full circle. My students constantly ask me what I’ve learned over the years, like how I balance school work and having a social life. After many hours of psychoanalysis, deep reflection, and insight from a number of friends, I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 advice to college freshmen:
1. Talk and form relationships with your professors
- There is boundless opportunity when you take the initiative to get to know your professors. Many of them conduct their own research that you could take part of and sign your name on. They are also a great source of connection to other people and companies in line with your success plans.
2. Sit toward the front of the classroom
- This isn’t high school anymore, sitting in the back isn’t cool, and no one cares. Sitting at the front will help you stay focused and attentive. It will also show the professor you care about doing well.
3. Read the syllabi – Syllabus is life
- Syllabi will be your bible for the next four years. Everything you need to expect about the course will be written in your syllabi. Pay attention to how grades are distributed so you know where to prioritize your work.
4. Time management is not just about getting your school work done – make time to take care of yourself too
- We can become easily overloaded with school work and completing assignments on time. Make sure you’re making time in your schedule to take care of yourself too. Eat at the appropriate times, get exercise, and take a break when your brain needs one.
- Studying too much can become unproductive if you are lacking sleep. Close the book and turn in for the night, your brain can only retain so much.
- You can’t efficiently get work done if you’re burnt out.
5. Take advantage of all the resources your campus has to offer – You’re paying for it!
- Make use of your tutoring centers! If you’re struggling in a class, seek help! Your tuition money goes towards funding these services to help your success.
- Go to events on campus! The campus departments plan a number of free and fun events for the student body. Most of them have free food and prizes, that rarely get used or eaten.
6. Get involved – Join clubs – Network
- In today’s day and age, it is all about the people you know. Regardless of what field you’re studying, networking is the number one most efficient way to get the job and position you want.
- Get involved with clubs and organizations on campus. Surround yourself with like-minded people with the same goals and interests. Getting involved is also good for your portfolio and builds real world experience which is what employers look for.
7. You are the people who you surround yourself with – Choose good ones!
- After graduating high school I realized I was only friends with some people I hung out with because I saw them every day. Be picky about your friends in college. Choose friends who encourage and inspire you. This will be your biggest period of growth yet. Make sure you are growing into a person your 10-year-old self would be proud of.
8. Stay away from pills
- You may think substances like Adderall will help you, but the costs outweigh the benefits. Don’t do it because you think everyone else is doing it too.
- You will become more unproductive than you were before, especially if your brain does not genetically need the extra help.
9. Get out of your comfort zone
- Test your boundaries. Try something new. I studied abroad for a semester and lived with a host family who spoke a language completely foreign to me. It was the best experience of my life, and I owe my independence to it.
- Push yourself to dream bigger. College is a time to explore and experience without too many repercussions. Take advantage of it.
10. Enjoy it – Savor each moment
- Looking back on the last four years, it is crazy to see how much I have grown and changed. Four years in college blows by ten times faster than four years in high school.
- Savor each moment. Each party. Each event. Each person. Stay mindful in why you’re here and what you want to accomplish.