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Figure out what kind of studying works for you

In college, studying, doing homework, reading, and writing papers will take up a larger part of your time than they did in high school. Make sure you know how to spend that time effectively! Figure out what works for you. Where do you need to study? Do you work best studying alone or with friends? What do you need with you and around you to be productive? For me, I like studying in the library where I have access to printers and a cafe where I can grab a snack if I get hungry and I don’t have to leave. Sometimes I can work with other people around me, but I need to be alone if I’m reading anything. But everyone is different. Try out a few different things the first few weeks if you need to so that you can figure out what works best for you. 

Find some way to stay organized

Staying on top of everything you need to do in college can be difficult if you don’t have a system that works for you. You have class times, meetings, and other extracurriculars to keep track of as well as a whole list of assignments and things to do. Add in social events, and you’re bound to forget something if you don’t write it all down. Some people make big to do lists, others use planners or bullet journals. Some people use google calendar or their calendar on their phone to keep track of everything. Figure out what you like and stick to it! 

Find a balance between doing fun things and spending time alone

When you get to college and get into your classes, you might feel overwhelmed and want to spend a lot of your free time relaxing in your dorm room. Or, you might get to college and feel as though you want to spend all your time with your new friends. Both of these are things you should be doing in college, but make sure that you find the right balance for you! You’ll need both time alone and time with your friends to have a fun and successful college experience. 

Throw away your expectations of what college is supposed to be

If something doesn’t go the way you want it to, you’re more likely to be disappointed, and college is no exception. How many movies have you seen where students spend all their time in college partying and having fun with their friends without any academic consequences, for example? Many! That isn’t real life. Remember that your college experience is likely to look very different from your expectations, especially this year with the pandemic. That doesn’t mean it won’t be an amazing experience, but it means that it’ll just look different than what you’re envisioning. 

Don’t be afraid to change your mind about something

If you need to, drop that class, change your major, stop hanging out with people who aren’t your kind of people. Heck, transfer to a different school if you need to. Just don’t think you’re stuck with something you don’t like. You have options. 

Meet as many people as you can!

The more connections you make in college, the better! Talk to people in your classes and in the clubs you join. Meet your roommate’s friends, and talk to people who live on your floor and in your building. These people will be your friends and can introduce you to all kinds of new experiences and fun things, and might even help you find a job down the road after you graduate from college!

Find some way to back up your files on your computer

I have heard so many different stories about people’s computers breaking in college, and then these people losing all their coursework and assignments. These things always seem to happen right around the worst times, too! One way to prevent this from happening is to backing up your files on your computer! You can use a hard drive, or you can do your work on Google docs so that you have your work available to you from any computer with internet access!

Take advantage of your school’s career center

They’ll help you do everything from setting up a LinkedIn account and creating a resume to helping connect you to an alum that can help you get an internship or even a job after graduation. There aren’t many places where you can get free career advice within this same capacity after you graduate, so take advantage of your career center while you have it!

Find some way to hold onto your memories

Your memories in college are going to be valuable to you, and you’re going to want a way to look back on those memories. Journal, or take lots of pictures (and back those up somehow too, google photos is a great way to do this), but whatever method you choose, holding onto your memories is something you’ll be glad you did down the road!  

Register for classes as soon as you’re able to

As soon as registration for classes opens up, classes will start to fill up. This is especially true of classes that are in high demand, such as intro classes to popular majors, or classes that may not be taught more than once a semester. Figure out which classes you want to take ahead of time, and learn how your registration process works, so that you can get a jump on those classes you want as soon as registration opens!

Jackie Ebel

DePauw '21

Jackie is a current senior communication major at DePauw University in Indiana. She's lived in Massachusetts, Texas, and Maryland. She loves swimming, ice chai lattes, and the band Walk the Moon. Jackie is the editor for the profile and features sections of DePauw's branch of HerCampus.
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