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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

As a junior entering their second semester, I have finally settled into college. Don’t get me wrong, it took me a long time to get to this point but now I can confidently say that I’m there. I had to go through many challenges, but looking back, I know everything happened for a reason and I wouldn’t change it. I know I am only going to keep learning and growing, but I can share six key takeaways I can share now that would have been helpful to know early on. 

Prioritize your time

In college, time is your friend but mostly your enemy. If you don’t learn how to manage it early on then it will come and bite you later. I still struggle with this and haven’t learned how to fully manage it, but I have changed a few things since my Freshman year. College is a complete and total balancing act. You have to balance your academics, clubs, leadership positions, and social life all at the same time. You also have to think of your future consistently and have to take care of yourself. This means figuring out when to exercise, what to eat, and when to shower. It seems silly to say you have to ‘think’ of these habits, but you do. You have to make time otherwise it will not get done. A way that I have been able to prioritize my time is to first accept the fact that I can’t do everything. You have to take each day one day at a time and only focus on what you can get done. What helped me was buying a planner and writing down what I needed to get done the night before each day. That way when you wake up you have a game plan.

Try new things

It’s never too late to try something new in college. You should be doing this throughout all of college as the opportunities available to you are endless. During freshman year, I made it my priority to try new things as I wanted to find two or three clubs that I could stick with. I went to Sparticipation and joined the email list for way too many things. I found two clubs that fit my interests, but I tried a couple of others in between. When you try something new, don’t feel pressured to stick with it if it’s not for you, and don’t be afraid to leave. Just be happy that you gave it your best shot. I joined two l clubs that related to my major so I could get some valuable experience and expand my resume. I joined VIM magazine and Her Campus at MSU. Both of these clubs were filled with people who had the same interests as me. Joining them made my college experience so much better and I made so many connections. I was as active as possible in both and any opportunities that came up, I took. It’s also important to pay attention to your email as so many opportunities come through there.

Wait things out

Before rushing to leave a club or drop a class. Or even decide on something, wait it out. Often things seem bad in the beginning, and you feel like you want to just leave or give up. But I promise if you just wait a little longer you might find things working out. Everything that is an adjustment comes with time and you may just need to wait for things to resolve themselves. I have found that college is often a waiting game and even when things seem hard a few weeks go by and everything is better. 

People change

This is pretty cliche to say but in college, this is especially true. Everyone is growing slowly into themselves and this is the first time for most that they have their independence. People are going to make decisions that you agree with and disagree with. You are going to make mistakes and are going to feel guilty or like you failed. This is a completely normal response to things in life. It’s about how you move forward that shows what kind of person you are. If you sit and let it affect you and unmotivate you for months, that’s not good. You need to be able to push yourself towards success. It’s ok to not be friends with everyone and you are going to lose friends. This was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn in college. I came in with my high school friends then after the first year, I lost some of them due to us going our separate ways. This was incredibly challenging and it was hard to accept they left my life. But it’s all part of your journey and it led me to the friends I have now.

Learn to Say yes (and no)

This point sort of ties in with prioritizing your time. To take your time in the right direction you have to be able to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to certain things. This will help you balance your time right. This is something I struggled with initially as I wanted to do it all. I never wanted to say no because I wanted to experience everything that college had to offer. But my time was not being spent right. I was struggling to complete everything I needed to do in a day. It’s important to try new things as said above but at what expense? This mostly comes to your social life as it can be hard to say no sometimes due to fear of missing out. I still struggle with this, but I have seen the problem with saying yes, all the time. It’s too hard to balance one over the other. You need to choose one over the other based on what is right at the time.

Learn at your own pace

This has been a key to my academic success. From early on I understand that grasping concepts takes me longer than the average student. I know that I need to spend more time on certain things if I want to learn them. Don’t feel pressured by others to not work at your own pace. Don’t rush through things, take your time and give everything your best. You get to decide how much effort you want to put into it. You may not be able to spend the same amount of time on everything but that way you delegate your time. If you need more time on an assignment, because you genuinely ran out of time, don’t be afraid to reach out to your professor. Most are understanding and will give you more time if it surrounds you, bettering the quality of your work. I would not ask more than once though, if you continue to struggle look into getting an education plan that allows you to have extra time. 

After reading these six takeaways I hope you can take away some advice to help better your college experience. I am still not the best at all of these but every day I am learning how to be better. These points genuinely summarize my college experience so far and I look forward to what else I will learn.

Sabrina Seldon is the Editor-in-chief of Her Campus at MSU. She edits articles, approves pitches and oversees the editing team. Seldon is a junior at Michigan State University majoring in Journalism with minors in Broadcast, Public Relations and Graphic Design. On top of her involvement with Her Campus, she is the Art Director of VIM Magazine at MSU. Seldon was Editor-in-chief of her high school's award-winning yearbook and has articles published through the Spartan Newsroom. Seldon enjoys listening to music, traveling and designing graphics in her free time.