In about forty days, I’ll be done with my first year of college. Although it has been immensely draining – physically, mentally, and emotionally – I have already learned more than I could have anticipated. Here are some things I learned in the Fall of 2017 and Spring of 2018:
1. Procrastination will not get you anywhere
Although procrastination in high school made you supremely unproductive and you ended up leaving your work for the last minute, you could pull through and get (some) good grades. In college, however, you don’t just have important assignments, but also class participation grades and never-ending readings. And your professors almost always know when you haven’t done them. In high schoo,l you could always just use SparkNotes as your saving grace, but college readings and essays require a more in-depth analysis which you have to prepare for.
2. Give yourself enough breaks
Despite the previous point, I do believe that breaks are important, but they shouldn’t merely be wasting time while you should be studying, but instead, take breaks to watch a movie, go out, listen to music, work out, take a nap, or something else that would subsequently calm you down. Breaks are essential and often neglected, but everyone should definitely take breaks from time to time to relax and refuel.
3. Challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone
This is basically what college is all about. Take classes you’re interested in, but would normally be to scared to take, or talk to people with different opinions, interests, and habits than you. This will not only widen your perspective on things, but will also make you more confident and open to learning.
4. Alone time is important
This especially goes out to those of you with roommates. No matter how extroverted one is, living with someone for most of the day, and being surrounded by others for the remaining time period not only inhibits your daily functioning because of lack of freedom, it also hinders your creativity as you have no time alone with your thoughts and to actually reflect on your day, so it’s important to find time for just yourself.
5. Academics should not be your only focus
Although studying probably is and should be your primary goal, it should not be at the cost of neglecting extracurriculars. You should ideally find time to join clubs and organizations (or start your own) that reflect your interests and hobbies. And if you like it enough, it could also be a good way to give yourself a productive break from work and other stress that comes with college.
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