Don’t worry, this isn’t just another “Things I Wish I’d Known as a Freshman” piece. I love those articles (let’s be real, who doesn’t?), but they tend to be a bit on the vague side. While I could write a novel on all the life lessons I’ve learned in the past four years, I truly believe those are better to learn for yourself. That being said, there are many helpful little “life hacks” that I’ve picked up along the way that I definitely wish someone had told me sooner.
End your essays with a mic-drop worthy closing statement
This is something I’ve only recently started applying and man, do I wish I’d been doing this since day one. It forces me to put more effort into that last line (which is often at the end of a caffeine-fueled writing session), where I would normally just be trying to get it over with. If you don’t feel like you could drop a mic and moonwalk off a stage after reading your concluding statement, it’s not strong enough—keep at it!
Do not lock yourself into a certain learning style or certain learning habits
It took me about two and a half years to really figure out a note-taking style and studying style that worked best for me. I had come in to school with all of my “preparing for college” pins from Pinterest and I thought I was set. I didn’t have that smack-you-in-the-face reality check where I failed my whole first semester, but I definitely had to work much harder than I anticipated. And it took several semesters of trying different ways to take notes and different ways to study before I felt comfortable with my routine. So keep testing things out until you feel confident in your learning habits!
Invest in a good planner or planning system
This one may be overdone, but I really can’t stress the importance of having all of your to-dos in one place. It may mean investing a little money in a physical planner you can commit to, or simply remembering to update your Google calendar. Regardless of your format, you have to be prepared to commit the time to writing down assignments and deadlines. You can have a fantastic memory and think you’ll be able to remember it all, but mark my words, something will slip through the cracks. If it helps motivate you, try out glam planning!
Make your tuition worth it
I don’t mean jumping at all the free food at campus events (but, like, also do that). I mean take advantage of all the resource centers, network with your professors, join clubs to boost your resume. Do everything you possibly can, especially things that will be much harder (or even impossible) to do after college.
It’s no secret: college is a massive transition from high school and, honestly, each year of college can bring new challenges. Keep your head up and enjoy your time here. It really will go by so fast.