What I Wish I had Known before College

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I remember the day I left for college like it was yesterday. As fast as time is flying, it sure enough feels like it was just indeed yesterday. Beginning from the restless night before, my heart was at high speed throughout the day. The whole car ride I was just consumed with my thoughts and worries as I listened to my iPod. I even remember what song I was listening to which was Every Teardrop is a Waterfall by Coldplay. I look back on that day and the entirety of my freshman year and I wish I could have told myself these things to succeed not only academically but socially; just overall:

  1. Breathe!! Everything will be alright. Trust me. I know you see college as this big event but once you get here, that’ll wear away. Don’t hype yourself up. Don’t work yourself up. College is not as scary as people make it to be. If you have your head on right, you’ll make it out just fine.
  2. Friends come & go. Nothing changes when you come to college. People come and they go as they did in high school. It’s not always a sad thing. The friends you make freshman year won’t be there senior year. Honestly college is when you grow up and when you grow up, people change and people grow apart. It’s not the end of the world. I will say this though: you will find that core group of friends in college that’ll you never find in high school. Your friends you make in college are most likely going to be the friends at your wedding. They’ll be for life.
  3. Leave Senioritis in high school. College is not as forgiving as high school was. You know how in high school your teacher would let you make-up late assignments? Yeah, no. College professors will just look at you like “Um… I’m sorry?” Go to class!! Go to class even if that professor doesn’t take attendance. They take note of those students and your professor is a possible recommendation letter and they control your grade. Helloooo?! If you must skip, use your absences wisely. Your classes will usually allow 2-3 absences. Reserve those for rainy days. Do your work! Turn your assignments in on time! Let senioritis die as soon as you step into your first class in college.
  4. Time Management. Oh man, this should’ve been number one honestly. Time management is very, very important in college. If you’ve never had a planner, you better invest in one now. When you get your syllabus, write down due dates of assignments in your planner so you can plan around them. Use your time wisely. Study first, play later. My rule of thumb is this: if I don’t get all my work done before the weekend, I won’t have a good weekend because while I’m partying, I’ll have that assignment stuck in the back of my mind. Get it all done. Make a daily schedule and stick to it. Don’t sign
  5. Balance. You need to balance work and play. My motto is work hard but play harder. Hear me out on this though, work comes first. The reason why you’re in college is to receive a degree. In order to obtain that degree you have to put in work. Study, do your work & then go out and have the time of your life.
  6. Get involved. They were right at orientation, you’re not going to receive the full college experience if you don’t find a way to get involved on campus. Join the fencing club, look into Greek life. There are so many clubs and organizations that are calling out your name. What’s your passion? Helping others? Then look for groups that center around serving others. When you get involved on campus, that’s how you meet different people. You also build connections and create a network that you’ll need.
  7. The bookstore is a rip off. The bookstore where you buy your textbooks is going to rip you off on textbooks. Instead of going through them check out websites such as http://www.chegg.com and http://www.slugbooks.com where they provide discounted textbooks. That’ll save you so much money. Trust me.
  8. Make a plan. What I mean by that is that after your first couple days of classes, think about things you need to do to succeed in each of your classes. For example, in my Intro to Poetry class, in order to succeed I have to read the readings, participate in class, and turn my assignments on time. Make a plan like that for each of your classes. There are overall things you should do to succeed which is be on time to class, ask questions but it’s better to get even more specific. Once you do that, post the master plan up where you can see when you get discouraged.
  9. You should use Wikipedia. I know. A lot of professors detest Wikipedia but one thing about Wikipedia is that even though the information provided on there specifically is not confirmed, they provide references at the bottom of the article. Use those references to find different articles for the topic. Wikipedia is resourceful. Just use it wisely. Use the references.
  10. Stay focused. Don’t get too carried away living out the “college experience” that you flunk out of school. Define your goals for college and post them on your wall beside your master academic plan. Remember what you’re there for in the first place.
  11. Have fun but not too much fun! 🙂
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