It’s that time of year again where recent high school grads are heading off to college. It’s a scary time (I was there myself not too long ago) but it’s also incredibly exciting. College truly is a whole other world in itself. College is also a time for doing a lot of growing up and soul-searching, whether you realize it’s actually going on or not. Seeing as how I’ve gone through the whole starting college not once but twice, I thought that I could share a little bit of what I’ve learned.
- Don’t try to be somebody you’re not just to fit in. This is not high school anymore. There’s plenty of people on a college campus so there’s no need to try to make friends by being someone other than yourself, there will be lots of people who will love you just the way you are.
- Don’t procrastinate. Yes, nobody wants to write that 20+ page paper on political marketing (trust me, that’s not a fun one) but the longer you wait the worse everything gets. I’m not saying you have to start working on it as soon as its been assigned but plan accordingly, you never know what could suddenly pop up in your schedule. If you have two weeks to write a 15 page paper then give yourself a day to brainstorm, another two days to research and then try to write 2-3 pages everyday until it’s due; if you’re on a roll and write more that’s great but this way you don’t put it off until the night before and end up pulling an all nighter.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. That’s why professor’s have office hours and departments hire tutors, to help. No one said college was easy but no one wants to make it hard, you just have to ask for help.
- Get involved. There are so many ways to get involved on campus. Attend the club fair that most schools host in the beginning of the semester, join an intramural team, get involved in the local community, look for ways to be active in your department. Not only are they great ways to meet new people, but they’re also resume builders and networking opportunities.
- Stay organized. Trust me, once midterms hit life gets crazy. If you stay organized the whole time it will make things a bit easier. This means both in your dorm room and with assignments. By keeping your room clean it will make it a lot easer to find things when you’re in a rush. Spend 10-15 minutes a day straightening up. Keep track of your assignments. Professors give a syllabus that often has every assignment and every due date. Put it in a planner or do what I do which is put every assignment in my phone’s calendar for the day it’s due, that way all I have to do is look at each day to see what needs to be turned in rather than look at each syllabus.
- Get creative and try new things. College is a great time to be adventurous but it’s no secret that college kids don’t have the biggest budget. That being said, look for cool deals on websites like Groupon or Amazon Local. You never know, you could find an NYC Chocolate Tour for $20 (really fun to do and very filling!) or maybe there’s a nearby museum that gives a student discount. If you look hard enough you’re sure to find great things to do at a somewhat affordable price.
- You’re not alone. Don’t forget that there’s hundreds of thousands of people your age going through the same thing you are.
- Make memories. College flies by faster than you realize so don’t put things off just because you think you’ll have plenty of time later in the semester, make the memories now because there’s a lot of great ones to be made.
- Embrace opportunity. Understand that you are the only one in control of your future now so make smart decisions. This is your chance to make a life for yourself, don’t let you or anybody else ruin it.
- BE HAPPY. That’s the most important thing. Don’t settle on a major, a school, a social lifestyle or anything else while at school if it doesn’t make you happy. Nobody wants to admit that they’ve messed up and made the wrong choice but it happens and the only true wrong decision is to not fix it. Sure, it’s scary when you suddenly realize you don’t want to be what you always dreamed of anymore, but college is a great time to be unsure and figure it out. Take random classes that interest you and you’re bound to fall into something that you love that may possibly be unexpected, that’s what happened to me. Just don’t settle because you’re scared to make a change.
From one college to student to incoming college students I wish you the best of luck and lots of fun.