College is a confusing, yet magical time. Well, okay maybe magical is an overstatement. Let’s be real; college is HARD. Before you start your freshmen year, you have no time to prepare how you’re going to balance a part time job, social life, love life, self care, and good grades. I can’t give you the holy grail of secrets to make all of these things work for you, because college is different for everyone. What I can give you, are 12 college dos and don’ts to make your college transition easier for you.
1) Put yourself out there!
Go join at least one club and meet new people. Make friends. College is supposed to be a fun time. Make it just that!
2) Do make time for yourself.
You’re not being selfish, trust me. You need to take care of yourself and allow some alone time. That does NOT include doing homework by yourself. Meditate, go workout, go to a coffee shop, do something by yourself, for yourself.
3) Ask for help when you need it.
This was my biggest mistake my freshman year. I was a music major and struggled to balance 8 classes. I was so overwhelmed, and I continued be stubborn and not ask for help that it hit me mentally and my grades reflected that.
4) Do write down your schedule
I had two planners: one for assignments/tests, and one for my musical practices and what not. You’ll get cocky and think that you’ll remember everything, but you won’t. There will be so much going on that you will forget something. Use your phone, paper, something.
5) Network with your cohort
I cannot stress this enough. Yes, I know it’s hard, BUT you have bridges to be built, not burned. You’ll want to network with people as soon as you can. Especially if you plan on landing a solid job. Sometimes It’s about who you know, not what you know. The people you meet can be a valuable resource. I got one of my jobs in college because of one of the girls I knew in my social work cohort.
Actually study. This isn’t high school. Take your classes seriously. You are paying for them after all. Grab a study buddy and your mutually favorite beverage and knock back some test materials together.
1) Don’t be afraid to participate in classes.
I was so scared of what people thought of my opinion, questions, or answers in high school that I never answered in class questions. Once I got to college, it didn’t really matter what other people thought, because more often than not, those people were having the same thoughts or had the same questions.
2) Don’t forget to take care of your mental health
Please. Please. Please. If you’re struggling mentally, reach out for help before it gets out of hand. College campuses (including community colleges) have counseling built into the tuition. Take advantage of it. There’s no shame in talking to a counselor. Everybody needs therapy.
3) Don’t over work yourself
If you’re working while going to school, make sure your employer knows you’re attending college. I told my employer and they definitely understood that school came first. They worked with my schedule and what I needed.
4) Don’t make late assignments a habit
Some professors will give you grace, while others won’t even bat an eye while they enter an F in the grade book. In my experience, some professors would go over the assignment in class, and if you got called on to share your answer and didn’t do your assignment you got hard core called out in front of the class. If you’re the type of person that does assignments at the last minute, fine, just get it done before it’s due.
5) Don’t make partying a habit
For sure, we all like to get glammed up, go out, and knock back a few hard ones. BUT– don’t make this an every night habit. It won’t be good for your health, mental health, grades, etc. Next thing you know, you’ve flunked most of your classes. There are some classes you can’t fly by the seat of your pants in. Everyone could tell who was out partying the night before a class, because when they got called on they pulled an answer or statement out of their ass–and it had nothing to do with what we were talking about. So, don’t be that person.
6) Don’t settle
I’m talking about settling for a school. If you truly don’t like your university and dread going every day, and NOT because the classes are hard, then look into other options. You’re allowed to go wherever you want. So why not take advantage of that? Research other schools, go visit them, ask students what they really think of that school. Go to whatever school you think is best for you.
College might seem intimidating, but once you get a routine down, you’ll be just fine. Learn the ropes and go thrive.
Have any college questions? Don’t be afraid to reach out to me! (: