…LEARNED DURING MY FIRST SEMESTER IN COLLEGE-
1. You need R&R!
I never thought of rest and relaxation in the light I do today. After finishing out one semester, studying 18 credits (6 classes) and working a part time job, I finally relaxed. And then I realized that for the past 3 months I hadn’t ever fully relaxed, even over break. Letting go, relaxing, thinking of other things and just doing things completely different from school and work is essential to success in college.
Towards the second half of the semester I made it a priority to do something completely different than school. It made a difference. It depends on your workload, your schedule, and work, but sometimes we don’t prioritize R&R as much as we should. Leonardo da Vinci said,
“Every now and then go away,
have a little relaxation,
for when you go back to your work
your judgement will be surer.”
2. Don’t procrastinate!
How many times have we heard it. How many times have we caught ourselves. Both those increase greatly once you start college. But they don’t have to!
I was actually never really a procrastinator in high school, and definitely not at work, but once I got to college I found myself not planning enough, leaving unpleasant tasks till later, etc… Why did I? Mainly because of stress. At some point you get so stressed you can’t do it anymore, you don’t care, you just leave it…of course then it’s worse.
I was studying 6 classes, 4 of which were design classes–hands on, many projects, very involved–which, quite honestly, I didn’t like at all. (I have now transferred to business, which I love.) I also didn’t have a great class schedule. So between a decently big work load and having to learn something I didn’t enjoy at all, it was hard to get stuff done with pleasure, drive and even minimal effort. In the end I did well, and I got very good grades for the most part, but it was hard. Which leads me to the next part….
3. Study what you love!
Like everything in life, if you do what you love you will work harder, do better and have fun. My favorite class last semester was my business class. I loved it. But I was studying interior design. I thought I’d like it, and of course there’s no real way to know until you try. But I found out eventually that I really, really didn’t like design and that I loved business.
So I transferred my major to business management, and I am so excited to start out my spring semester studying something I love. And although the first two years are mostly core classes, non-related to your degree and boring, knowing that they bring you closer to what you love, and not to something that is an endless drudergy, is what makes all the difference!
4. You’re the only one looking out for you!
Most universities and colleges are so big that you’re just a small drop in the bucket. Just one more student. Therefore advisors and staff, and even professors, don’t look out for you and your individual interests, needs, studying preferences, or schedules. YOU need to go out and get what you need.
I figured out pretty quickly that between advisors to whom you are simply one more student and the school beauracracy, if you let them make decisions for you, they’re not going to be the best for you.
Inform yourself before meeting with faculty. If you know the basics of how something works or have a general idea of what classes you need, etc…you will be able to ask questions and get things done in your best interest. Don’t wait for others to help you. If you do, you’re not going to get anywhere.
5. Find the best place to study and do homework!
This may seem trivial, but being comfortable when you study and do homework is very important. I study some while at school, some at home. While I was at school I found my favorite building, area, and where I should go depending on if I wanted more quiet, needed a table, etc…
Maybe you prefer a cafe, maybe someplace real quiet. I don’t live on campus, but if you do you could maybe study in your room. Get comfortable, and like with the R&R, your brain will work better and everything you do will turn out for the best!