There is a reason many people fondly look back on their years in college. At this stage, you will have more freedom than you ever had, but you will not yet carry all the responsibilities of adulthood. However, things don't always feel that way. It's easy to burn out when attending classes, making friends, dealing with roommates, and more. Instead, you can prosper if you take control of the situation from the start.
Part 1 of 5: Dealing with the Academics of College
Step 1. Go to class
In large freshman classes, no one is likely to take attendance, which means you won't have the same problems you might have in high school. However, this does not mean that you should not attend class; In addition, some teachers will have an attendance policy. Most importantly, if you miss class, you will miss out on valuable knowledge. Don't make life harder for yourself by forcing yourself to study the night before your exam. Also, college is expensive; Therefore, if you miss class, you will be wasting a lot of money for yourself or your parents ($ 50 to $ 150 per class hour, if you are in the US).
- Read the readings and take notes when you do. You will be able to retain much more information if you read actively; also, your notes will be very useful when the exams approach.
- Participate if the class requests it. Many college students hate or are afraid of speaking in front of groups; However, if you can overcome this problem, this will allow you to get much more (and enjoy) your classes. Don't be afraid to be wrong, as the teacher just wants you to try and they probably didn't ask a question with a "right" or "wrong" answer.
Step 2. You should be ready to spend a lot of time on your academic assignments
You should dedicate the same amount of time to your academic tasks that you would dedicate to a full-time job, a minimum of 40 hours a week. Estimate that you will spend an average of 2 additional hours for every hour you spend in class. The balance will vary according to the subject (for example, the Laboratory subject will require more hours in class); however, you will do much of the most difficult work in the library or your bedroom.
Step 3. Know what plagiarism is and how to avoid it
Some people plagiarize because they think they can get away with it; on the other hand, others do it because they really don't know what it is. Either way, you will be responsible for it and they will catch you. Many schools have very severe penalties for this behavior, such as failing the course automatically or placing a special mark on your grade record.
- Obvious plagiarism includes copying someone else's work and presenting it as your own, and using someone else's words or ideas without citing them.
- If you don't put quotes between quotes, this is also considered plagiarism, as you will provide inaccurate or incorrect information about a source. This is particularly bad if you create a font.
- Inappropriate paraphrasing is also considered plagiarism. Paraphrasing consists of summarizing the essentials of an idea using your own words. However, if you keep most of the words in the original idea, this can be considered plagiarism, particularly if you use the same basic sentence structure or if the length or style of the passages are substantially similar.
- In a more general sense, academic dishonesty can include asking others for help when they have instructed you to do all the work yourself, working with someone else on a project when collaboration has not been allowed, and pay others to do your job.
Step 4. Meet your teachers
Here's a little secret: Many teachers sit at their desks during office hours, waiting and looking forward to anyone coming up. If you are that person, they will appreciate you very much. If you have a question, this is a great way to ask, as it will let the teacher know your name. However, you can visit him at the beginning of the semester just to say hello and introduce yourself.
Be reasonable with your expectations. Your teachers won't review your reports for you or provide topics for your essays. However, they are usually very happy to talk to you about your ideas in order to clarify them
Step 5. Check your email
Many college students find it more natural to send messages rather than emails; however, keep in mind that your teachers will not give you their phone numbers. If you want to stay informed about your subjects, you will have to check your email frequently. Here you will read the notices of your professors, the faculty, etc.
If your courses use an online course manager (such as Blackboard or similar), you will also need to review them constantly. Often times assignments and grades will only be posted there. If you don't check them often, you will miss them
Step 6. Learn to use the library
This refers to the physical library and online databases. Your teachers will assign you many of them (in particular, at the beginning); however, you will also have to learn how to research yourself. You can schedule an orientation with a librarian, particularly if you have never used the services of a conventional library. It is certain that you will not be the only one, so do not feel ashamed.
Most libraries have a reference librarian for specific areas, such as pure science, music, or English. If you have a large project to do, it's a good idea to check with your subject's reference librarian. He will be up-to-date and aware of the latest research, and will be able to point you to the best sources
Step 7. Be receptive to new ideas
Regardless of your identity, you are likely to read things that you disagree with. They do this on purpose, as your teachers seek to assign you readings from many different perspectives. For this reason, they will assign you readings that they do not agree with either. You do not have to coincide with the writers who question your beliefs, but try to identify what they think and what makes them influential. This may be part of the reason they were assigned to you.
Step 8. Keep track of your progress towards your undergraduate degree
Colleges will require you to complete a set number of credits in various areas: general education (perhaps divided by subjects), career subjects, and electives. Visit your counselor frequently to make sure you are on track; otherwise, you may have to pay for summer classes or an additional semester that you did not anticipate.
Step 9. Consider other options besides your career
If you are studying an engineering degree, take a literature course. If you study poetry, try biology. These are just examples. Either way, you will be exposed to new people, new ideas, and perhaps a new subject that you didn't know you were interested in.
Employers tend to be more interested in applicants who can perform a wide variety of activities (such as writing a coherent sentence and analyzing formulas), rather than people whose focus is so specialized that they cannot cope with the diverse demands of the job market. modern
Part 2 of 5: Coping with your social life
Step 1. Determine the type of lifestyle you want to lead and stick with it
Some people see college as basically an opportunity to be free. Others believe that subjects are the only priority. Many people are likely to be in the middle. Whatever your position, there will be other people who think like you. Don't feel pressured to drink or do anything you don't want to do.
With this in mind, remember that college is the stage where you learn to be an adult on your own. Make decisions that match your values and make you feel happy. Keep in mind that sometimes you and your parents (or other authority figures) might disagree, and there is no problem with that
Step 2. Learn to live with roommates
It's difficult to share a room, particularly if you've never had to share a room in the past. The best way to start is to discuss how the space will be used, and to respect the decisions that have been made.
- This includes decisions about physical space and behavior. What do you think about drinking alcohol in the room, throwing parties, or allowing visitors to stay all night? Try to reach an agreement and, if this is not possible, check with the administrator.
- If problems arise, raise your concerns. There is no use being passive aggressive or letting things get worse. Your roommate may not be doing things on purpose to annoy you, so give them the benefit of the doubt and see if they can solve the problems.
- Even if you and your roommate are getting along great, it's a good idea to spend time apart. You should not get to the point of spending a lot of time with him and not being able to make other friends.
- You may not tolerate your roommate or your best friend and always chat with him; In either case, it might help to find a place outside your bedroom where you can study, whether that's the library or the local coffee shop.
- If nothing works, keep in mind that you will learn valuable people skills that will help you deal with difficult people in the future.
- Talk to the manager if you feel threatened by your roommate or if your roommate engages in illegal behavior. You may be able to change rooms. At least you will have a record that indicates that you have reported the activity and have not participated in it.
Step 3. Be safe
College brings new freedoms, but it also presents new risks. Your behavior should not harm your health.
- If you are going to consume alcohol, do so in moderation and have an assigned driver. Also, be aware that your school may have rules that prohibit drinking alcohol on campus, even if you are old enough to drink.
- College women have likely heard a lot of advice over the years on how to avoid rape and other types of sexual assault, such as not finishing your drink right away, walking down well-lit walkways, telling a friend where to go. they will find and what time they will arrive home, etc. However, it is essential that you know that, regardless of the behavior you perform, the only person responsible for any attack will be the aggressor, and you will have the right to take legal or other measures. Report the attacks to the police and talk to a counselor about next steps.
Step 4. Don't pressure people to do something they don't want to do
This applies in general, whether it be for drinking alcohol, skipping classes, having sex or anything else. Your parents will not be supervising you to punish you; however, you will be an adult who must take responsibility for your own actions.
Step 5. Be exposed to the diversity of your campus
This is likely to be the time in your life when you have the greatest opportunity to learn from people of totally different backgrounds than yours. You will be very lucky to have access to it, so take advantage of it.
Attend classes with a multicultural approach. Attend cultural events and conferences on campus. All of this will broaden your perspective and help you determine your own values. Even if you hold your ideas more firmly, it is good to know the opinion of others
Step 6. Join a club or activity
Not only will you have fun, you will also improve your ability to deal with different people, maintain an organization, etc. You may even find out later that you use these skills and experiences in your profession.
This advice is twofold for transfer or non-campus students, who may feel disconnected from life on campus
Part 3 of 5: Check Your Health
Step 1. Learn to eat healthy, even in a bedroom
You will be busy, surrounded by heavy food and on a limited budget; but at the same time you will have to take care of yourself for the first time. In this situation, it can be easy to choose to eat whatever is in the dining room, which may not always make you feel your best. Take care of yourself to have the necessary energy to fulfill all your responsibilities.
- Get energized with breakfast. Not everyone feels hungry in the morning, but for those who do, starting the day in a healthy way will allow them to face the first classes more easily. Go to the dining room and look for foods rich in fiber or protein, such as whole grain cereal, oatmeal, fresh fruits, yogurt, and eggs. Keep protein bars and non-perishable fruits in your bedroom to consume on mornings when you are in a rush.
- Get energized for the day with lunch and dinner. You can get the energy you need to get through the day by eating sandwiches with whole wheat bread and salads with lean protein. Also pay attention to portion sizes, which is very difficult to control in coffee shops, since you can eat as much as you can in them. Even large amounts of healthy foods can make you feel lazy.
- Get healthy snacks. Even if you don't have a refrigerator or microwave, you can keep some foods in your bedroom, like whole wheat bread, some peanut butters, granola bars, apples, bananas, some dried meat, and nuts. If you have a refrigerator or microwave, you can buy milk, yogurt, more fruit, and veggie burgers. Be careful with prepared foods, such as canned soup and frozen meals, which are often high in sodium.
- Keep in mind that it's all about moderation. With everything you're dealing with, it can be easy to think that food is the only thing you can control; however, it is essential that you make sure you do not restrict yourself too much. Of course, from time to time you can have a slice of pizza with your friends late at night. If you think your thoughts or behaviors are treading on dangerous territory, talk to the counseling center staff about support for treating eating disorders.
Step 2. Cope with stress through exercise
Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to manage the stress you face as a college student. You might think that you are too tired or do not have time to include this activity in your schedule; however, this will give you a lot more energy, so it will really be worth it. Your school likely has a gym that you can access at no cost.
- Determine when to go. You could be intimidated by a crowded gym, particularly if you are a beginner. It will be more crowded at the beginning of each semester, in the morning and in the evening. Go outside of office hours, if possible.
- You can request a session with a coach. College gym trainers are often students who can assess your fitness level and suggest an exercise plan.
- Try new types of exercise. Your gym is likely to offer all kinds of classes, from aerobics to zumba. Take responsibility for attending by signing up with a friend.
Step 3. Take care of your mental health
As a college student, you are likely to notice that you will face new types of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, relationship problems, etc. Your school health center will provide you with many resources to help you thrive despite these challenges. Feel free to take advantage of these resources.
- Many schools will provide confidential orientation sessions with a certified professional or graduate student. Often times, no amount will be charged for a certain number of sessions.
- You are also likely to find support groups, particularly those that address common problems among college students.
- If you experience a crisis, immediately contact 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), or a similar helpline in your region.
Part 4 of 5: Control your financial situation
Step 1. Only incur the debts that are absolutely necessary
You can get a great education anywhere, so you need to assess whether your dream school is really worth it. You may regret it after a few years if your student loan payments take up so much of your monthly budget, since you may not be able to afford a great boarding school, go to graduate school, or live wherever you want.
If you live in the USAand you have to borrow money, get as much federal financial aid as possible, before applying for private student loans. Federal student loans have lower interest rates and less stringent repayment plans, and subsidized loans even cover interest while you're enrolled in school
Step 2. Use credit wisely
Embracing adult responsibilities is part of college life, which will mean building a good credit history. It's often a good idea to apply for a student credit card, which will help you build your credit history. This will allow you to have a decent record and a good credit rating upon graduation, which will help you get an apartment or car loan.
- Don't think of it as a blank check to spend on whatever you want. You should continue to have a budget and stick to it.
- Do not spend more with your card than you can pay at the end of the month. This will prevent you from accruing interest on your purchases, and you will be less likely to spend money on something fun but unnecessary.
- Some credit cards geared toward students (like the Discover It card) even provide rewards for good grades. Every little contribution will help you!
Step 3. You can get a part-time job
This will be one more responsibility that will take time away from you; however, social activities cost money. Obviously, many students contribute towards the payment of their education or pay for it in full. Review work-study schedules for students that may provide more flexibility.
Step 4. Make your money work
Take advantage of being on a university campus. In addition to sports games, the campus will feature readings, plays, and many other activities that will often be cheaper for students. Also, some local businesses will give you a discount for being a student.
Step 5. Calculate your food expenses
You could benefit from purchasing a meal plan in college, depending on how much you eat and how easily you cook where you live. Most meal plans will give you a cost per day or per meal. Review your weekly grocery budget and determine whether the most economical is to eat most of your meals in the cafeteria or to cook more.
If you have a scholarship that includes a meal plan, you can maximize your money by consuming as many meals as possible on campus. This will give you more money to buy books or even splurge from time to time
Part 5 of 5: Get help if you need it
Step 1. Get help right away with subjects that give you trouble
Teachers generally love helping students, so don't hesitate to approach them for help. However, you should not wait for the end of the semester. By then, you may no longer be able to amend your grades, and your teachers will be busy with end-of-semester responsibilities.
- Remember that extra credits are rarely part of college classes. Every assignment counts.
- If you find that very extenuating circumstances will not allow you to complete an assignment on time, contact your teacher before the due date. He will prefer that you ask him to extend the deadline, rather than explain why you did not turn in the assignment.
Step 2. Go to the writing center
One of the biggest concerns for college professors is that their students may not have strong enough writing skills to be successful. If you are the exception to this trend, you will stand out from them. Many schools provide writing centers that will help you get through complicated assignments.
- You should not only know about spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc., but also what is expected in different subjects regarding the structure of the reports and the style of the citations.
- You can go to the writing center even if you have writing skills. Everyone can benefit if someone else reads your writing and recommends improvements.
Step 3. Enroll in your school's support system for people with disabilities
Universities often provide amenities to people who need them due to physical or mental reasons. These conveniences may include changes in the way tests are taken, assignments are delivered, etc. However, you will have to be proactive to guarantee these comforts for yourself.
- Keep in mind that while your teachers are experts in the subjects they teach, they are not qualified or appropriately qualified to determine the type of accommodations that each student requires. If you approach them at the end of the semester and point out that you have a mental illness that has hampered your academic work, they will likely show you empathy, but they won't be able to help you.
- Instead, reach out to your school's disability support system as soon as possible. Before getting the amenities, you will likely require certification from a mental health professional.
- Your teachers will not know your diagnosis, they will only identify the changes you require to be successful (such as more time during exams, a flexible attendance policy, etc.).