The best four years of your life. College has the reputation of being those life-changing, self-discovery years. You truly expand into who you are meant to be. However, starting college can be daunting and overwhelming. Success in college means much more than getting good grades and going out on the weekends. Continue reading to learn how to balance all the areas of life to learn how to be successful in college.
Discipline is the backbone to all Success
Leaving high school and entering college is a huge transition in authority and structure. College grants you the freedom to determine how you want your schedule, while also having a lot less guidance from teachers and administrators.
This new found freedom is exciting, but needs to be harnessed in order to make the most of it.
Time. There’s a lot of it, yet it always seems like there’s never enough. Most college classes are two to three days a week and range from about 1 hour to 1 ½ hours per session. For a fulltime student, it’s common to have 4-5 classes a semester.
College courses are more independent and mostly consist of lectures and discussions. There are heavier work loads outside the classroom.
Scheduling your classes in a way that is productive to you is essential. Think about what time of day you work the best. Do you want to heavily set classes at the beginning of the week and have a day off towards the end? Do you want all morning classes so you are off for the day at noon?
It’s important to think about when you plan to grab food, do homework, and participate in extracurriculars like the gym or clubs.
Once you have your classes set, I recommend doing the hardest homework earliest in the day and work down to your easier work. By prioritizing productivity in the beginning of the day, you have more flexibility to make plans with friends or relax at the end of the day.
Choosing night classes or waiting to do homework at night, has brought me trouble in the past. When plans pop up, I am not able to make them.
In order to make sure you have time for everything in the day, I advise making a to-do list the night before. This way, you can go about your schedule effectively. The art of checking items off your list will also help you feel productive and high energy.
For me I use my 4th generation Ipad air and I use the apple pen on Goodnotes to organize my day.
Everyone has heard of the broke college student, and it’s true. Many underclassmen do not work during their first few semesters to get used to the college lifestyle and workload. Even when people start to get jobs, it is difficult to fit many hours based on busy student schedules.
Fortunately, dining plans are common and extremely useful in saving money and time. However, money tends to go fast when fun plans arise, or you need more furniture for your dorm room.
Here I recommend a budget in order to save money efficiently. However, its still important to divulge in the college experience. Living below your means is crucial in saving money. You will thank yourself later when costs like textbooks stack up.
Note on Textbooks: Wait to buy the textbook for a course unless it is absolutely necessary for the class. Books can range up to hundreds of dollars. You will quickly learn if the textbook is optional or necessary to buy after syllabus week, so wait until you have your first class with the professor.
Now where’s the fun part? Life is all about balance. In order to have that college experience that you dream about, you need to take action toward your goals.
College is one of the best times for meeting new people and starting fresh. Those first two weeks of college are crucial in making connections with just about anyone and everyone.
I know this can sound daunting, especially for introverts, but a temporary surge of extrovertedness will pay off in the long run. As a senior now, some of my closest friends were made in the first few weeks of each semester.
The beginning of each semester is the best opportunity to branch out. When it comes time to settle in about a month in, most people separate off into their groups. Then, it becomes significantly harder to meet new people outside of mutual friends.
Stepping outside your comfort zone is essential in creating that big community of friendship and life long relationships.
Try making goals for yourself during the first two weeks. Knock on your neighbors doors, say hi to people in the hall, always say yes to new plans. Even if you aren’t a big social butterfly, push yourself to go out those first few weekends to meet people and have those new experiences.
Once you have made a few small connections, it becomes a web after that. Everything just multiples and multiplies until you are familiar with your whole dorm building.
Taking steps to meet people in the beginning, will pay off when you have your core friends later down the line.
Click HERE to: Learn How to Travel as a College Student
Balance is key to Avoid burnout
You may want to see friends every day or try a million new clubs and hobbies, however it’s important to listen to your body and mind to avoid burnout.
Make sure to block out time for yourself to have alone time if needed, or to catch up on work instead of going out all the time.
FOMO is real but an illusion
You see everyone out having a good time, and you feel that you must be doing the same in order to be having the “college experience”.
One of the hardest things to learn in college is to avoid comparison with others, especially on social media. Everyone’s experience is going to be different, and you can’t judge someone’s life based on social media.
It can be hard to avoid comparing your experience with the highlights of others, but remember that everyone’s story is different and unique. You never know where you’ll be in a few months, or years.
Tackling workload Anxiety
College classes do not have the same hands on teaching style like high school. Attending office hours, and reaching out to classmates for study groups, is crucial in surviving those hard classes.
If you keep having late nights in the library, romanticize your experience. Treat yourself with coffee, study with friends or schedule small breaks on your phone. Part of the fun about college is the “we’re all in this together” mentality.
Many campuses also have resources for mental health if you are struggling, so don’t be scared to reach out.
Trial and Error New Interests
It’s really important to take your first few semesters to really broaden your mind on your different options in career paths and hobbies. It is more common for someone to change their major, than to stick with the same one for the entire four years.
Try out for the dance team, join boxing club, or attend spin classes. There are a vast variety of options to choose from on campus, so make sure to take advantage.
Embrace the Change
College goes by so fast, and everything from your life dreams, to your career path, to your best friends can all drastically evolve.
It’s important to embrace these changes as you are learning and growing through this time period.
College is what you make of it
These four years are full of opportunities to expand your horizon, but no one is holding your hand. The four years can go by where you only do what’s asked of you, and you may not be happy with the outcome.
It’s the extra initiative like meeting new people, trying new things, and keeping yourself accountable that make college the launching pad for your dream life.