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College has been very stressful thus far, but I am sure that you can avoid that with some helpful tips!
1. Be early to class:
This may be inconvenient (especially for that 8 AM) but it will help you in many ways. You can pick your own seat — which definitely matters. If you show up late, your “unassigned seat” — that’s yours, will be taken by someone else. A lot of professors will say important things at the beginning and before class too! If you show up early, you can also ask your professors those embarrassing questions you are too afraid to ask in front of everyone else.
2. Go to your professors’ office hours:
Each of your professors have to have office hours — which are mandatory and there to help you. They are for you to go see your professors and ask questions that are very important to you. I barely went to my professors’ office hours and if I actually did, let’s just say my grades would have been better. Utilize their office hours — even if you don’t need immediate or crucial help. If professors see that you care enough to go to their office hours, they are likely to bump your grade up and realize that you are putting your full effort in. In addition, it is also a good idea to create positive relationships with your professors for future references, questions, and favors.
3. Try to get an on-campus job or do work-study:
Work study can be a pain in the butt, but that small paycheck can really make a difference. A lot of people choose not to work during their college years, but working small amounts — can change your saving’s account and your social life. You should also look for an on-campus job that requires little work — such as being a receptionist. I am currently a receptionist and although it does get busy at times, I get a lot of my work done, while getting paid. An on-campus job can also help boost your self-esteem and leave you feeling positive after your shift. Working can create stress, but also reduce it — depending on the hours and the job!
4. Ask your friends on Facebook about books and class materials, before buying them elsewhere:
I think we all know that class materials can be extremely expensive and a lot of them, you don’t even end up reading. I have asked friends and Facebook members if they have class materials before buying them and it has saved me a lot of money. More importantly, if your school has a library — check to see if the books are there, it can save you money in the long run. I have also depended on books on reserve in the library and I would just go there to do all of my school work. Although, this could be an inconvenient approach, it has saved me thousands of dollars.
5. Plan with meals, decide what is better (off or on campus):
My first two years at school I bought a meal plan, which was extremely expensive with small portions of food. Meal plans on campus can be beneficial and preferred by many of you, but can be inconvenient for many others. If you decide to eat in your apartment, I would create a personalized plan so that you can budget your money and time usage. On-the-go snacks can work well, but can lead to malnourishment. I would just examine the pros and cons, and decide what meal plan is best for you!
6. Create specific time slots for studying and class work:
I am guessing that a lot of you immediately skipped over this one, because you know this already. I knew it too, but in the end, I did not make enough time for my class work. Socializing, exercising, eating, hobbies, sleeping, and classes, take up a lot of time in a week. I imagine that like everyone else, you most likely have an imbalance with all of these activities. Having slots for class work allows your mind to be focused and organized on one thing. Your friends will wait to see you, if they truly care about you — I cannot say this enough. College is difficult and time consuming — beyond just class attendance, if it were easier, everyone would do it. More importantly, college is expensive. Please do not tell me that in three years you are going to be okay with paying loans for a class you did not even open a book for; that would kind of suck. Making time for class work is important and without it college is pointless.
7. Limit your time doing unnecessary things until you get used to your class load:
I have made this mistake countless times, because I overestimated exactly how difficult each semester would be. As much as you want to relax and binge watch Netflix, in three months when you get your final grades back, you would regret it. I would just wait and see how each semester affects you and after a while, you will know what you can handle — without burning out.
8. Self-Care is important, more than ever before.
Lastly, attending college, in addition to other activities, can be overwhelming. Regardless of what class you are, self-care will always be important. Even a half hour a day of doing “me-time” is better than none at all. I am pretty sure that you know what you want to do, so just do it! For example, I really appreciate drinking a coffee and scrolling through advocacy news. That is my cup of tea — I advise you to find yours.
College should be a happy and worthy experience; it is full of many opportunities. I understand that many things can get you down, but try your best to not let it. Regardless of how developed your school is, they may have resources that you can use, such as: tutoring, counseling, and a gym. These are important years for you, do not spend them behind a screen not having a laugh once in a while. Also remember, time flies — make sure you make it worth it!