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I am a Freshman in college and as my first semester is coming to a close I thought I'd share with you what I've learned in hopes it will help someone else be more prepared for their first semester:
1. Be prepared, but not over prepared.
- It's not the same as high school in terms of supplies. My first semester I bought the same the same school supplies I did for all my years of high school but, turned out I didn't need most of them. although this may not be true for you and all of your classes I suggest you go to the first day before you assume. Most of the time a computer, a few pens, and a notebook are all you need.
- Get a computer. You will not make it through college without one. Almost all of my classes have online work and require you to bring your computer to class daily. Your phone will not cut it.
- Get your books before the school year actually starts. Shipping is slow and the school bookstore sells out fast. Sites like Amazon and Chegg are your best friends as well as your school's online bookstore if they have one.
- E-books are a life saver. You can read during breaks, between classes, or have your textbook with you without the extra weight.
- Renting books is a great option. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BUY YOUR BOOKS. Renting is so much cheaper and will save you so much in the long run. Just make sure you put in your calendar when they are due because overdue = more money spent.
3. Be on time. / Don't skip.
An easy way to do well in college is to just show up, be on time, and be ready to pay attention. If you don't show up it's harder to learn the material. Many professors also give out grades for attendance which can mean a whole letter grade in some courses. If you show up late regularly, teachers don't like you. Once you're in class pay attention don't be the girl who sat in front of me in my math class looking at horses every day on her computer then complaining she didn't know the material. If you're going to show up be ready to learn. If your computer or phone distracts you put them away. You're not paying a ton to waste your time.
- Make a friend: During the first week try to make one friend in each of your classes. It doesn't need to be someone you want to talk to every day, just someone who can send you the notes if you missed or clarify the homework assignment you've been working on.
- Ask questions in class: Teachers love this If they see you involved you're more likely to do better and have a clearer understanding of what's being asked.
5. Do the homework.
Yeah yeah, homework is boring. You may have been able to get away with not doing the homework in high school but college you probably won't. Even when the professor doesn't grade the homework directly a lot of what you need to learn pop up in the homework and are not mentioned in class. Plus doing the homework boosts your grade in general.
6. Be organized.
Get a planner or download google calendar. Once you get all of your syllabi, write down when things are due because deadlines sneak up fast and you don't want to get a poor grade on an assignment just because you forgot about it. Also, make sure you have a to-do list every day of what you need to get done, it makes life easier and you're less likely to forget.
7. Getting Involved
My college really pushes you to get involved, it comes up in every class. For me personally, that got really overwhelming. Although it is good to get involved I really suggest talking baby steps like one new commitment activity a semester and then go to a few of the random events held on campus. This way you are getting involved but you aren't putting too much on your plate.
8. Know what resources are available to you.
My school, in particular, has a lot of resources available on campus and I still have not been able to check out all of them but I am aware of what is there and you should be too. Do some research on your school's website to see what resources are available and make a list of some that will be helpful for you. Whether it be the food pantry, a tutoring lab, or the school's gym anything that can be helpful is worth taking a look at.
9. Don't overwhelm yourself.
You don't need to do everything at once you have 4 years at this school you can take it little by little. Putting too much on your plate won't do anything other than ruin college.
You are at college to learn and have fun. Make sure you focus on both aspects but still make time for yourself and college will be a great place for you to grow and find who you truly are.