Top Tips for College

  1. Get Organised. In secondary school, the teachers tended to lead you through all the homework and due dates. In college, the lecturers post the assignments — often for the entire semester — and expect you to be prepared. Buy an organiser, use an app, or get a big wall calendar — whatever it takes for you to know when assignments are due.
  2. Find the ideal place for you to study. It may be your room or a cosy corner of the library, but find a place that works best for you to get your work done — while avoiding as many distractions as possible.
  3. Seek a balance. College life is a mixture of social and academic happenings. Don’t tip the balance too far in either direction. One motto to remember is to “study hard, play hard.”
  4. Get involved on campus. A big problem for a lot of new students is a combination of homesickness and a feeling of not quite belonging. A solution? Consider joining a select group — and be careful not to go overboard — of student organisations, clubs, societies, or sports teams. You’ll make new friends, learn new skills, and feel more connected to your school.
  5. Make time for you. Be sure you set aside some time and activities that help you relax and take the stress out of your day or week. Whether it’s enlisting yoga techniques, watching your favourite television shows, or writing in a journal, be good to yourself.
  6. Don’t feel pressured to make a hasty decision about a career or a major. It doesn’t matter if it seems as though everyone else seems to know what they’re doing with their lives — believe me, they don’t — college is the time for you to really discover who you are, what you enjoy doing, what you’re good at, and what you want to be. It’s not a race; take your time and enjoy exploring your options.
  7. Make connections with students in your classes. One technique could be, in the first week of classes try to meet at least one new person in each of your classes. This will expand your network of friends — and can be a crucial resource at times if you have to miss a class.
  8. Stay healthy/Eat Right. A lot of problems first-year students face can be traced back to an illness that kept them away from classes for an extended period of time that led to a downward spiralling effect. Get enough sleep, take your vitamins, and eat right. If you haven’t heard the jokes about college food, you soon will. And without mam or dad there to serve you a balanced meal, you may be tempted to go for those extra chips or cookies.
  9. Keep track of your money. If you’ve never had to create a budget, now is the time to do so. Find ways to stretch your money – and as best you can, avoid all those credit card temptations you’ll soon be receiving. The average credit card debt of college grads is staggering.
  10. Be prepared to feel overwhelmed. There’s a lot going in your life right now. Expect to have moments where it seems a bit too much. As one student says, be prepared to feel completely unprepared. The trick is knowing that you’re not the only one feeling that way.
  11. It really is not the end of the world. Sometimes you realise the course you chose is not for you.  There are always other options like transferring to a different course. As the saying goes “What’s for you, won’t pass you by”
  12. Talk it out.  We all get stressed or sometimes just need some advice.  You’d be surprised at how easier things can be if you talk to a friend, family member or a lecturer.  They may have come across the same problem in the past and are always there to help you.

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