August is here. Summer is fading out and fall is pushing in. Gone are the days of beach and swimsuit commercials, they have been replaced with back to school commercials. For those getting ready to start a new semester of college, or even those going away for the very first time, it can be very overwhelming. College brings about a lot of freedom, joined with alot of responsibility. So, here are the most important things I leaned while tacking my undergraduate career.
Call your parents! I can not stress this one enough. Your parents want to hear from you, and not just when you want money or a care package. My mom and I had awesome conversations while I was a way in school. There was a shift in dynamic, I was no longer just her child, but a responsible adult. I’m not saying call and check-in every day but, at least once a week. Set aside about 20 minutes once a week to call and check-in, let them be involved in your week, and get involved in theirs. That phone call may mean the world to them, because believe me they miss you more than you know.
Make nice with your professors! Remember in grade school when you made fun of “teacher’s pets?” Well I’m here to tell you, you shouldn’t have. In college it’s not abnormal to have a professor that has no clue who you are. Going to class is not enough! You need to be proactive, get to know your professors. Go to their office hours, discuss assignments, or just pick their brains. Now most would confuse this with sucking up but in all actuality, this is to your advantage. Every professor likes to know that their students are engaged and actually gaining knowledge from their class. Every professor grades differently and looks for different things. Once you get to know their style, I guarantee you will have a much easier time scoring high. You pay tuition for them to help you through the semester, there is absolutely no need for you to struggle. But, you will have some late nights and early mornings, but you can do it! I had one professor that truly gave me a run for my money. In the beginning I could earn no greater than a C on her papers. I had never gotten a C on a paper in my life. I started going to her office hours discussing my papers, learning her layouts and expectations and by the end of the semester earned an A in the class!
Get Active! Try to become an active part of your college community. I don’t just mean being the life of the campus parties, or being known for the person that can take the most shots, but actually get to know key people on campus. Take time finding the student centers, counseling center, and especially tutoring centers. Utilize all of your resources! Whether it be with a campus job, internship, or joining clubs, get involved. When you graduate you will be looking for jobs. You will also need references and reference letters. Since up to that point you may not have had much work experience, your campus activity will give your future employer an idea of who you are. Sitting in your dorm room listening to music is cool, but you have to get out of your comfort zone sometimes to set yourself a part from the many others who will be graduating with you. In my last semester of college I was working for the university newspaper, held an internship in the Alumni office, and knew all of my professors. They were all good people who in turn did not hesitate to write me reference letters, or anything else I needed when it was time for me to graduate.
Use your meal plan wisely! In beginning of the semester you generally get a hefty amount of meal plan money. Although, this may differ from university to university, the one thing that’s the same is no one wants to be starving by the end of the semester! So, use your swipes wisely and try not to get in the habit of swiping your friends meals!
College Will Eventually End! I heard it so many times and I let it go in one ear and out the other, “These are the best years of your life.” College allows you to be selfish, make decisions, and mistakes. You get the opportunity to learn who you really are outside of your parents. Although this time will come to an end, make the best of it while you have it. Party, hang out, meet new people, take this time to live your authentic life. Once you cross that tassel, it’s nothing but bills and adulthood waiting for you.
Also, take this time to think about the person you want to be once you graduate. Start considering if you want to go straight to gradute school or to the work force. Don’t wait until the last minute to start your job search. Be proactive! Make time during your last year to mentally prepare for the transition that is up ahead.
Overall, have fun! Although exams, midterms, and finals seem like corporal punishment, that’s a cakewalk compared to what you will face in the real world. Take this time to learn and grow in your purpose!
What is something you wish you knew in college you know now? Or college students, what would you like to know? Let’s talk about it in the comments!