So welcome week is behind you. Syllabus week is a long-forgotten memory, a week seeming as if it was a dream. You’ve been at college for almost a month now. Your schedule is filled with classes, group meetings, different clubs and activities, your social life, late night snacking and the constant struggle to leave the warm confines of your bed. The high that is starting college is slowly fading away. College is simply just what you do now.
So where to go from here? Here are some helpful tips on how to hit the ground running with your first semester in college.
Make a schedule
As someone who was so used to the time comforts of high school: wake up, go to class, go to practice, come home, eat dinner, do homework, repeat. College can seem like a shock therapy session in time management. If you are anything like myself, you are going to struggle with this newly acquired freedom. So how do you fix this? Make a schedule and stick to it. For me, this works best with my calendar on my laptop, which I in turn sync up with my phone and email. It’s comforting to know what your week is going to look like Sunday night, rather than scrambling around each day. Write down when you have class, meetings, when you want to go to the gym or even when you are thinking about chunking off time for doing homework. Take the time to make a schedule to make things easier for yourself in the long run.
Get involved early, find what you like
One of the first things almost anyone giving advice about college is going to tell you is to get involved in as many things as possible. I’m only going to agree with part of this statement. Getting involved early is one of the best ways to meet other people around campus that maybe are not your roommate or floor mates. However, don’t just get involved in what everyone else is doing because that’s what everyone else is doing. Take a little time and do the research to find out the different clubs and activities offered at your school that are either interesting to you or could help you out in the professional world. If you want to go into TV production, join your college TV station. Find what you enjoy and are passionate about.
Get to know your professor/advisor
Now I’m not saying that you need to be on a first name basis with all of your professors, but it wouldn’t hurt. Develop a good relationship with your different professors early, especially with professors teaching classes within your specific majors. Chances are you might be having them for another class, and a soured relationship is not going to help. With your advisor especially, make a point to stop by and visit outside of the few times of the year you are required to meet with them. Drop by and have a casual conversation about your plans outside of college or even get to know them a little better. Advisors are here to help and guide you in any way possible. If things aren’t clicking between the two of you, make a change. Advisors are an invaluable resource you will only be able to tap unless you make the effort.
Avoid going home as long as possible
While this may be the most extreme advice so far, I firmly stand by it. As someone who lives less than three hours from home, the temptation is there. Sleeping in your own bed, eating mom and dad’s cooking, lounging around in sweatpants, seeing your favorite pet, I get all of that. But that is not what college is about. Only when you truly immerse yourself into your campus campus and lifestyle will you be able to get the most out of college.
Start thinking about life after college
I know, only a three weeks into college and I’m telling you start thinking about the rest of your life. Now I’m not saying you need to have your next 10 years mapped out, but it is a good idea to start thinking of your future early. Keep an open-mind about different careers, look for internships that interest you, spend time in career services, go to the mock interviews and resume days. As someone who wonders on a daily basis where the last three years of my life went, things move quickly in college, so be prepared for that.
You are going to feel overwhelmed
And it’s ok. This is going to happen to you at some (and probably multiple) points in your college career. Whether it is during finals week or maybe just some random day in the middle of the semester, have a plan to get through this feeling. Take a breath, take a walk and clear your mind. The only way to get through this feeling is start with the little things you need to get done. Make a list and start crossing things off. I have found crossing things off a list can be one of the biggest confidence builders out there.
College is going to be one of the most unique, special and important time periods of your life. Don’t let it go to waste. Enjoy the time you spend with your friends, go to that event you wouldn’t normally go to, strike up a conversation with a random person. Make the most out of your time here, because you will soon find out how quickly your time here is.