Coming from an intense, private college-prep high school, I was ready for the heavy load, the writing and the boring lectures. There are a few things that no amount of studying could have prepared me for.
When packing for college, there are a few approaches you can take. You can shove everything you need haphazardly into your car or meticulously pack and label. Then, as you pack to go home from college, you don’t realize how much stuff you have acquired in the last school year: the things your parents bought you when they visited, your cool aunt has sent you things, the stuffed koala your first college boyfriend won for you, and now there is no room in your car on the way home. I would suggest donating items you can live without to a local thrift store.
When shopping for school supplies, never buy anything at the overpriced University bookstore. If your University does not have textbook rental, Barnes & Noble has a rental program that costs about $30 per book with free shipping on orders over $25.
If you can’t find a job, email your favorite professors and ask if they need help in their office. Still no job? Try posting flyers at the local library for services you can provide such as mowing grass, moving help, elementary tutoring, typing, editing, babysitting, dog walking or anything else you can think of.
When doing laundry, you can use Shout Color Catchers to prevent your clothes from fading or bleeding when you forget to or neglect to sort them. If you have multiple loads, remember you can usually shove two loads of wet laundry into one dryer.
Pizza, chicken nuggets, potato soup and biscuits and gravy happen to be the only decent food that’s constantly available at my school. Pace yourself and try to find healthier options. When I had a meal plan, I spent most of it on coffee and cookies in the library and went grocery shopping for real food. Also, go ahead and buy a reusable water bottle and never pay for water again!
When all else fails, make friends with older college students and ask them for advice!
Congratulations! You have completed high school, now you are off to college, full of hope and promise, ready to face the world.
Or are you?
If I had just asked myself that simple question, am I ready for college?, I could have saved myself time, money, and hardship.
Society forces the concept that students must go to college immediately after high school, while the knowledge obtained in the past four years is still fresh on their young minds. What society fails to realize is that many young people are not ready for the trials of higher education at eighteen.
High school prepares you to go to college, which is only half of the higher education experience. The other half, making it as an adult, involves life skills high school fails to cover. You may have the education and intellectual ability, but without the maturity, you will crumble in the first semester. The main components a young adult must master to make it on his own are financial responsibility, self motivation, and job skills.
As a teenager, I was blissfully unaware of the ugly side of money: bills. I never paid a bill in my life until I moved out, and unfortunately, neither does the majority of today’s youth. Even if your tuition has been covered by scholarships, there is still the cost of books, living expenses, etc. Without the knowledge of budgeting, these bills can pile up and suffocate you. The best advice I can give is to make a small investment in getting a financial advisor to teach you how to handle money. It will pay off in the long run, and save you from a whirlwind of stress.
High school teachers drill due dates, test dates, study guides, and homework into student brains, something the students often take for granted. They grow to expect it; they have no incentive to study on their own. This poses a problem for today’s college Freshman. Teachers will no longer baby the students, reminding them of every test, project and assignment. And, worse of all, no more study guides. You must study on your own will, sacrificing the free time we all crave.
You go through college with the expectancy of getting a job, but you must get a job to make it through college. Part time jobs may be hard to find, but most colleges offer on-campus positions to help students. These jobs are much better than off campus jobs, simply because the employers will be more understanding of your class and study needs when you need time off. The best way to make it is to get a job or paid internship in your field of study. For example, a Journalism major could apply for the college newspaper staff. The more experience in your line of work you gain through college, the easier it will be to get jobs in the real world.
College is about more than just school. If you learn to master academics with other imperative life skills, you will master all four years of schooling and beyond.
Registering for classes had to be my least favorite part of college. During the last month of the semester, when registration for the next term became available, worried students could only talk about the lack of seats in a needed class and how their registration time was inconvenient. For freshmen and sophomores, it is typically the worst. Since they’re farthest away from graduation, they typically get the scraps after the upper class-men have taken all the better classes; but that’s just the way it goes, it gets easier.
If you’re new to registering for classes; don’t worry, there are a couple of ways in which you can optimize your schedule for your benefit and make the whole process a little easier.
A website that I’m sure is mentioned by students on every campus, is Rate My Professors. Here students rate professors from easy to difficult, comment on the best or worst classes of theirs, as well as rate their attractiveness. Though I have used this site before, I often found that students would live by it and not enroll in a class they needed because of information they found. I figured that if I went to classes and did my work, it wouldn’t really matter what professor it was and it worked just fine for me.
Another thing to consider is what time you should schedule your classes. I’ve taken classes that started at seven in the morning, and some that got out around 10 at night; it all depends on what works for you. For most of my semesters, starting from my very first, I decided to schedule my classes for almost every day and during the time I was used to attending school. I had just graduated high school a few months earlier, and figured that it would make for an easy transition to have classes from 8 or 9 a.m. until just before three o’clock. This was great for me, because when I got out, I was done for the day and didn’t have to sit around on campus and do nothing, as many students do.
Also, you must think about your job (if you are lucky enough to have one) and make sure to schedule classes at times that don’t conflict with your job hours (or potential job hours). I would usually draw out a mock planner to see when my best times for class and work would be and go from there.
Now for my last bit of advice for this post, which will probably be told to you at orientation. Your first two years should be focused on GE (General Education), the easy classes that are required for all students. They’re easy and easy to get into, so it should make your first few registration days a little less stressful.