Saturday, December 10, 2016

10 Tips for Freshman in College

1. Schedule, schedule, schedule

It is absolutely necessary to have some type of planner or agenda to write down homework and other assignments. Chances are, you will forget something during the year. A great idea is to write down all of your final dates and times as soon as they become available to you. If any finals conflict make sure talk to your professor about it, because some can get a bit touchy about rescheduling.


2. Time Management


If you are living in the dorms, time management is arguably the most difficult object to overcome. There is no one there to tell you to do your work, wake up, go to class, study, etc. Procrastination is usually the hardest lesson to learn: it does not pay off, and it only leads to a very stressful all-nighter before a test. Instead, paying attention during class (staying awake is sometimes a feat in itself) will be much more productive.


3. Balance your classes


Generally, watch out for math and foreign language classes. Now if these are your favorite subjects/intended majors completely disregard this, but these classes tend to be more difficult than usual for the average person. Do not load yourself too much with very hard classes (especially first semester). It takes time to adjust. Also, do not be afraid to drop classes, just watch out for the drop deadline. It is not some terrible travesty if you need to drop a class because you are overloaded, sometimes people drop classes just because they find the subject too boring.


4. Early mornings


In high school many people had to wake up very early, from 6am through 8am. Even if you have been able to do this well for the past four years (and especially those that could barely make it to school on time), try to schedule your classes later. If they are too early you will be more prone to skipping them in favor of sleep. Even if you feel that you will be fine, believe me, your sleeping patterns will most likely change. It is also no use for you to be there, if you are just sleeping in lecture, and not even retaining any information.


5. Look up professors/past grades before registering


I do not know how people would live without sites like ratemyprofessors.com. It is infinitely helpful to read reviews about professors, since often (although rather sadly) they will impact your grade more than the subject matter may. Some professors are extremely easy, while others are very difficult: all within the same subject. Also look to see if your school provides past grading percentages for certain classes; these are very helpful when deciding how challenging a class is.


6. Food issues


Food is definitely an issue on many college campuses. Hopefully your dining hall is good and the (usually required) meal plan is sensible. I have had very difficult experiences with dining hall food – believe me, no matter how good it might taste initially, it will get bland. This may be a different scenario if you are going to Cornell or another school with an excellent repute for high quality food.


At some point you will probably order takeout. Campusfood.com is a godsend, here. Check to see if your school is listed, and if it is: welcome to eating food at all hours of the day.


7. Freshman fifteen


Being a girl, the freshman fifteen was naturally a worrisome concept. However, I surprisingly lost roughly ten pounds my first semester. I was so accustomed to eating good food at home and having a structured schedule, that when I was thrown into college everything completely changed. I would often skip meals to go to class, sleep later, or shower. The food began to taste very bland after the first two months, and being a vegetarian I naturally had already limited options.


Now, second semester was a different story. I began to stay up very late every night and naturally would end up being hungry at 1am-2am. Partying more frequently also made me gain more weight. I am assuming my metabolism also became adjusted to all the walking I had to do everyday; together all these factors made me gain weight. This was the semester where I gained around fifteen pounds. I made the mistake of only going to the gym a few times: take advantage of it if the membership is included in your tuition.


8. Manage your money


You will never see money disappear faster than at college. Most of it will go towards food and other consumables. I suggest giving yourself a fixed amount of money to spend per a week, or it might get out of hand. Also keep in mind that the school probably charges a lot more for products found in on-campus shops because of their convenience. It might be worth your while, if transportation is cheap or free, to travel to your local downtown college area and see if the prices are worth the distance.


If you are interested in having a job, I would wait until second semester to apply. Why? Chances are you will have the time (you will never realize how many minutes are in a day until now), but sometimes your workload might be too intense to manage. Especially first semester, I personally feel it is more important to take care of your academic priorities before looking for more money. However, if you absolutely need extra cash, what can you do? I would suggest trying to juggle your schedule as best as you can.


9. Some tips for doing well in class


There are a few things you can do to be more successful in any class. First, make friends in each one. These people will help you out more than that TA that can barely speak English or your busy professor. Sure, you can visit office hours, but for some subjects it is not very helpful. Form study groups and find the people that know what they are doing in that class.


Always have a general idea what your current grade is, and how other people are doing. Curves are God’s gift in a difficult class, but it usually depends on how the entire class is doing.


Always check your school email. Always. Cancellations, assignments, etc. are sent at any time of day.


10. Don’t get too carried away


Lastly, there is not much to say besides try to make intelligent decisions. Be safe. Do not do things you might regret the next day. Try not to get caught up in everything that is going on. Have fun, and just remember these are the last four years of your life before serious employment (or grad school).


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