Expectations and reality don’t always match. Future freshmen like to imagine how they’ll ace all their subjects, become a party legend on campus, and get hired right after the commencement speech ends. While all these goals are theoretically achievable, no one succeeds right away. The road to happiness is long, winding, and full of obstacles. There are ways to make it much more enjoyable, though. Here are several pieces of advice that might help you jumpstart your college career properly.
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- Comfort zones are not synonymous with progress
A friend of mine, let’s call her Carol, always wanted to go to an out-of-state school. She actually got accepted to her first choice college, kissed everyone goodbye and happily left home. Here’s where the problems started. This was Carol’s first time away from her family, so instead of going out and exploring campus life, she spent hours feeling homesick and texting her high school friends. Eventually, she joined a volunteer group and found amazing new friends to hang out with, but her first couple of months on campus had already been wasted. The moral of the story is - don’t be like Carol.
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- No one will think less of you if you ask for help
When you’re in a new environment, you always want to be perceived as more knowledgeable, experienced, and cooler than you actually are. I’ve known people who would rather miss a class than ask someone for directions to the right building. However, considering the amount of resources available, not asking for assistance when you need it is the epitome of uncool. Ask your advisors, professors, and administrative staff. Ask the upperclassmen. They were just as wide-eyed a couple of years ago.
- Be mindful of your time
Think of your time as if it were a bank account. Whenever you do something unproductive or unenjoyable, the time/money is simply wasted. What you need to do is learn to budget it properly. People who are good at time management actually have more free time on their hands than those who procrastinate and do everything at the last minute.
- Get your priorities straight
You are a newly-minted adult. If you were a cell-phone, you’d still have a warranty. Take some time to understand what kind of person you are. Ask yourself challenging questions. Try weird things. Choose classes simply because they interest you. Can you honestly say you’ve got your whole life figured out? Don’t rush to choose a major. You might make a mistake. Even if you do, though, remember that it’s never too late to change.
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- Don’t let good opportunities pass you by
Colleges go out of their way to create the most favorable circumstances for their students. There are networking events, job fairs, exchange programs, and so on. All of them will look great on your resume, and are quite enjoyable. Go for it!