College 101: How to Survive your First Semester
For many of our recent matriculants, tomorrow begins today as their journey through life commences.
In a nutshell, it’s time for college. And, as much as we loved our school days, we wish we could go back in time purely to relive the excitement leading up university.
What to expect? Who will I see? Is it really one big party? Is it just fun times with friends all day, every day? With so many rumours and so much anticipation, it can be a little overwhelming. It’s tough enough to cope with your own nerves without wondering whether or not you’ll manage the pressures of campus.
So, here’s our guide to surviving your first semester.
In theory it seems like a daunting task. You’ve been told how hard college is, sometimes for good reason, but people have a way of exaggerating. Let’s not lie, it has its challenges but it’s not insurmountable.
So, our first pointer is to take a deep breath, relax and focus on enjoying the moment.
With Uni comes lots of things: freedom, independence, the promise of parties and fun. Lots of fun. However, fun has a way of distracting once eager and focused students. Yes, there are times to let loose, but it’s important to maintain a balance. Don’t make the mistake of getting so caught up in external activities that you neglect your core purpose. Remember why you’re there and let everything else fall into place.
Our top tip? If something compromises your work time, let it go. There’ll be plenty of fun later.
More importantly, however, is staying true to yourself. Never compromise your principles. Many of us were raised with certain beliefs and values, don’t let anyone taint them. Stay true to who you are and never feel as if you need to change to be accepted.
University is your chance to discover yourself and be surrounded by like minded people. Find a group of friends who accept and support you to grow together.
Always prioritise. Remember that this isn’t just the end of school, but the beginning of your future. Your decisions at Uni can define your career as a professional. Keep all your study related work up to date, submit assignments on time and always before your big night out.
Try and maintain an 80/20 ratio – studies first, fun second.
Commit to your studies, take responsibility, plan and avoid procrastination. Nobody at college cares if you were in class last week or your parents are worried. It’s a results business. You can be attentive, or you can bunk every day, the choice is yours, but what you can’t do is complain about it later. With great freedom comes equally great responsibility.
Admit when you need help and seek advice from those around you. Make sure you prepare timeously. Scrambling for notes or walking into class ten minutes later will only hurt you long term. It’s vital to establish the disciplines you’ll carry over into your working life now, when there’s no potential firing on the line.
Lastly, understand that if you were capable enough to get accepted, you’re smart and strong enough to see it through. Studying can be hard, but it’s important to persevere. Many students have come and passed before you, and a lot of them have done so while having their share of fun on the side. Be sociable, make new friends, take a few risks if you must. Just remember that your studies are always your first priority- so treat them as such.
Now, go forth and conquer!