How to Survive Your First Year of College

Now that it is August, school is right around the corner for you college-goers! The thought of going to college can be exciting and unreal. You are living on your own and constantly surrounded by your peers in class, after class, and at the dorm, especially when you are living on campus. You make new friends, new memories, and find yourself and who you want to be in the future. However, a lot of people take in the excitement and adventures, but those experiences take away one of the most important things about college: getting an education and focusing on the future. You are paying BIG money to go to school, not just to party. Just remember that..

I have definitely struggled my first year in college. I came into college ahead of my class (credits-wise), but now I feel behind to where I wanted to take summer classes, which I just finished. So hopefully you can learn from my mistakes and have a great first year!!

1. Pick the Right Professor: Professors can make or break your grade. The best thing to do is check Rate My Professors online. You can check the ratings and grades former students have received. They are rated by easiness, helpfulness, clarity, and rater's interest, followed by the overall quality of the professor. I check it every semester when scheduling classes. I also ask same-major upperclassmen what they think of a professor because they could tell you what the internet cannot.

2. Do NOT Skip Class: Many students think now that they are in college, they do not have to go to class. First of all, attending class is crucial for succeeding. Yes, you have friends that can lend you notes, but you will not get information your professor provides directly while in class. Also, in college, a professor can get through a lot of information - chapters worth, and if you miss that, you find yourself getting behind and then it becomes hard to catch up.

3. Get an Agenda or Planner: They will save your life! They help you keep on top of things and give you a perspective to set realistic goals. My agenda will definitely be my life. In mine, I have my daily work schedule, gym schedule, studying schedule, and of course, school assignments. It will also help me manage my time between all of these priorities and hanging with friends. If you want to see my agenda purchase, click here.

4. Stay Organized: Staying organized makes everything easier. School supply shopping is coming up, and you definitely want to get effective supplies. Are you a notebook and folder person or a binder person? For a lot of people, binders are more manageable and easier to organize the way you want it, whereas notebooks keep everything intact and together. I personally do not know what I am going to do yet; I may even do both, one method for different classes. All in all, when it's time for finals and exams, being organized will help you better study.

5. Create and Focus on a Goal: Creating goals will help motivate you when studying. Just think of the end product, how much work you put in determine your results. If you ever get stressed out due to endless homework assignments, projects, and exams, looking towards your goal will help give you that push you need in order to complete everything and overcome those obstacles. So create a realistic goal and always remind yourself that you have the capability to complete it!

6. Find your Productive Environment: When you study, do you like complete silence? Talking or background noise? Music? I personally cannot study in complete silence and isolation. The only place that is quiet and isolated is my bedroom, but I find myself taking naps or doing other unproductive things. So, I go to the campus Starbucks or the Student Union because I become so much more productive when people are around and watching, ya get me?? So within the first week, find the environment where you are the most productive.

7. Join Study Groups: Studying with people or even a buddy can really help a lot. Although, I recommend studying new material by yourself and reviewing with others. You want to bring ideas and questions to the table and be more prepared to talk about anything instead of being behind your peers or on different topics. Studying new material with others can be more unproductive than productive because everyone studies differently at different paces

8. Go to Office Hours: Talking one-on-one with your professor may help determine your final grade, believe it or not. When professors see how much of an effort you put into your schoolwork, they will be more than happy to help! Especially if your final grade is borderline, they may bump you up a few points, depending on your professor. So make friends, ask questions, and get good grades!

9. Work Hard, Play Hard: Give yourself incentives and discipline yourself. If you work really hard throughout the day, give yourself a relaxing night. But, if you had a very unproductive day, work hard at night. So during a long day of work and studying, you have a night to look forward to where you can be lazy on a school night or go out with friends on the weekend.

10. Start Studying NOW! Don't wait until the day before an exam because it is impossible to feel confident going into an exam when you studied a semester's worth of material in a day. So studying in small increments up until the exam from day one should definitely earn you an A in the class!

I really hope my tips were helpful and not boring or repetitive from what you have already heard and know. I will definitely be following these tips for my upcoming sophomore year, hoping to pick up my GPA and find a balance with school and things I enjoy, like talking to you guys on my blog! It would be hypocritical if I did not follow my own tips. I know this blog is more informative and lengthy than my usual blogs, but hopefully you enjoyed this and loved it.


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